Meghan Grace is a generational researcher, consultant, author and host of the podcast Hashtag Gen Z. Her career started in higher education but her research focuses on the post millennial generation: Generation Z. She's been studying Gen Z since 2013, has conducted two original studies on the topic, and I've got her book here in front of me. I've been looking through it and it's a really really in-depth highly researched book and I'll be reading some excerpts from it as we go.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 087
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[03:30] Tom's introduction to Meghan Grace [04:54] Generation Z Goes to College [08:17] Interviewing other generations on Gen Z [11:00] Defining “work ethic” [21:50] Participation trophies [27:52] Health and wellness [31:19] Tips for success for hiring and retention [43:00] Reaching out and getting more info [47:06] A typical day for Meghan and how she stays motivated
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Meghan's website – https://www.meghanmgrace.com/
Gen Z Goes To College website – http://genzgoestocollege.com/
Meghan's books – https://www.amazon.com/Meghan-Grace/e/B074P83B62/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/meghanmgrace/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/meghanmgrace
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/meghanmgrace/
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Tiffani Hockings – https://screwthecommute.com/SYE1/
Dr. Sabrina Starling – https://screwthecommute.com/86/
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Episode 087 – Meghan Grace
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody it's Tom here with episode 87 of screw the commute podcast we've got a very interesting guest on today. Her name is Meghan Grace and she's going to tell us all about her research into dealing with a new generation of workers called Gen Z. And of course the comic guy and me is always thinking oh odd stuff so I'm thinking maybe this is the end of the world because I mean we had baby boomers and we had Gen X and Gen Y and now Gen C where where do we go from here. I don't know. She's going to tell us. So our last episode is 86 Sabrina Starling. She's known as the business psychologist and she was one of the most fun PhD psychologists I ever met. I mean she was just super fun and an expert on best hiring practices and that's one of the reasons I'm having Meghan on because lots of entrepreneurs struggle with hiring and retaining employees. So I'm sure Meghan is going to help us out with that. All right our podcast app is now in the iTunes store and you can do all kinds of cool stuff with it like you could be on the on the phone in your car and listening to the podcast and a phone rings. The podcast pauses itself and then when the phone's done boom it starts playing again. Things like that so you can check that out at screwthecommute.com/app and we have complete instructions for those of you newbies that don't know how to work your apps all at great and you can save your favorite episodes and all kinds of great stuff. So that's it screwthecommute.com/app.
[00:02:10] Now we are starting our monthly youth episodes where I highlight a young person doing great entrepreneurial things and have had a little bit of confusion when I put out a call for for a youth young to me is up to early 20s. All right so don't 30s and so folks can be on my regular podcast but I'm looking for young people doing great things. I've had students and my mentor program where their 8 year old wrote several books. I got a 12 year old that wrote three books. So that's the kind of folks I'm looking for. So e-mail me at email@example.com for details on how a young person can apply to be featured and our first young person was Tiffani Hockings who's the young girl helping other young girls. So check out her episode now today's sponsor is the distance learning school the internet marketing training center of Virginia. Don't even think about retraining yourself or sending your kids to college until you check out our webinar on higher education. I do not want you wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars and putting yourself and your kids under crushing debt. We'll have that webinar in the show notes at Screwthecommute.com.
[00:03:31] All right let's get to the main event Meghan Grace is the generational researcher consultant author and host of the podcast Hashtag Gen Z. Her career started in higher education but her research focuses on the post millennial generation. Generation Z. She's been studying Gen Z since 2013 has conducted two original studies on the topic and I've got her book here in front of me I've been looking through it at a really really in-depth highly researched book and I'll be reading some excerpts from it as we go through today and asking her to explain what she was talking about. So Meghan welcome to the show.
[00:04:15] Well thank you so much. I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to chat and kind of share a little bit about what I do.
[00:04:21] Well I'll tell you what we need it over here because for years Meghan I've been teaching people that they really need to embrace young people people in their businesses. But a lot of us struggle with managing them and understanding their mentality. It's quite a bit different than when I grew up. So tell us about a little bit about your research and I got your book here. I've been looking at it this week. It's called Generation Z goes to college and you wrote that with Corey Seemiller. Tell us a little bit about that research and how you came about doing it.
[00:04:59] Absolutely so we kind of came into it by accident like you mentioned we started this in 2013 and at the time we were really doing Google searches. Corey had noticed and was starting the conversation we were working together on a college campus at the time about the fact that students felt a little different. And then after she brought that up I was like huh. Let me observe this little bit. I think that that's where a lot of good research starts as we observe something and we notice that students are asking very different questions when they were talking to us about programs and talking about campus opportunities and so we really just jumped into it and said you know there's no one really out there doing this research in a college specific setting. And so we took what we knew from our our academic backgrounds but then also what we were seeing in some of the preliminary research coming out in youth reports and market reports and we developed our own study that we conducted in 2014 and then we actually followed up with that in 2017. So we've done both mixed methodology studies where we're doing both quantitative and qualitative and understanding not only the frequency of their reported behaviors and perspectives but also the the why behind it we're able to our qualitative data is probably something that is my absolute favorite by doing this because we read the words of these young people and it helps illuminate some of these things only see them gravitating towards a certain behavior we have some backup on why that is like from their perspective.
[00:06:24] So yeah we started in this research kind of by accident. We just wanted to know our students a little bit better and you know that led to writing Gen Z goes to college and we've continued to research and write about it and really start to understand what this means for the college setting but as we grew in our interest in this topic we realized that there's a lot of application you've brought up the workplace. There's you know we're talking with people from churches we're talking with people from community organizations and K12 school and all these places where Gen Z is living and existing are being a little bit shaken up and and it's not to say that they're the first generation to shake things up but I think we have a better handle on understanding why generations do that. And you you brought up kind of how different generations exist together. And so we've actually come out with our our most recent book Gen Z a century in the making and that that goes beyond the college setting.
[00:07:15] So we are talking about the workplace we're talking about careers we're talking about spirituality we talk about the relationships we talk about how they communicate and why they do so and the things that they're concerned about and how they might engage in government and politics and so we take a really what I call it a broad but in-depth view on this group and how they're going to exist in our society and a capacity for different ways. So I have really cool job to say the least as I get to understand what's cool at the kids and you know what's on their minds. I do that both in my formal research but then I also as you mentioned I host a podcast. And that's kind of my informal research where if I start to get interested about something I will find a Gen Z or someone that works with members of Gen Z closely to talk about that topic and kind of hear that story. So I interviewed some great members of Gen Z last season I'm working on season two and hoping to dive more into some of the topics he wrote about in our our last book that we haven't really been able to talk about in a more personal sense. So my job is awesome and have a lot of fun doing it.
[00:08:18] Let me ask you about there's one section in your book where you talked about the Gen Z Generation characterized themselves as thoughtful and then a one sentence I underline here is that it says but are Gen Z students really thoughtful or do they just say they are and what that brought up in mind to me. Have you interviewed people like me and their perceptions of Gen Z and compared them to what the Gen Z thinks about themselves.
[00:08:49] So I do a lot of speaking and I haven't done a formal interview with someone that maybe is observing them from an older perspective but I do a lot of speaking with mostly to older generations that are either teaching them advising them working with them on campus hiring them and when we talk about the characteristics component the studies that we have done on their characteristics have been self reported. And so these are the things the characteristics that they most identify with and we felt that that was a fair way to assess it because in previous generations it's typically been an older generation prescribing a characteristic. So millennials have been prescribed as self-centered and selfish and or very individualistic and I just don't know where that came from.
[00:09:35] And even as a generational researcher I'm not sure where the the origin of that characterization came from besides potentially observation of older generations. And so we felt really passionately that we needed to ask them we need to ask the people and when we saw prominence in the way that they gravitated towards certain characteristics we felt that there was trend there.
[00:09:56] Again going back to the connecting with older generations who who witness and observe I haven't ever really run into someone with with strong grounds to say Oh that's absolutely false they might say I have one student every now and then that might not fit into that characteristic Well we know that outliers happen in large study and we know that outliers happen in life. And so for the most part it's been well received by the what I would consider people that work closely with Gen Z. So you know a lot of parents actually that come up to me after after sessions that I've done mean like that describes my my my son my daughter my child to a T. And you know I had never thought about my own child that way. And I take that as an affirming statement.
[00:10:35] Well what I'm concerned about is how a teacher interacts with a student is vastly different than how an entrepreneur interacts with an employee. There's no consequences to the teacher if the student is terrible or if the student doesn't show up for class there's no consequence to the teacher it's only the entrepreneur would have consequences. Now there's another sentence in the book I'd like you to tell me first of all. Well I'll read the sentence first. We predict Gen Z will have a strong work ethic similar to baby boomers. Now the first thing I'd like you to do is define for us what you how you would define work ethic.
[00:11:19] So we look at work ethic from this mindset of determination and persistence towards goals. And this idea that they when they are motivated and that's that's the key there when they are motivated and given the right task. I think that they will work relentlessly to that and it's a matter of unlocking that motivation for this group is a huge piece that if they don't I'm not. That's human element. But we we've been lucky enough to understand a little bit more about what motivates this group. And I think that that's going to have huge implications on workplace design and thinking about how we create work environments that we're still having positive productive outcomes. We just might have to restructure the the pathway to getting there. And so when we think about work ethic I think about the young people that I find them to be far more mature than I was or a lot of my peers were at their age and their viewpoint on how hard they're working towards their careers at much younger ages like the young people that I that I interact with at are within this group and I see them on campus where I work I see them in a variety of settings I follow a number of them on LinkedIn it is fascinating the things that they're doing when they're even self starting or the way that they're taking their career so seriously at such a young age and I think that that is our early indications of their work ethic. I think it's just a matter of getting them connected to the things that they care about and the areas that they are interested in which is a human relationship building component of it. How do we guide young people to the things that are going to be motivating and getting them engaged.
[00:12:51] Okay well from my perspective though don't Don't you agree that sometimes you have to do some things that you don't want to do to further your success. For instance one of the things I see a lot of times a lot of these people just don't care about time. They just go all right I'll show up anytime I feel like good late five or 10 minutes it doesn't matter anymore. Is that a work ethic. Is that really a work ethic.
[00:13:19] I think that that is it's two parts. One part is if it if it's workplace culture and punctuality is a thing that's something that is a culture building component of it for this group in general when we think about time and the temporal space in which they operate. 9 to 5 doesn't exist anymore.
[00:13:36] Their ability to access services and information products resources online doesn't stop when a business closes at 5:00 p.m. And so for them they might also view their work time very different so if I even fall trap into this that if they don't want to work right at 9:00 a.m. but they're going to work until 7:00 or 8:00 at night because that's just how they function and they find that they get their productivity later that they're that coming into the office at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. doesn't doesn't make sense. And so they're looking at temporal space very differently. I think that this group with the influence of technology and the fact that pretty much the world is on at all times is going to have an influence in the way that they work. And so whereas older generations were very characteristic of you know we've got a 9 to 5 job we show up at nine we leave at five. You might take a 30 minute lunch or whatever that looks like for each workplace. Think this group and some of our younger millennials are even paving the way of challenging that mindset that if I worked better from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. does it. Does it matter if I'm still getting my projects done and I'm still connecting with the key the key people that I need to be connecting with. So it's just a matter of we're restructuring the way that we look at time. I'm not sure if it's less of a value of it but this idea that time is flexible is maybe more of the mindset of young people today.
[00:14:59] Meghan to me you know with all due respect that is just crazy. That it's just ridiculous to expect that OK should I put my hours on my business maybe open at 9 or maybe open at 10. So the customer who is the ultimate one that pays the bills has no idea. I mean is that what you're suggesting that we should adjust business to suit the the mindset of these young kids.
[00:15:29] I think that it's industry by industry truly also because many jobs that they're looking at are more of this information age. This idea economy that your ideas and your brain work if you will doesn't necessarily need to function just within a designated time period. Obviously for we are a company that is providing tangible goods and services to customers that might be a little bit different. But with the online setting that so many businesses are taking place and the fact that our lot of our online businesses are more global in the sense that we are interacting with a lot more people on an international scale they might look at that and be they might say 9:00 to 5:00 Pacific time that misses an a large number of people and so in some ways they're always online which means they can always be working and they might not necessarily see it from a. These are my my chunk hours of when I work especially if they get into a brain flow at 10:00 at night. I know again I felt trapped into that as well. So I guess I don't think it's the fact that every company and every industry is going to have to shift that but I think that they're going to be some industries that are going to think about what are the working hours is. Are we moving more towards a project based mindset as opposed to a productivity measured by the 40 hours you put in knowing that sometimes we are working more than 40 hours if for projects coming up where we might work 35 but we're still remaining equally as productive in the work.
[00:16:54] Okay. You know this brings up a good point in a guy like me who's hired hundreds and hundreds of people over many many years I refuse to pay this generation by the hour. I refuse because I know I'm not going to get 99 percent of the hour they're going to be doing something on Snapchat or some other thing and I might get one percent of it. So you just mentioned project based work and that's the way I've had to to keep my mind look from like I want to strangle this person I was supposed to get this job done and it's not done. And they build me for twelve hours and there's nothing done. So I only pay on results in that way. Mentally I don't have to struggle like oh my god I know they're just sitting there jerking around not doing anything and I'm paying the bill. So that's one way I've had to cope with it. There's another section of your book that I thought man this is me. It says judge mental attitudes lack of understanding and stereotyping are barriers that might stand in the way of older generations and understanding this new culture. And it goes on to say every new says every new generation emerges that emerges it is subject to a certain level of disdain from older generations. And could the disdain be coming from the fact that new generations are indeed disrespectful and lazy. What do you think about that. Or are they lazier than the previous generation.
[00:18:26] I will fundamentally say no. I think that a lot of this disdain comes from a lack of recognition or reflection on the fact that the worlds in which we grew up are vastly different than even just our parents our grandparents or the generation that came before us. As we evolve the way our society evolves it shapes human behavior. And so our behaviors of generation to generation are different. And so it's it's very very commonplace that we see older generations and we have to validate older generations came came into this world and grew up in this world and different genders and different settings than those who did and in today's world. And so the way that we're looking at the world is very different. And anytime I mean you could take difference in leadership style communication style you name it regardless of generation anytime there's a difference there can be a friction. And so it's a matter of both generations having a responsibility to recognizing that difference understanding and developing self-awareness and really seeing that. OK we are coming out from very different perspectives those perspectives aren't wrong. But how do we work together with those perspectives where we see a lot of older generations come about it from a today's generations or lazy today's generations are ungrateful also comes from their going about things differently than me and my peers did so it because it's different. And so sometimes we can jump to this conclusion. And so it does take checking ourselves on both ends.
[00:19:54] So young people recognizing that older generations look at things very differently older generations recognizing people today young people today are looking at things and working through things very differently. And so you know you brought up the the the person that you might hire on an hourly basis who's going to spend some time on Instagram might spend some time on Snapchat but then I might go into an hour and a half of just straight focus and work on something and they're still getting it done. And that's a very different mindset than older generations that might not feel as connected to social media on a very regular basis might check it you know once a day in the morning or in the evening and that's it. So it's a lot of this disdain. It can come from both ends because young people are also feeling like older generations don't trust us older generations don't believe in us. So it's hard for us to feel like we can get anything done at our young age. And so it's a matter of I think just removing that barrier of jumping to judgment based on age.
[00:20:50] And it does take requirement of all generations to learn about you know what are the things that make my generation different. And how does that. Jive or not jive necessarily in a natural capacity with other generations and how do we work through that. I see this most commonly in the way that multigenerational organizations attempt to communicate and trying to change entire generations behaviors has to my knowledge not gone very successfully. So when we have an older generation trying to completely change and a newer generation in some behavior there's friction for a long time. So it's a matter of how do we work together and recognize what's a more mutually beneficial team environment. And again I'm I always make the suggestion to organizations that we do a ton of team building and leadership development if we take that same mindset of team building and leadership development that we're all bringing different skills and strengths to the table we have to to uncover those and then figure out how those all worked together. We have to do that with age as well.
[00:21:51] All right. Now that's a totally fair assessment that both generations have to have to bend some to understand the other ones. Now somewhere in the book I do remember exactly what page and the context. But you mentioned this concept of participation trophies. I wasn't sure if you were for or against that. What are your thoughts on that. Because that's a big sticking point with the older generation that people can. It seems like a very common sense thing that if you reward people for either poor or no performance you're going to get more poor or no performance. So I can't remember the context you brought it up in the book. Can you expand on that a little bit. Who thought this idea up and thought it was good.
[00:22:39] Yeah. So we talk about participation trophies and when we're talking about motivation and so generations these motivation again I think this is probably one of the things that has been so helpful for me to better understand this group and then engage this group that their motivations are really falling into three primary areas of relationships passion and achievement. And so we discuss achievement because a lot of people think that achievement is just getting an award or getting a trophy of some capacity or participation trophy. But the validation of doing work is important but it's going to look different than previous generations. My generation the millennial generation got called the participation trophy generation because I think that some of the generations that were raising us were like We need to validate young people. I think they might have over validated us a little bit. And so there's there's I. My parents have a box full of trophies I like do you want these. I was like I have not looked at these since the early 2000s. No we are good. So it's a matter of thinking about reward very differently and we reframe it as achievement and for generation Z. And this sounds bad but it is there looking at achievement from a personal development standpoint and an individual standpoint. It's not that they don't care about teams but they are very motivated by how do we. How do I level up to the next capacity of whether that's my career or whether that is networking or something else so they're looking at achievement very differently. They also want to receive credit for things. And so that's where we kind of toy with this idea that it's not necessarily participation trophies.
[00:24:16] But this idea that how do we assign credit to people. I think everyone can agree that credit isn't it whether that is you know receiving some sort of bad or some sort of distinction or some sort of something or another to say you did it but without being it be some big pomp and circumstance. We found that in our studies that public recognition was actually not preferred by generation z and their form of motivation but they still want to receive credit they still want to develop they develop a tool box that when they're and we contextualize it within the college setting but when they're going through college and we know that there's so much learning that takes place in college that's beyond the classroom. So they're leading their clubs they're doing service they're potentially playing on an intramural team they are doing they might be doing an internship. And so we know that all of those settings are also skill development areas where they can be learning about teamwork or collaboration or communication or project management or event planning that they want to be able to have some sort of marker that they've developed that and helping them articulate. These are the things that I did. And so it might be reframing the way that we look at recognition and reward recognition. So it's not the big award ceremony that we say you know everybody that was in the sophomore class please come up and get your trophy but we might be doing more individual recognition and in some capacity.
[00:25:37] I'm all for that Meghan if you do something but what I think is the most ridiculous thing and I'm kind of a hard core guy I'm kind of taking it easy on you because you're new here but I see highly educated idiots that have any idea the think that you should reward somebody for doing nothing. And that's that's our complaint in this generation this is what we've seen with the trophies and all that stuff is that I'm all for for rewarding people that actually do things. But when you reward them for doing nothing I mean how can anybody justify that. I mean I'm sure a million PhD have justified this but I as the as a country bumpkin here that's you know being in business all my life I can't see how that can ever be good in the long run for for that person and for whoever they're dealing with.
[00:26:36] Oh and I think that when we're talking about this generation, generation z is not interested in getting a reward or a trophy for doing nothing. They want to be receiving credit for the things that they are doing. So there wants to be some they want to be able to see a tangible output for the effort that they are putting in. And again it doesn't have to be public it doesn't have to be big. But I think about how the gamification of learning has influenced the way that they're looking at achievement in general and so we know that more and more K12 settings are taking onto this concept of gamified learning and gamified achievement and using the mentality of video gaming not necessarily using video games to teach but the mentality of video gaming is that you level up that you go through a pathway you go through a challenge and you level up to the next thing or you receive some sort of coin or some sort of medallion or something when you beat that level or you complete that challenging you move on to the next thing. And so for them it's a matter of collecting these badges that that are showing like they've gone through this challenge. They've developed that I think that it's very much so the way that they're looking at reward is associated with the effort that they're putting. And I don't think it's an expectation that they would be rewarded for not putting in any effort.
[00:27:53] You use the gamification metaphor and I can see an upside to that and the way they travel through life. But the downside appears to be I think you mentioned it in your book that obesity and people in really bad shape and childhood diabetes is going crazy. You connect those two.
[00:28:13] So we talk a lot more about health and wellness and are our most recent book and what that looks like, Generation Z a century in the making, and we actually do an entire chapter on health and wellness and what this means. And so for a while that we were seeing that a lot more young people were less active and there's a few contributing factors that yes. Video games and the fact that we're doing more entertainment online is a contributing factor we can't say that's the only thing. There's also a decrease in sports participation in certain sports being identified as potentially dangerous football being one of those contact and other contact sports as we get more research around the bodily impacts of engaging in some of these sports. There's a little bit more risk averseness with this group and so they might not be engaging in some contact sports and engaging in some of those as high as younger people and so physical activity is changing we also have to look at the fact that the school day has changed a lot. We are getting less time at recess and we're getting less physical activity and are woven into K12 school so the mindset of getting out and moving looks a little bit differently than you know years past. We're also playing outside less.
[00:29:29] Why do you think that is in the K to 12 thing that you know you can opt out of PE. How did that come about.
[00:29:36] So we spend less time doing these physical activities with young people and a little bit of its funding. We know that we're spending more time associated with things for a long time that was teaching to the test or the component of we need to be focusing on math science and reading. I'm not that those are not important things but we know that there's an element of well-rounded ness that takes place if we need to get young people outside and moving and P.E. used to be a time in which you played lots of different sports or you just found the physical activity that made the most sense for you. And I think that that is is restructured. Mind you I have not been in PE and many moons so I'm not really sure what goes on. But I know that there there's a little bit less time that's spent in those activities.
[00:30:18] And it just gets your blood moving. I mean it could help all of the other aspects of your life. So that's one thing that really scares me. I heard on the news the other day there's rehab centers opening up for kids addicted to technology because they're on their phones like 24/7 pretty much. And and so yeah that could be the downside of this. But again we recruit and use hire young people because they are so tech savvy. I mean they came out of the womb like swiping the screen and with a cell phone in their hand. So so they you know we do you know as much disdain as some of us may have. We also recognize you used to be older generations were revered. Now when it comes to tech savvy all the older people say oh I don't know you know let's let's call my grandson get him to help us. I saw a funny cartoon. It was a young kid talking to his dad and he said hey if you raise my allowance I'll give you unlimited in-house tech support. So we do as older geezers or do really really recognize the tech savvyness of the kids. But what we're clashing with is you know we're supposed to be here at 9:00 and it's 930 where are you. You know that kind of stuff. It just just drives us crazy. So. So what would you have if you had to boil it down in a non-academic fashion to the typical entrepreneur small company that wants to hire and retain these individuals. What are some tips you could give the listeners on what to do and how to structure it to to have success for both the employee and the boss.
[00:32:03] So I think that something that we find most people find surprising but really does I think move mountains with this group is the incredible importance of relationships. A lot of people you brought up technology and that you know young people are so connected to technology but we've found in our studies that the way that they communicate or prefer to communicate is face to face. They want to have human connection and we see that in our qualitative work.
[00:32:29] Is this just Gen Z because I mean there's there's enormous jokes about watching four young people at a table at a restaurant not they're not even looking at each other they're all look at their own phones. Is this Gen Z different from that.
[00:32:45] So if we think about and again relationships that are meaningful and matter and keeping them engaged and that's the key distinction they're truly authentic relationships I think that when we engage those young people and this is a thing that they they talk about often as authentic relationships and human relationships matter. Are we focusing enough on those things in the workplace is a question that I position to people that we're very good at getting into the productive mindset and getting down to business. But I think that if we tap into how important those relationships are and again people are like you mean that the 18 year old intern that is on their phone all the time actually wants to spend time with me as their supervisor and wants to care about me if I let them and I'm like yes. But that takes time I recognize it takes time away from it. But I think that we're honing in on this more that the relationships because Gen Z is so connected online to people and to content that feels intangible the importance of an in-person relationship is so necessary and so valued and craved. Whether or not they tell you that and again these are young people and so they're still articulating some of the things that they they desire and they want in this world. But in terms of hiring and retaining young people I think that the the important thing we need to be mindful of is the relationships and how those matter and how leaders of organizations are building those relationships and I think that we're seeing this with generation z but it probably benefits other generations as well.
[00:34:18] I think that back to the workplaces that I value the most are the ones where I built really strong relationships and that was you know it helped me get through the the less than ideal tasks of coding my expense reports. But you know what. I still had great colleagues to spend it with. This generation is just shouting it out to us more that relationships do matter. I think the next component of it because they are just again it seems almost counterintuitive but despite the fact that they are so technologically involved and they are connected to an online world the relationships that are with people matter the most to them. And so they're also heavily concerned about how am I going to change the world. How am I going to make an impact. I'm going to leave a legacy. How am I going to improve the world around me. And especially for the people around me. So for this group they want to know that the work that they're doing has a positive impact on people so they're going to be attracted to companies and to workplaces where they're able to see that the productivity that they're contributing or that the output of the company has a positive impact on the community or cause. And so they want to be connected to an issue that they care about.
[00:35:24] I think about how how we look at benefit structures. I know some companies larger companies are looking at providing opportunity for employees to take a certain amount of time away from the office each month to volunteer or to work on a community issue or be involved in a volunteer capacity as a benefit that they they they're awarded a certain amount of time per month. And I think about how that's a very tangible way that an organization is going to motivate a young person to stick around to say oh you're serving as a junior board member for community cause here we're gonna give you a little bit of time a little bit of leeway in your workday because we think it's important that our team members are involved in they're contributing back to the community so that the company itself might not have an immediate social spinoff but they are providing an opportunity for their team members to remain engaged with issues they care about.
[00:36:19] That sounds great for a really big business that's got lots of resources. Can you bring it down to the level of a two or three person operation that can't afford that kind of thing what else could they do to keep things going smoothly.
[00:36:39] From from a smaller scale perspective. Thinking about when the relationship building component is an a huge part of that. So think about if we're not all gathered together. I know that in some smaller entities we sometimes are moving from out into a work remote kind of organization. So reframing the conversations that you have are you doing that over video conferencing because I feel like you're you're more connected to that person in videoconferencing. Are you building in that strategic time to do some non work related conversation. Some how is how's your life going. How is you know whatever you're pursuing outside of work going. Are you spending time to take care of yourself and and working in those elements and that to me doesn't seem like a large sacrifice to spend a little of that time. That may be designated to work task on the people that are there so they feel connected.
[00:37:34] I must be doing something right for the first couple years. We do it twice a week Skype meeting. See we see everybody at the end of what they've been doing business wise they always tell how they improve themselves or what they're working on. Like this one guy's been with me 10 years built a pallet fort for his kids and we all talked about it and so. So that's something that could easily be worked in for everybody out there to to give them more time to be themselves rather than just an employee. Would that be a fair characterization.
[00:38:11] Absolutely this this idea of you know about you know your your teammates dog or you know more about them that it feels the generation z puts high value on their family so how do we infuse these family relationships into our work. There's also more sociological study that's being done that we spend more time at work than we do at home and that work is becoming the new neighborhood. So we are spending less time with our actual neighbors we spend more time with our colleagues so how do we infuse this neighborly family like environment in the workplace I think is something we're gonna grapple with in the next few years on the social impact component for our smaller organizations. I think about you know when we're having those relationship building conversations are we also having a conversation with young people today and saying you know what are the what are some of the social or the community issues you care about. Can I grant you an hour a week to go be a lunch buddy with a local school and take your lunch break and go mentor the youth.
[00:39:10] Or can I help get you connected to a community agency you might care about. And I know that time is limited but can we figure out ways that you might be able to contribute some of those skills and I think from a supervisor standpoint and a business leader standpoint we're putting our our talent into the community and that's if they're doing it well that's pretty good marketing. To say you know look at our young people that are going out and doing good for our community and they're using the skills they they utilize in our day to day work. So I think and it can be small sacrifice of a lunch hour here and there to mentor the youth or maybe leaving at 4 o'clock to to go serve in some volunteer capacity and being a little bit flexible and knowing that if we're looking at work from a project perspective on the projects still gonna get done. But we're still singing to the hearts of young people that want to make an impact.
[00:39:57] Well I could see both generations or multiple generations have a lot of work to do to understand each other because I mean I'm still sitting here floored by you saying that they really care about people and all I see is I went to Mount Trashmore. It's a goofy name for a beautiful park. It used to be the garbage dump in Virginia Beach and I was up there on a holiday and there were thousands of people. I'll bet you maybe 10 percent of them were walking around looking and talking to each other the rest of us were walking in this beautiful park looking at their cell phones just walking. So so I'm having a hard time fathoming that that they really want personal face to face or maybe you didn't meet face to face. You mean personal connection but it can be electronic for this younger generation and that's fine with them.
[00:40:52] So I think it's a matter of being able to have like a true human connection. And so for them.
[00:40:59] It's different than for me.
[00:41:01] So for them it might be them having a true personal connection with someone is a more effective through facetime than it is sitting in in person. I think it's a matter of how do we how do we involve ourselves in really strong true conversations and sometimes they feel more comfortable doing that in an online setting. But you bring up the fact that they're you know we can go experience something and then everyone's on their phones. It's so hard and sometimes it's really kind of awkward to be like Hey can we have some phone free time. I do this with my my nephews who think I don't listen to podcasts at least I don't know because I talk about them all the time on podcasts but I took them to lunch over break and I said you know what. I don't get to see you all that much. And I really just want to hear about school and I want to hear about how sports are going and I want to hear about these things can we just have a phone free hour and the like. Yeah of course that make. That's totally fine. It was really awkward for me to ask that but then we had an awesome time hanging out. And sometimes it's hard for us to be like Can we just have fun free time for a little bit. Like then we can go back to our our daily ways because even I know that I sit on the couch and scroll through Instagram when I'm hanging out with them. So we all committed to phone free time and it doesn't say like what is going on in your online world is not important. But I would really love us to tune into what's going on in this world right now. And they're open to those conversations.
[00:42:23] That's one of the best tips we've had today Meghan is the only thing the other thing do. Cut down on population growth because nobody will get together personally anymore. I understand that's the way it is and the work ethic and all that stuff is the stuff I got to work on to see. Okay. How can I structure my business and I've been running for 41 years before both of these kids and their parents were alive and how can I coexist and help them forward their careers but still get the job done that I'm paying them for. So that's the kind of struggle that folks like me have. So tell us a little bit more about your speaking and the help people could interact with you and get your books. Tell me your books again and all that. Where they find them.
[00:43:11] Yeah. So I do offer a number of different types of trainings I say that I will tailor a session to make sure that fits the needs and the interests of the audience. So I speak about anything from you know who is generation z from a very large snapshot perspective to how do we tangibly I do a lot of work on mentoring and advising this group and working with you know some food consultants next week. So we're talking about the dining experience of Gen Z. And so I love learning and working with clients to figure out what is the largest area that we need to learn about when it comes to this group and structuring learning sessions around that so speak at conferences I speak at training stead like staff trainings all sorts of stuff. I work with some really cool people I love that aspect of what I get to do as I mentioned we just released our most recent book generation Z a century in the making. Our first book was actually generation Z he goes to college so our generations he studies within the context of higher education and then we also followed up to that with a guide to leadership for generation z. So generation z leads which is focused smaller and it goes with our other books but it focuses on how do we create and develop the leadership capacities of Gen Z young people. All of those are available on Amazon.com for those who kind of want to hang out with me in an online world or want to connect. I live on LinkedIn and Instagram are two great ways to find me. Both user names are Meghan M. Grace and that's kind of my user name or handle on most social media and my Web site. So I think I'm pretty easy to find online.
[00:45:01] I listened to your podcast. That's very informative because with my school it's a school that can cater to many different age groups. And I've never had much experience in the younger age group. So I was just out there searching for information on how to deal and find these younger people and you know I know you're a highly learned woman but I've just really a little bit of upset about the way things are going on college campuses. I know you spent a lot of time in higher education and that's when I put together that webinar I was telling you about that. I'm just you know a lot of people just don't belong there. And I mean this is some of these luminaries said that and like said this is not just me talking is trying to promote my school. These were high level education people have written many books on this subject and the grade inflation thing. I mean I had and you wonder why some of the disdain comes I don't know how much you're interested in how the older generation thinks about the younger generation. But I mean I had and I don't even blame this young lady she came here and was bragging about how she was the only person in her family ever to make it to graduate school and she couldn't put a sentence or a paragraph together couldn't spell.
[00:46:22] I mean she you know the what's happening is they're inflating they're making students feel like they're smarter when they really aren't with these grade point inflation. So I'm really kind of upset about that. It wasn't her fault I even had a student of mine that was functionally illiterate till she was 31 years old and just hustled her way through school because she said Hey I came from Puerto Rico and the whole attitude of the school was just move us through get them through get him through. And she couldn't even read and write.
[00:46:52] So so a little upset with the way people were treating the young people because I'm not all against young people I'm all for young people because they're going to be taking over and running the show so. So we've got to learn how to coexist. So okay all that stuff behind I normally talk about stuff about you as an entrepreneur. So let's get some of your stuff going and like what's the typical day look like for you in the work that you do.
[00:47:19] Yeah. My typical day is either I'm on campus so I do work part time on campus which I love still being on the collegiate environment. So those days are pretty normal wake up grab some breakfast. Hit the road get to the car go to the to work get to the office. I love having colleagues that I can spend time with and bounce ideas off of and see the ways in which because I'm working in higher education. Being connected to that and seeing the students that my work does impacts I don't work day to day impact or day to day involved with students but I do some work with our administration in doing some data analysis and helping in creating data reports to help make decisions that impact students. And so that's something that I enjoy being able to spend time and and see the people that work with in higher education. So that's a component of. And I've got a great team where I work. So that keeps my work fun when I'm not on campus. It really varies so sometimes I'm traveling to speak or I'm traveling to work with a client. So my day looks like the airport which is fun in its own way. And then I'd say my work from home days which is is today can be my and my absolute favorite I wake up and I make my coffee which I don't it's I like to do what I call slow coffee so I make a pour over that my friend she made me and my friends a beautiful Potter and she makes these incredible pieces and so she she made me a coffee pour over that I love just brewing slow bring my coffee and then I make some breakfast I do emails mostly in pajamas. That's probably one of the best things. And then after I get ready for the day I head over to a coffee shops I've got a great coffee shop in Nashville that I tend to work at and they see a lot of me but it's a great workspace there's a lot of other people that are working remotely so I like to be in spaces where other people are working remotely I'm a little too extroverted to stay home all the time.
[00:49:13] Then I try to run some errands before rush hour and then I head home and it's a work from home day I tend to do a little bit of work in the evenings before I turn in and then I am still in classes right now. So I'm in a doctoral program and I do spend some time on homework every night so the brain's always the brain's always on and doing something.
[00:49:31] How do you stay motivated.
[00:49:34] How do I stay motivated. I stay motivated because I really just I want to impact the environments that I'm working with and so I stay motivated. My work on campus again by excuse me by seeing the students that that are experiencing college and how I can help improve that I also stay really motivated by the awesome clients they get to work with and so again my clients they really span from conference planning professionals to professors on campuses to nonprofit leaders that they're doing good work in their hearts want to learn and impact their constituents and so I motivated by the clients because I want to help them get closer to their goals and their vision of what they want to do and I find it to be a great privilege to even be a part of the work that they do. So very motivated by students on campuses and very motivated by my awesome clients.
[00:49:34] Now out of all the body of work that you come up with so far. What are you most proud of.
[00:50:34] What am I most proud of I would say I am most proud of our most recent book we just released Gen Z A century in the making. So it was different. And it was challenging for me. So I'm used to writing about education I've been doing it for a while now and this book was not about education. And our audience was different. So it challenged me to write a little bit differently and think a little bit differently about things. We also took a unique perspective on it. It's framing the last century of generations and how they've built and evolved and how our society has built and evolved and how that's influenced different generations and so in some ways for a little while I was I was a historian and I'd never identified that way and so absorbing everything that's taken place in the last hundred years was a challenge but it took a long time to write. It took a lot of researching and reading and I'm proud of that. And it took a lot of creativity of weaving together quite a bit of information. So proud of releasing that and I think that's one of the things that I just add when you hold your book in your hands for the first time after you've been spending almost two years on it. It's like a moment of like I could cry but I'm a little tired so I don't know if I can actually cry. But I was very proud of myself for that one and proud of the work that I got to do with my my co-author and research partner.
[00:51:56] That's great. Well everybody should go out and get that and also especially you old geezers out there like me Generation Z goes to college is really an eye opener. Extremely well researched and with Ms. I said I got a lot of work to do myself and I hope that the young people also realize that and don't make me do everything their way.
[00:52:33] Don't worry I don't think they will. I think that if we fully engage in that that work together it'll be a little bit smoother. And for as you say a lot of people out there identify as one of them now too. Whenever I get concerned that I'm doing something wrong I just ask them and they're willing to share.
[00:52:50] So I call myself generation O for older.
[00:52:55] I haven't heard that one that's a new one for me.
[00:52:59] All right. So thanks Meghan so much for taking the time to tell us about your great work it's highly needed and we really appreciate you coming on.
[00:53:08] Tom thank you so much for having me. It's been a great conversation and I loved hearing about things from your perspective and I'm excited to hear how everything goes for you.
[00:53:18] Thanks so much. So everybody this has been episode 87 with Meghan Grace and next episode is eighty eight. How to make a fifty thousand dollar video about you and your company for pennies on the dollar. And mine has brought in about six million dollars so far. So it's a really worthwhile episode to listen to please subscribe and review download that app. Make it easy to take us with you and I will catch you all on the next episode.
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