There is a fundamental difference in how the generations of the workforce see and experience the world because of the role technology has played in their lives. These generations can be split into two groups: native analogs and native digitals.
Native analogs: Silent, Boomers, Gen X, and even some older Millennials remember a time before the Internet. They view technology one of two ways: a helpful, occasional resource or as a distraction from everyday life. Native digitals: Millennials and Gen Z, on the other hand, grew up surrounded by new technological advances at a rapid rate. They integrated technology into everyday life.
This fundamental difference of perspective is why we often see executives and employees talking past each other.
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Transformation of Communication with Workplace Generations:
“Thinking about trying to lead a company ourselves, I think we just need to be flexible. We need to be really open-minded. We just need to not think about things like pedigree in the same way. We need to not think about where people work and how they work in the same way. And we need to understand that people need different things. And the only way to provide such a diverse group of people and opportunity to be successful in the way that they need to be successful is to be incredibly flexible.”
Jordan Peace (00:00):
All right. Welcome back to How People Work. This is one of your hosts, Jordan Peace. Jason Murray is joining me as usual. And Jason, tell us what we’re talking about today. Excited to record this episode with you.
Jason Murray (00:12):
So we’re on the third episode now, and the first one, we talked a little bit about our origin story, and we’ll come back to pieces of that and future episodes, I’m sure. But in the second episode, we got a little bit into some of the generational differences going on in the workforce. We did a little bit of a high level overview of some of those things, but today I want to dig in a little bit more into that topic. Cause I think there’s some things that are really interesting and some ideas that are maybe a little bit more unique that people haven’t heard about necessarily, and ways to think about framing this problem, if you will, a little bit differently in the workplace here. So I mean, think it’s safe to say that work has changed pretty dramatically over the last hundred years for sure. But in the last 20 to 30 years, especially. And so today, I want us to talk about some of those shifts that have taken place, give some framing and background on that shift, discuss some of the ways that companies and leaders can be thinking about how they can adapt to these changes as well. So hopefully some practical takeaways for the folks listening.
Jordan Peace (01:17): Absolutely.
Jason Murray (01:18):
So you all may remember that we talked about the five generations that are in the workforce today. And one of the things that’s really taken place is as we’ve shifted to this marketplace economy that we have today as opposed to an agrarian and then industrial economies that we’ve lived through over the last kind of thousand, and then last a hundred years we all kind of got pushed together working in the same places versus working on farms or working on skilled trades or working in factories and so forth when industrialization was taking place. And so then we progressed through the service economy in the middle of the last century. And that’s a lot of what our kind of industry is based on today. And now we’re living through this technological innovation of really the last 20 years. And I think it’s unlike anything that we’ve really seen before. And so one of the concepts that I want to put forward today we can’t claim full credit for this because it’s an idea that Christopher Lockhead and the folks at Category Pirates first started talking about this idea, but I think it really resonates and has a lot of practical implications for today. So I’m going to set this up a little bit and then we can jump in. Cause I think there’ll be some fun things for us to kick around here.
Jordan Peace (02:46):
We can claim credit for it if no one’s heard it yet. I think that’s okay. I think that’s a podcast norm we can have.
Jason Murray (02:52): Fair enough.
Jason Murray (02:55):
So what I want us to do momentarily as maybe suspend our thinking about traditional generational differences, and let’s just divide humans up into really just two groups. So dangerous, yes. But we like things simple. Let’s do it. We like things simple at range. So one is people who grew up in a world where technology was at best a supplement and at worst, a distraction to their in real life experiences, as we might call them. And we’re going to call these people native analogs. So these are your typically Boomers, Gen Xers and your old soul millennials, which you can put us into that category.
Jordan Peace (03:41):
I think we firmly fit in there.
Jason Murray (03:43):
And the other group is made up of those who grew up in a world where technology was really the central part of their life experience. They don’t remember a world where devices and kind of the digital world wasn’t a core part of it. And so these immersive digital experiences are really supplemented by their in real life experience, if you want to call it that. And so in some ways, you might say real life is the distraction for those individuals. And we’re going to call these people Native digitals. Native digitals. And so these are generally most of your millennials except for the old soul millennials and your Gen Zers especially. And so these two groups of humans really have fundamentally different ways of seeing and experiencing the world. So that dividing line is about age 35. And if you’re older than that, you’re really the last of a dying breed of humans that is soon to be replaced by this new kind of human. And that’s just what it’s going to be. It just is what it is. That is what it is.
Jordan Peace (04:44):
That’s not a comforting thought. Well, I agree with it.
Jason Murray (04:47):
I was actually excited to tee this up for you because I think there’s a movie reference here that is applicable and bringing some of this into perspective. And so you’re the one that actually told me about this movie first, so maybe you could tell us a little bit more about it. But Ready Player One is actually, I think, a useful metaphor to some of these topics. So if you want to give the audience maybe a quick overview of that.
Jordan Peace (05:12):
Well, I remember watching that movie on a plane, actually, which is where I watch most of my movies these days because it’s five kids at home. There’s not a lot of time to do that. But when you’re traveling, you get to watch movies as opposed to doing emails like a responsible person. But this movie set place in the not so distant future, I recall, and initially the movie starts out where everything’s very animated, kind of cartoonish. And so you’re like, oh, it’s an animated film. And it turns out that after the first 20 minutes, you realize that what you’ve been watching or people playing a video game, it’s vr and there’s just really kind of engrossed in this game. And over the course of time you realize that it’s not just a small group of people playing this game, but it’s every person on earth plays one single game and they play it all day long. And that is their life. Their life is the game. They work in the game, they play in the game, they fight in the game, they earn credits, and they go discover treasures…
Jason Murray (06:13):
Jordan Peace (06:14):
And they go to school and they do all of these things. And then they log off to feed their physical bodies and sleep and they get back and they play the game. And as a gamer, well used to be, again, before life got so busy and so forth, I, I’ve always loved video games and the concept was really intriguing to me. But what was so stark was this idea, you kind of referenced it earlier that what I would call real life was the kind of sideshow, it was the distraction from the game. Well, let me eat real quick. And they, you’d see some characters occasionally just shoveling down food to log back in because they’re missing some opportunity of some kind taking this break. And it ended up being really kind of a fascinating movie. I don’t want to spoil the whole thing for anybody who hadn’t seen it, but in the end, you sort of see that there’s a little bit more balance returned to this scenario where people realize actually maybe playing this game all of the time is maybe we’re missing out on some things in life. Maybe we’re missing out on some other kinds of human interaction that might be healthy and the world kind of changes and shifts towards the end of the movie. But it’s really good.
Jason Murray (07:27):
Yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s just a helpful metaphor to you, just this paradigm of a digital world being sort of the primary world that these individuals operate in. And it’s probably not overstating it to say that for digital natives and Gen Zs in particular, that they grew up in a world where those experiences were so kind of part and parcel of their everyday life. And so, I mean, think it would be funny to talk about some examples, maybe some things that we remember from our own life that are particular to what native analogs might experience. And so I’m curious for you, what are some moments or things that, for you feel very particularly analog in your experience?
Jordan Peace (08:11):
One of the things that’s really interesting about raising children at this period of time is I remember talking to my parents or even my grandparents about their experience of life and thinking, oh wow, that’s pretty different than my experience. But now when I compare to my childhood experience and my kids’ childhood experience, it’s as if we are 10 generations apart. They look at me, I’ve got three heads, and they’re just like, so when you wanted to know something, you had to find it in a book. Just brains all over the bedroom. I mean that is unbelievably foreign, for one that you’d have to find it in a book for two that you wouldn’t know the answer to something is mind blowing whenever I’m like, oh, I can’t remember the name of that movie, or that actor or that whatever. They’re just like, look it up. Yeah. I’m like, oh, act. And sometimes I’ll actually resist. I’m like, actually, no, I want to see if I can remember. I don’t want the answer immediately because I’m the digital analog or the whatever it’s called, native analog. Sorry. And I resist it. It’s too easy. But some of the things we talk about with them, like, not having cell phones. Well, if you’re in a car on a long drive, how would mama would you call you? Or how would grandma call? Yeah. Or how whatever. We wouldn’t talk.
Jason Murray (09:38):
Just call when you get there.
Jordan Peace (09:39):
Yeah. If we had to, we’d stop somewhere. And inside of buildings, there would be phones, like a gas station. I mean, if you were desperate, you’d knock on someone’s door and you’d ask them to use their phone and you’d go into a stranger’s home to use a Yeah, actually people would.
Jason Murray (09:55):
And the phone was attached to the wall.
Jordan Peace (09:57):
It was attached to the wall, and it had a cord and all this stuff. And then they’re just mind blown, mind blown by this stuff. Yeah. I didn’t feel nearly as, it wasn’t so outrageous when my parents described their childhood to me, there was some differences, certainly, but now it’s just insane. In one generation.
Jason Murray (10:18):
There’s funny ways it’s changed even the way relationships take place. I remember in high school, for example, weren’t, cell phones weren’t commonplace. And so if you had to crush on somebody, you really had to work to track ‘em down. You couldn’t text ‘em or call ‘em.
Jordan Peace (10:35):
Had to stalk ‘em in the hallway, had to figure out their class schedule to know which hall they I going to walked out and bump into him accidentally.
Jason Murray (10:45):
Morgan, who’s my wife, the audience wouldn’t know that our first date she initiated but she had to work really hard to find me because it was over a winter break. And there’d been a big snow storm, and I was out shoveling driveways. I was out hustling, making that money, making that money
Jordan Peace (11:02): Started early.
Jason Murray (11:03):
Of course, she’s calls the house to see if I’m there and my mom tells her, I’m out playing in the snow.
Right. Playing. Thanks mom. Thanks mom. Appreciate that. Appreciate it. Yeah.
Jordan Peace (11:12): Yeah. Well said. Yeah
Jason Murray (11:15):
No, yeah. Well, and I think what you bring up about the experience with your kids, and I resonate with that a lot too, having kids as well, is that these phones, screens, technology, they’ve really become the primary mode of interacting with the world from the very beginning. I mean, for our young, they know how to work the screens, like, oh yeah, intuitively.
Jordan Peace (11:40):
And my seven year old, he has a messenger kids account, and he texts me, I mean, I don’t know, considered a text, but a direct message or whatever. And he texts grandma and my dad and different people, his uncle, and they’re like, oh yeah, I was texting with Uncle Jason, the other different Jason the other day. And I’m just like, you what? <laugh> Right. It’s wild. But they know so much at such a young age that they teach me things about my phone. And I’m not old. Like I, I’ve been using a smartphone since smartphone started to exist.
Jason Murray (12:18):
They just sit around and play with them and figure that stuff out.
Jordan Peace (12:21):
They got it down. Yeah, it’s wild.
Jason Murray (12:22):
So Christopher Lockhead, when he talks about this concept, tells a story about going to a beach with some friends, and they took their kids with them and they went to this beach to watch the sunset. And it was really this perfect microcosm of how different that analog and digital experience was because he sat on the beach with his friends and they just talked and they watched the sunset and they remarked on how beautiful it was. And they just enjoyed the experience being together physically. And when he looked over at their kids, his kids were sitting on the beach with their phones up recording the sunset and Instagramming it and TikTok it to their friends. And the first reaction usually for native analogs is Put the phone down.
Jordan Peace (13:08): What’s wrong with you?
Jason Murray (13:09):
Stop. Stop. Enjoy the experience. But what it misses is
Jordan Peace (13:13):
Be here, be present. That’s the message that we just, it wells up in us.
Jason Murray (13:17):
Our, and to them, they actually don’t understand that, right? Because to them, they’re actually
connecting with a real experience, sharing with friends.
Jordan Peace (13:25): With their friends
Jason Murray (13:26):
Digitally. Right. And actually, I think it was really funny, a recent example is when LeBron James broke the scoring record, there’ve been some pictures where people comment on the backdrop of all the fans in the crowd with their phones up recording it, hundreds of phones. And 20 years ago, a similar shot of Michael Jordan where people were just watching the game. And I think it’s such a fascinating dichotomy of what’s taken place there. And it’s not that those fans aren’t engaged in the experience happening.
Jordan Peace (13:54): It’s super engaging.
Jason Murray (13:54):
It’s just a different way in which they’re experiencing what’s taking place in the real world. So really funny story to you that I saw recently when I was scrolling through Instagram, trying to go to sleep one night there was a mom who was running late, getting home from work, and she was trying to get ahold of her teenage daughter. And she was trying to text her. She was trying to call her, couldn’t get a hold of her. And she realized, I know what she’s doing. She’s playing Roblox. So mom logs into Roblox, which for those who don’t know, it’s the whole kind of digital world that you can go into. And it’s sort of open-ended and whatnot. And she finds her daughter immediately in the game. And you can message people in the game and tells her daughter, Hey, I need you to actually get dinner out of the freezer so when I get home, it can be prepared and be ready quickly. And so I just thought this was a funny way in which even communications take place differently for this new generation.
Jordan Peace (14:52):
Yeah, absolutely. I feel like in this we kind of in the middle with millennials or our old soul millennials like us, it actually goes down to the mode of communication. So mm-hmm. Our friend and Chris is even a little bit older of a old soul millennial. That’s true. Even though he’s five days older than me, and I can’t get him on text, I can’t get him calling. I’ve got to email him. I, I’ll text him 12 times, “Hey, what are you doing tonight?” And I don’t get him. So I email him, what are you doing tonight? And I get something in 30 seconds. He’s just a little bit more of that old soul.
Jason Murray (15:28):
Does he have a landline still?
Jordan Peace (15:30):
He probably should. And a newspaper subscription. But it’s interesting, the progression, and it’s
happened so fast. Well, incredibly fast.
Jason Murray (15:41):
Incredibly fast. So over the last 20 years, and this was shocking to me, the first iPhone came out in, I think it was 2007
Jordan Peace (15:51): Sounds right?
Jason Murray (15:52):
So I mean, literally the iPhone has only existed for what, 16, 16 years now? Barely. Gosh. And so can you believe how much this little device has transformed the way in which we go about our daily lives? Right. It’s incredible.
Jordan Peace (16:08):
We’re still calling it a phone, ironically, even though it’s a computer in our pocket. That’s true. With a phone app on it. That’s good point. It really makes no sense. But the digital analog, the native analogs are still winning the vernacular there. That’s true. I
Jason Murray (16:21):
Thinks it’s an opportunity, new category. So needless to say, this transformation is well underway. It’s happening rapidly. I mean, some of the statistics showed that in the next five to seven years, gen Z and millennials are going to be two thirds of the workforce.
Jordan Peace (16:41):
A third, five to seven, five to seven
Jason Murray (16:43): Years. It’s about a third.
Jordan Peace (16:44): Now that is soon.
Jason Murray (16:45):
So in the next five to seven years, I mean, it’s going to be a really dramatic transformation that takes place. And interesting stat, you already have a 62% chance today of reporting to millennial boss. So already some of these dynamics are at play. But what I want us to do now is take a few topics that I think are relevant to our audience, relevant to anyone who’s in HR or anyone who just leads people for that matter to really help think about how this framing can maybe give us a different lens on these issues. So the first one I want to take is the notion of return to work or maybe flexibility and work. And so I guess maybe you could give the audience a little bit of a quick overview. Just like, Hey, what’s the conversation around that kind of stuff out there
Jordan Peace (17:36):
In the world right now? Sure. I mean before we started how people work, I was interviewing a whole lot of people on the previous podcast and a lot of CEOs and also a lot of people leaders and just folks that were either making the decision as to are we going to return to an office? Are we going to be virtual? Are we going to be hybrid? Are we going to be optional, whatever? And I mean, it’s pretty clear, I could pretty much assume based on the age of the person that I began to interview, what the answer was going to be or the age of their ceo, right? With some exceptions. But on the whole, it was pretty clear that those that were the native analog guys were putting it, which I think is, I really like that the native analog, native digital, because it simplifies.
We’re talking five generations and you’re like head spinning, trying to keep up with the nuance of all five of these generations. But I think it probably is close enough to just say, Hey, let’s talk about two groups. Right? So I think that’s useful framing. So I found a smattering of everything really. It was a cacophony of answers, if you will, from we’re going to go back to work, and if you don’t like it, deal with it. We’re virtual forever. Then there was the tech company said, we’re virtual forever. Oh, six months later, nevermind. We’re going back to work <laugh>, right? Because somebody panicked and we’re paying too
much for this dag one office. You’re going to use it.
Jason Murray (19:11): Going to make use of it.
Jordan Peace (19:12):
You’re going to make use of it, whatever. But the conversation’s been all over
Jason Murray (19:15):
This. That’s such an analog thing to say too, which is funny. Cause I can picture my parents even in my
head that are like, I paid for this. You better make good use of it. Yes,
Jordan Peace (19:24):
I can remember that conversation on many topics and now I’m the one saying stuff like that,
Jason Murray (19:29): Right? Analog.
Jordan Peace (19:30):
But the conversation’s been all over the place, but it’s so clear where it’s going to finish. And what you just said about the five to seven years before millennials and Gen Zs are two thirds of the workforce. Do people really think people are going to come into an office in five to seven years? I mean, even now you’re losing people by just saying, Hey, we’re returning to work. If I can find a similar job, similar pay even, maybe a little bit less pay, and you’re not demanding that of me. Yeah. Bye. Yeah. It’s just not going to work.
Jason Murray (20:03):
So let me ask you something. Yeah. Cause this will tie in. If I were to tell you that I had a face-to-face
meeting with somebody, how would you assume that meeting took place
Jordan Peace (20:13):
At a coffee shop or in an office of some kind?
Jason Murray (20:17): Typical native analog?
Jordan Peace (20:19):
Is that the wrong answer?
Jason Murray (20:21):
No, no, no, no. So it’s actually a really interesting thing that even puts focus on the fact that when we say the same words,
Jordan Peace (20:32):
The same phrase
Jason Murray (20:33):
We don’t actually mean the same thing. So true in listening to some podcasts and talking to some Gen Zers, when they talk about having a face-to-face meeting, they just assume mean, I had a zoom meeting where I saw, or I had a FaceTime with the person where we were face-to-face in saw their face in no way implied that it was an in-person physical meeting. And so even that in and of itself kind of shines a light on this whole return to work paradigm.
Jordan Peace (21:04):
I remember there’s this nuance I picked up on right after I shouldn’t say after covid, but after the scariest of the time throughout and so forth, and before anybody was coming back together in person at all, I remember when I would finally meet people and I would think of it as meeting them, and I would say, it’s nice to finally meet you. And I remember getting a weird look enough times that I was like, oh, I need to adjust this phrase, great to meet you in person. Right? And I started adding that on so that, because I just felt old. Saying, saying, oh, nice to finally meet you. And they’re been on 12 meetings, dude. Yes. But yeah, I’ve felt my age or my category in that nuanced way.
Jason Murray (21:54):
Yeah. Well, so just to kind of bring it back to the topic here, this whole notion of return to work in an office and flexibility it, it’s so much less about preference because I think that’s the assumption that people leading companies make is it’s just a matter of preference. And people can get over preferences just
Jordan Peace (22:14): Suck it up.
Jason Murray (22:14):
It’s really not. It’s actually just a matter of they have a fundamentally different way of seeing and experiencing the world such that they can’t comprehend why work has to be done in an office when a face-to-face meeting just as easily takes place over Zoom or FaceTime as it does in the physical presence of other people in a building and so forth.
Jordan Peace (22:40):
We’ve talked before about this whole idea of the workplace needs to catch up to the marketplace. In other words, work needs to catch up to life, right? And so similarly, if you’re a native digital, your life looks like having Zoom calls FaceTimes
Jason Murray (22:58): With family, friends!
Jordan Peace (22:59):
Sending friends TikToks back and forth, and you’re like, whatever the case may be, whatever app you’re using, but you’re actually going to see your people more on a screen than you are in person anyway. Even if they’re not spread all out of the country, even if they’re three houses away, that’s how you’re going to interact more. Yeah. Anyway, so this idea that, but at work, I can’t do that. I have to go to some arbitrary place in order to be physically together for sense, for some purposes. I don’t understand how is my work enhanced? How’s my relationship enhanced? How are we a better company for that? I don’t, yeah. No, I mean, I’m not speaking for myself. I actually do value it to a degree. That’s hard to describe, but I totally can empathize with this idea that just I don’t get it.
Jason Murray (23:53):
Well, and the funny thing is, native digitals do value it. (23:57):
And so they do appreciate the physical presence and proximity of other people and having that kind of community. But when it’s put into this context of you must be physically somewhere, it’s forced to do work. It just doesn’t compute, it doesn’t make sense. Right? So another topic I think is an interesting one that this, I feel like probably maybe goes beyond just native digitals, but it’s certainly become more apparent as a result of this transformation taking place. And the experiences are more important than stuff. And so I know you have some thoughts on this topic, thank in particular. So would love to hear even just how you think about that concept.
Jordan Peace (24:40):
Yeah. I mean, gosh, that’s a big topic. How it relates to work and how it relates to life. I mean, I, I’d say if I had to summarize it as quickly as I possibly could, I’d say that our generation and I’d say Gen Zs probably as well, typically being raised by Gen Xers, who I call baby Baby Boomers, they experience parents who, if they were able to accumulate wealth, typically this big stereotype here. But that’s what we’re doing. Typically, they use that wealth to accumulate things, whether that was the bigger house or the bigger car,
Jason Murray (25:22): They’re providing a better life.
Jordan Peace (25:23): And
Jason Murray (25:23):
That’s which equated to…
Jordan Peace (25:24):
They’re providing a better life. That is the way in which they felt like that provision was taking place, or they were winning. They were, were getting ahead in life. And I think that our generation and generation behind us saw that as kind of empty of just like, yeah, you got a great big house, but you didn’t see the world. Yeah, you got this great sports car, but you don’t take it anywhere or whatever. And again, stereotyping, but there tends to be a very strong theme amongst millennials and Gen Zs. They’re just like, yeah, I mean, stuff’s cool. I’m not against stuff, but more so I want to make memories and I want to record those memories and I want to watch ‘em back later. I want to share ‘em with my friends, and I want to see as many countries as I can. And it’s just a totally different mentality around the purpose of money and also kind of the purpose of time. I think our generation, we were defined by this idea of the fear of missing out. I think the generation behind us is more so fear of missing a better opportunity. So there’s always this watchfulness for what is something great that I could be a part of or go do or experience. And I don’t see that watchfulness at all in the generations that came before.
Jason Murray (26:53):
Well, and I think that’s something that this native digitals have right here. So I mean, the statistics say 74% of Americans value experiences over physical products. So that’s as of today, high number broadly. But I think it’s also interesting because psychologists, through research and studies that they’ve done, have actually demonstrated scientifically that when human beings make purchasing decisions, that purchasing decisions of experiences literally provide more sustained happiness for people than things. And so just, I think it’s a very positive shift generationally, that is something that is desired in that way. And I, I think that has implications as it comes to companies and leaders of companies. Because one of the phrases, if I hear it one more time, I think I’m going to fall out of my seat, is how is this better than cash?
Jordan Peace (27:55): Oh,
Jason Murray (27:56): <laugh>, right?
Jordan Peace (27:57): Yeah.
Jason Murray (27:57): Yeah. A great. Or
Jordan Peace (27:59):
Maybe get out of your seat. Pick up your chair and break it over your legs. That’s
Jason Murray (28:02):
Right. Yeah, I probably would. Or break it over somebody else’s back maybe go WWE style. There’s a funny Seinfeld clip, which maybe we’ll post that along with the podcast notes that highlights it, I think really beautifully. But I mean even more than just experiences over stuff. Did you know that virtual Gucci bags were a thing?
Jordan Peace (28:27): Virtual?
Jason Murray (28:28): Yes.
Jordan Peace (28:29): Purses. Yeah, virtual purses.
Jason Murray (28:31):
More of those are sold than actual Gucci bags kicked out.
Jordan Peace (28:35): For
Jason Murray (28:35): What? That’s crazy.
Jordan Peace (28:37): What do you do with it?
Jason Murray (28:37):
It’s just part, it’s kind of like your avatar, right? So that’s why I asked you about Ready Player One.
How much should they, cause I have no idea. I, we’d have to look at it
Jordan Peace (28:47):
If we continue this discussion. I must sound ancient because that didn’t compute at
Jason Murray (28:52):
All. Right? But as we’re saying, all of this has implications in very directly, I think for the employee experience. Oh, because
Jordan Peace (29:00): Goodness.
Jason Murray (29:02):
What does pay look like? I mean, sufficient pay certainly matters, but we’ve heard for years now that employees, especially younger employees, value certain things more than additional pay. And so that brings us to what kinds of things matter most to people? What benefits matter most to people? How do you think about rewards and recognition? I not just crummy gift cards to buy stuff, but meaningful experiences I think is much more going to lend itself to what this generation desires. It’s upcoming.
Jordan Peace (29:35):
Yeah. I mean, I’ll never forget, our friend at Capital One is a pretty high level employee in her, I don’t know, it was 20, 25 year anniversary or something. And her choice was like, you can have this kitchen appliance or just knockoff Rolex. And she was so offended by this. I mean, it had such a negative impact. It would’ve been verbatim. I remember her saying it would’ve been far better to give me nothing than to give me options of just stuff that isn’t that meaningful. It is. It’s not personalized to me at all. It’s just something why even bother? So I love that stat around 74% of it preferring experiences, because that’s not pointing to necessarily one generation or two generations. I mean that, that’s pretty widespread. So I think it has a huge impact. And I think that we mistake the idea of, well, I have a program. I rolled something out. And that in and of itself is always good. I think there’s so many times we do more harm than good by just rolling out something to check a box. That is a big mistake. And I think with five generations, or even with two sort of native groups, if you want to look at it that way, you got to have a lot of intention to help me put a lot of thought into how you approach compensation benefits, where people work, when they work, what their schedules look like, et cetera. You can’t just sort of throw things at the wall and see what sticks.
Jason Murray (31:12):
So the last topic I want to hit on, and then we can maybe wrap up with a few ideas around what can companies be doing with this framing here is around work experience. And so this is the notion of how native digitals think about the necessity of certain kinds of training in relation to their work experience. So for example, college degrees. So we were talking about this just before the podcast here, but that 51% of Gen Z doesn’t care about getting a college degree, that they’re more interested in skills based education training on the job. Think a good analogy is they see work more climbing on a jungle gym than climbing a rope or a ladder, for example. So I mean, it’d be interesting just to comment on that for a moment because it’s such a different change even from what we experienced not that long ago.
Jordan Peace (32:07):
Yeah. I, geez. I think by the time I was even in middle school, there was conversations beginning about not, are you going to go to college? Where do you want to go to? What are you going to study in college? There was an assumption that unless we were in a situation where we simply could not afford college, which really, there’s tons of programs out there to help with that. But even still, that was the only way. It wasn’t going to happen if our family was in dire need and you need to go out and work now, or we just didn’t have the resources or something. That was the only possible way that I was not going to go to college. And that wasn’t my family, that was everybody I knew. It was just like, that’s what you did next. Because if you did not do that, the assumption was your opportunities are severely limited. Right. Which didn’t actually turn out to be true press. I appreciate my college education. I appreciate even more of the time I spent there, but I could have done literally everything I’ve done from the age of 22 to now without that degree. Same. It did nothing to help me get here. Not what I learned in class. Maybe what I learned about doing my own laundry. You know, what I learned about cleaning my house or the life skills. I could have learned that on a job living in an
Jason Murray (33:34):
Apartment. Well, native digitals are wise up to it because they’re saying, well, why is pay a hundred grand or more for this in order to get a degree that, as you said, has served you none in the things that you’ve done over the past decade or more.
Jordan Peace (33:51):
Yeah. I mean, I even think about, and not to always take things back to kids, but I got five of ‘em. I think about it all the time. I’m not even saving towards college for them. I’m just saving in accounts for each one. Just sort of generic advisory accounts that are taxable that could be used for anything. Cause I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m going to seed their business, start business, I’m going to, they’re going to go to trade school, or they’re going to come work for me or
Jason Murray (34:17):
Be able to buy a house. Even
Jordan Peace (34:18): A
Jason Murray (34:19):
House native digitals can’t do these days.
Jordan Peace (34:21):
Right? Yeah. I have no idea. And I just stopped assuming a little while ago that college was the route and has, it’s no comment on them as individuals and their capabilities or even their personalities.
Jason Murray (34:33):
Well, I think it’s a comment on the necessity of it to actually move forward in the world. So I mean that’s,
Jordan Peace (34:39):
Well, college colleges kind of priced themselves out too. I mean, that’s another piece puzzle there.
Jason Murray (34:43):
But I think companies aren’t adapting quickly to that reality. So yeah, I mean, the fact of the matter is you’re going to have more and more young employees coming in with no pedigree, let’s say, as it relates to college education
Jordan Peace (34:57): In that way.
Jason Murray (34:58):
But I think still highly valuable employees who are going to be looking to companies saying, Hey, how are you going to train me? How are you going to develop me? Are there apprenticeship? Are there ways that you can teach me on the job, the really practical skills that I need to actually be successful in the world versus the,
Jordan Peace (35:14):
Because ironically kind of old school,
Jason Murray (35:16): Yeah, it is
Jordan Peace (35:18):
Going back in time, but in a kind of fresh
Jason Murray (35:20):
But new way. Cause desire,
Jordan Peace (35:21):
The opportunities are different, right?
Jason Murray (35:23): Yeah, very much. Yeah.
Jordan Peace (35:25):
Well think about too, I mean, think about when we did financial planning. I remember we had clients that were 18 years old that were, had such Instagram followings that they were making far more money than you and I probably ever will at 18. It was just like, what? That was not a thing, right?
Jason Murray (35:43):
That was not a thing. Good generation. Well, even on the opposite end of that, there’s a guy that who also started working when he was 18, right out of school at the nuclear plant. So like a skilled trade. But by his mid twenties he was making $150,000. Right? I mean, so it there’s opportunity out there that doesn’t require that same kind of path that I think was instilled in us in that way. Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s wrap up just talking a little bit about what can companies do, how do we take this framing, maybe apply it to some of the ways that we go about building companies, leading people, and so forth. And so I would love to hear from you some things that come to mind. I mean,
Jordan Peace (36:20):
What I hear, just listening to ourselves in this conversation and thinking about trying to lead a company ourselves. I think we just need to be flexible. We need to be really open-minded. We just need to not think about things like pedigree in the same way. We need to not think about where people work and how they work in the same way. And we need to understand that people need different things. And the only way to provide such a diverse group of people and opportunity to be successful in the way that they need to be successful is to be incredibly flexible. You can’t say, well, we are all going to return to this office all the time. We can’t. And I would argue you can’t also say we’re all going to be remote only. And there’s never an opportunity. There’s never an opportunity for you guys to get together and get around a whiteboard.
Jason Murray (37:13):
That’s what’s designed and solve
Jordan Peace (37:14):
Some problems. Exactly. Nobody, I would argue probably nobody or most people don’t want zero opportunity for that, right? They just want the flexibility. And that’s challenging. And to some degree, it could be expensive even. But I think about how we run our company. We think about, okay, well we don’t provide an office space for every single person, but we almost account for it as if we do. Right? What would it cost to provide a desk for every single person? And then how could we use those funds differently because we don’t provide a desk for every single person to serve people to serve the need of getting together occasionally for that team building and that figuring problem solving and doing some of those things together and breaking bread and whatever. And I think that’s the type of thinking that’s needed. It’s just like, okay, it’s whatever we’ve done in the past.
Let’s take the lessons that can apply and let’s use those and let’s let the other ones kind of fall by the wayside that just don’t apply anymore. And that kind of stubborn attitude of just like, I’ve been here, I’ve done that. I know how things work. Sorry, the world’s changing too fast. To think that what we learned 10 years ago is still relevant. Yeah, no. So I, I’d say above all, and in the interest of time, I’d just say be flexible. Be open-minded and understand that your employees are very, very different than one another. And potentially the group as a whole is very different than whoever you were leading 10 years ago or 20 years ago if you’ve been doing it that long. Yeah.
Jason Murray (38:51):
Yeah. I mean there’s say, you might even call it an arrogance of every preceding generation that totally assumes that, hey, just the way things are is the best way. Right? And there’s a resistance. And so what I’m hearing you say is being willing to move through this transformation that’s taking place, being flexible, being adaptable, and not just fighting it is
Jordan Peace (39:17):
A huge part of it. Yeah. I think you got to know what your absolutes are, and you got to know what kind of your relative truths are, right? There are some things that have carried through all generations and will carry through all generations things. Just like being humble and kind to your people and listening to them, right? Whether you’re listening over zoom or in person over coffee, kind of a universal absolute, right? But then there’s a whole lot of things that I think we as leaders, especially the older we are, we want to hold onto them and be like, no, no, no. This is how business is. And it’s no, that actually belongs in the category of things that you need to be open-minded and open-handed about. Yeah. And I think that’s the difference between great leadership and kind of average leadership going into the next 10, 15 years.
Jason Murray (40:02):
Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap up this conversation. And I hate to break it to you, but you failed to use the word of the day. I did not. From the last conversation.
Jordan Peace (40:12):
Cacophony. I said, you missed it
Jason Murray (40:15): I totally missed it.
Jordan Peace (40:17): That was smooth. I’m a smooth operator today.
Jason Murray (40:19): Yes you are. Yeah. I was
Jordan Peace (40:21): Talking about interviewing CEOs and getting a cacophony of answers.
Jason Murray (40:24): I was getting excited, which is kind of
Jordan Peace (40:25):
Not using it correctly, but it was close.
Jason Murray (40:28):
Yeah. My active listening was just, sorely lacking there
Jordan Peace (40:33):
You’re forgiven. What’s my word? Next week? Well, I
Jason Murray (40:35):
Got excited because I thought we could keep score and I get a point if you forget to use it and then you get a point when you do use it, you’re
Jordan Peace (40:40):
Going to get crushed If we did that. I am crushed. Don’t think
Jason Murray (40:43):
<laugh> probably true. Well, the word of the day for the next episode will be anachronism.
Jordan Peace (40:50):
Good. Gosh, these are not getting used here. <laugh>, I’ll be googling that in about five minutes.
Jason Murray (40:57):
So Well, thank you everyone for joining us on this episode, and we’ll see you next time.
Jordan Peace (41:02): Yep. Bye-Bye.