Meet Gen Z: Your Next Customer and Colleague
September 14, 2022 | Webinar
Born between 1997 and 2012, these 69 million young Americans comprise an informed, open-minded and connected generation. This demographic of digital natives, raised in a recession, is being shaped by circumstances including climate change, COVID-19 and social justice movements. They are already engaging with insurance and could be your next employee – or coworker. Travelers Assistant Vice President of Market Research Jacqui Heidelberger shared a fascinating look at this amazing generation: Who are they and what makes them tick? What’s the best way to reach them? What are they looking for in customer experience? How can employers recruit and retain them?
What did we learn? Here are the top takeaways from Meet Gen Z: Your Next Customer and Colleague
Informed, open-minded and connected. Heidelberger says that Gen Z is “informed, open-minded and connected.” They are the first generation to grow up with the internet, and they are constantly connected to their devices.
Truly digital. The internet for #GenZ? “It’s a given. It’s a tool. It’s a utility,” Heidelberger explained. Their world is increasingly digital and virtual. Yet, they are not alone in their phones – “they use technology to nurture friendships and stay connected.”
Marketing to Gen Z. They turn to social media like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube to self-educate and demystify complex personal financial topics, Heidelberger told us. And heads up - the insurance industry's voice is largely absent from Gen Z's information world. “We need to start engaging in some of these newer platforms, for Gen Z future customers and employees. The narrative on insurance is at risk of running away from us,” she warned.
Diverse and highly inclusive. They are the most racially diverse generation in history which has a huge impact on how they define themselves, who they are, what they value and how they set expectations for companies and employers, Heidelberger told us.
Risk averse and cautious for good reason. Shaped by climate change, COVID, recession and social justice movements, Gen Z has grown up in a world that has been unstable and unpredictable, making them highly risk averse and cautious, Heidelberger told us. They witnessed the impacts the 2008 recession had on generations before them, resulting in early engagement with personal finance behaviors like saving and investing. This also impacts what they are looking for in a job – salary and health benefits are important, she told us.
Not as trusting as previous generations. Heidelberger shared research showing that only 38% of Gen Z trust American companies by default. By comparison, 63% of Baby Boomers do. Companies cannot simply rely on their stature or history to win the trust of Gen Z but must instead proactively earn it, Heidelberger noted.
Expectations that go beyond products and services. Heidelberger explained that Gen Z is looking for transparency, authenticity, responsiveness, charitable giving, engagement on social issues and evidence of treating employees well. Heidelberger told us that companies must be prepared to meet Gen Z's high standards in order to be successful.
Gen Z seeks purpose and meaning in their work, but…not necessarily “saving the world” purpose. “They want to do work that matters at their company,” she told us. “They want to know how and why their work is important, how it impacts the company, how it impacts others. It also means that they want to work at companies where the culture, day in and day out, aligns with their values, things like diversity, equity and inclusion, individual expression and collaboration.”
Presented by the Travelers Institute, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the Master's in Financial Technology (FinTech) Program at the University of Connecticut School of Business, the Risk and Uncertainty Management Center at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business and the MetroHartford Alliance.
Presentation. Title card. Text, Wednesdays with Woodward (registered trademark) Webinar Series.
JOAN WOODWARD: Good afternoon, and thank you so much for joining us. I'm Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute. Welcome to Wednesdays with Woodward, a webinar series where we convene leading experts for conversation about some of today's biggest challenges. Our team here at the Institute, the public policy division of Travelers, began this virtual educational series at the start of the pandemic to really help us all navigate through these uncertain times.
Since 2020, we've taken on some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in insurance, risk management and leadership. Some of our programming also focuses on the evolving workplace. And with that in mind, today we're doing a deep dive into Generation Z, the largest generation in American history, the oldest of whom are now entering our workforce.
If our registration numbers are any indication, there's a lot of you who want to know more about these young people. How can we reach, how do we recruit them, how do we retain them, and the newest members of our workforce. Or simply, how can we better understand each other so that multigenerational teams can work and succeed together.
I'm from the last year of the baby boomers, and my team at the Institute spans four generations-- baby boom, Gen X, millennial and Gen Z. It's powerful to have diversity of perspectives in everything we do, and today I'm turning over the host chair to the millennial who's my right hand at the Institute, Jessica Kearney, Assistant Vice President for Public Policy, who powers all the work that we do. Jessica will be guest hosting more of these programs in the year ahead, and I'm really thrilled to turn over the Zoom floor to her today. Jessica, take it away.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Thanks, Joan. As Joan mentioned, I'm Jessica Kearney, Assistant Vice President here at the Travelers Institute, and I'm just really pleased to be guest hosting this week's program on Generation Z. This cohort has grown up during really a remarkable time of challenge and opportunity. Gen Z was born roughly between 1997 and 2012, so they're anywhere between 10 and 25 years old today. They are truly, as Joan mentioned, the first digital-native generation coming of age in a world where content and information is free and shared, and where one-click online shopping is a given.
They are a diverse generation with a worldview that has been shaped by social justice movements. And they've grown up with major global challenges, including, of course, COVID-19. As Joan mentioned, the oldest of this generation is now entering the workforce, which means they're starting to appear on our teams and will have significant spending power later in this decade. So, how do business leaders recruit, retain and work with Gen Z? And how do we connect with them as consumers? We have an amazing expert from Travelers with us today who will share her findings on this incredible cohort.
Before we get started, just a few notes. First, I'd like to share a disclaimer about today's program here on screen.
Slide, About Travelers Institute (registered trademark) Webinars. The Wednesdays with Woodward educational webinar series is presented by the Travelers Institute, the public policy division of Travelers. This program is offered for informational and educational purposes only. You should consult with your financial, legal, insurance or other advisors about any practices suggested by this program. Please note that this session is being recorded and may be used as Travelers deems appropriate.
I'd also like to extend our enormous thanks to our just incredible webinar partners today. You'll see them here on the slide
Slide, Wednesdays with Woodward, Webinar Series. Text, Meet Gen Z: Your Next Customer and Colleague. Logo, Travelers Institute. Metro Hartford Alliance. Connecticut Business & Industry Association. Master's in Financial Technology (FinTech) Program at the University of Connecticut School of Business. Risk and Uncertainty Management Center at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. Travelers Young Professionals and Allies Diversity Network.
The Masters in Fintech Program at UConn School of Business, MetroHartford Alliance, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the Risk and Uncertainty Management Center at the University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business, and Travelers Young Professionals and Allies Diversity Network, one of Travelers’ eight diversity networks. So, thank you to all these fantastic groups for investing in this dialogue and conversation today. We provide a special welcome to you and your members for joining us.
Slide, Speakers. Three profile pictures. Text, Joan Woodward, Executive Vice President, Public Policy, President, Travelers Institute, Travelers. Jessica Legnos Kearney, Assistant Vice President, Travelers Institute, Travelers. Jacqui Heidelberger, Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Market Research, Travelers.
So, here today to talk about Generation Z is Jacqui Heidelberger. Jacqui is Assistant Vice President of Emerging Insights Portfolio within the Enterprise Market Research team here at Travelers. And this group was established to stay at the forefront of emerging trends and market developments. Jacqui and her team use data-driven methodologies to explore possible future scenarios for our businesses and to help with strategic planning in that regard.
Jacqui has been a member of the Enterprise Market Research team since 2007 and has led a wide variety of insight initiatives, including on product development, marketing and advertising, emerging technologies, so things like telematics and IoT and blockchain, and identifying and understanding the needs of the connected customer.
We are very fortunate to have Jacqui with us here today to share her insights on Gen Z. And a quick note, if you have any questions for Jacqui, which I hope you do, please drop them throughout the presentation in the Q&A function on the bottom of your screen, and we'll get to them after her presentation. Jacqui, over to you, take it away.
Slide, Meet Gen Z: Your Next Customer and Colleague. Wednesdays with Woodward, September 2022.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Thank you very much, Jessica, and I'm thrilled to be here. Good afternoon, morning, evening to you all, depending on where you're joining us from. I'm thrilled to be here today to share our latest perspective on reaching Gen Z, your next customer and colleague.
Slide, Some Agreements we have to make.
But before we start, there's a few things that we need to agree on as a group. The first agreement I'm going to ask that we all make is that studying generations is not about assigning value or judgment. By and large, generations are really just byproducts of their circumstances. And it's really through very little intentional action of their own that they are the way they are.
The next agreement that we're all going to make is that it is human nature to observe the actions of another generation through the lens of your own experience. But the problem with that is, it creates bias. And part of my team's role at Travelers is to bring outside and future perspective into discussions like this one today, in a way that helps us to acknowledge and eliminate that bias. So, we're all going to agree that it's very natural, but for the purpose of our time together today, it's not productive.
And the final agreement we're going to make-- this is for those of you who happen to know a Gen Z. Again, they're currently between the ages of 10 and 25, so if it's a child, a relative, a neighbor, perhaps somebody you interact with at the grocery store, or maybe even an employee, I'm going to ask that you use that person as a point of reference.
But also that you keep in mind that no one person can ever encapsulate every aspect of a generation all of the time. And so there may be aspects that we talk about today that are broadly about the generation Gen Z that don't apply to the individual you're holding in mind. And that's OK.
Slide, Why Study Generations?
So, assuming we were all in enthusiastic agreement, let's talk for a minute about why it's important for businesses to study generations. Now we just agreed that they are byproducts of their circumstances. And what that really means is that they all have a slightly different take on the world based on the circumstances that shaped them.
So studying generations allows us to understand the unique and also similar qualities across them. This, in turn, allows us to identify where there are unique characteristics-- of Gen Z in this case-- that will perhaps cause some friction when this cohort starts to bump into the dominant culture, one that is today largely formed around boomers, Gen X, millennials. It also allows us to identify where there will be some natural opportunities to emerge.
Now, once we understand the characteristics that could present future opportunity and challenge, we then are able to line that up against our existing strategies and ask ourselves, should anything change or not? And now some of you might be saying, but Jacqui, I've been successful in my career and in the past without doing this. Why now? Why is this so important now? And here's why.
Just as the pace of technological change has accelerated, so, too, has the pace of cultural and social change. And because of that, it's getting harder and harder for us to rely on our own individual experiences to guide business strategy. And we are finding ourselves needing to be more and more empirical about it.
Now I know sometimes talking about generations can feel like a call to blank-slate it-- completely reimagine yourself in your strategy. I think it felt that way for some people when millennials hit the scene. But I want you to keep in mind that the whole fuss about studying generations comes down to these two very simple things.
Slide, A table. Four columns that are labeled as follows, Boomers, 58-76 years old, approximately 70 million, 18% non white alone. Gen X, 42-57 years old, approximately 65 million, 30% non white alone. Millennials, 26-41 years old, approximately 72 million, 39% non white alone. Gen Z, 10-25 years old, approximately 69 million, 48% non white alone. Boomers, Digital Immigrants, Gen X, Digitally Adapted, Millennials, Digital Pioneers, Gen Z, Digital Natives.
Let's start with a quick level set on the four main generations in scope for our discussion today. This is just to get us all on the same page and thinking about people we know in our lives in the same way. And I find the easiest way to start bucketing the people you know into generational groups is by age. So, as you can see and as we've already mentioned, Gen Z is the group of people born between 1997 and 2012, which does make them between 10 and 25 years old today.
Gen Z is a highly diverse group of individuals. In fact, they are the most racially diverse generation in history. As you can see by the pie charts at the bottom of this slide, nearly half of Gen Z identify as what the U.S. Census refers to as non-white alone. What non-white alone refers to is those who identify as Black, Asian, Native American, Native Islander, Hispanic, a combination of races, which could include white or white Hispanic. This has a huge impact on shaping who they are, what they value, and the expectations of companies and employers that they are currently forming.
Now, recognizing that they're all shaped by circumstances, those circumstances usually result in characteristics that the group as a whole tend to exhibit. They are often used to describe them. They're sort of shorthand-- mental shortcuts. So boomers, for example, often described as loyal, hardworking, competitive and goal-oriented individuals.
Gen X-- they're seen as independent, resourceful. After all, they were the first generation of latchkey kids, and they were responsible for themselves at a much younger age.
Millennials-- they are the most highly educated generation. They do have an orientation towards the self. Again, we're not assigning a judgment or a value to that, but the reality is, because of the circumstances of which they came in age, largely the internet, social media and mobile technology, they have a strong sense of self. Some might even call them self-centered. This is also a group who came into the workforce at a time when mobile technology was really starting to entangle our professional and personal lives. And currently, they're grappling with that.
But what about Gen Z? They're young and there's still more to define them. But today, they are often described as highly connected. And for sure, they're digitally connected, even tech reliant. You probably all showed up to this webinar today expecting that you were going to hear that, so you can check that one off your bingo card.
But they're also connected with their communities and their friends. In addition to that, they are globally connected. Their awareness and engagement with global current events is absolutely unprecedented. And this is largely due to technology-- namely the smartphone-- that consolidates all of the world's updates and issues into minute-by-minute updates in the tiny computer in their pocket.
Gen Z is also a highly risk-averse and cautious group of young people. As teenagers, they engage less in the behaviors we often associate with typical youth rebellion. They're less engaged in sexual activity. They are less likely to drink alcohol, smoke and do drugs. They get in fewer fights, and they commit fewer crimes. This is a group that seeks stability and predictability, because so much of the world around them has proven unstable and unpredictable. They're also highly inclusive, and they are-- many of them-- are seen as natural advocates.
And finally, I'd be remiss to not include some of their defining technologies. What you need to know is that Gen Z, every single one of them, was born post-internet. They were all born after the internet had become a mainstream, household concept. They are true digital natives. And some of you may have heard millennials referred to as digital natives, but, in our opinion, they're digital pioneers.
Millennials forged hard ground to create and establish a lot of the technology and associated behaviors that we all have today. They were embracing technology; they were seduced by social media and the internet at a time when the technology was advancing rapidly. Social norms, as well as laws and regulations, were not yet formed. But Gen Z came after that. They're internet locals. To them, it's a given, it's a tool, it's a utility, just like heat, water or electricity.
Slide, Meet Gen Z.
So now that we're starting to form a picture of Gen Z in our mind, let's get a little bit deeper into some of what I think are some of the most important aspects for you all to know.
Slide, Their world is increasingly digital & virtual.
The very first thing you need to know is that their world is increasingly digital and virtual. This is absolutely fundamental to understanding and preparing for Gen Z. If you take nothing else away from this hour we spend together, I want you to take this away.
From the mundane to things that were seemingly impossible, more and more of Gen Z's life is occurring in digital or virtual settings. Cashing a check or hailing a cab. Gen Z doesn't really know a time before these were done via smartphone. Education and health care are increasingly digital and even virtual.
The boundaries of what can be done virtually or digitally have been and continue to be pushed. Now COVID accelerated this for all of us, but given their age, this is having a profound impact on the expectations and behaviors of Gen Z that will persist with them as they age. So let me break this down into two examples, because this digital/virtual concept I feel can be a hard one for us non-Gen Zs to wrap our heads around.
Slide, A young man laughs while looking at a video conference on a TV.
As we do this, it's important to realize that for Gen Z, digital environments are absolutely not the same solitary, isolated experience many of us may be thinking of. When we see them nose deep into a phone, they are not necessarily having the same solitary experience you and I may be thinking about.
Things have changed, and now technology enables more and different connections. Gen Z uses technology to nurture friendships, create friendships, in ways that prior generations simply couldn't. Prior to COVID, 60% of teens said that they hang out with their friends online daily or almost daily. And according to a 2020 study, another nearly 60% said they're friends with somebody that they only know online.
So there are a host of apps that Gen Z uses to hang out virtually with their friends. There's dedicated apps, like Houseparty or even just FaceTime. But they also use apps like Amazon Watch Party, Discord or Metastream to watch shows and movies together. It's sometimes called co-viewing or co-watching.
And as of June last year, 40% of 16- to 34-year-olds had used a co-viewing app to enjoy a shared social experience without ever leaving their couch. So again, Gen Z is coming of age in a technology environment where it seems that just about anything can be done digitally or virtually, including creating human connection.
Slide, A boy plays video games on a large screen.
The other important example here has to do with gaming. It is a huge part of Gen Z's digital and virtual life. Now I'm willing to bet an awful lot that those of you with a Gen Z in your life are familiar with games like Among Us, Fortnite, Roblox, League of Legends or Call of Duty. Those of you who don't, please count your blessings. Consider yourself very lucky. I have young children in my household; I'm very familiar with these games.
But let's talk about it for a minute. Why does this matter? These are unique games. They are multiplayer, cloud-based, and in some cases, cross-platform games or gaming environments. That means you can hop online and play a game with friends or like-minded strangers, regardless of where you live. You don't have to be in the same room, even the same state or even the same country.
This type of gaming is turning the internet from a solitary, text-based environment into a real-time collaborative space that fuels socialization, creativity and community. According to a Deloitte study, 50% of Gen Z gamers say that gaming helps them stay connected to others and that it's important to make connections while gaming.
So these are spaces that do a very important thing, and that thing is that they support the transmission of ideas and information. They create social opportunities to meet friends and partners. My background is in cultural anthropology, and in anthropology, we call these kinds of spaces third space. So home is your first space. Work or school is your second space. And then all of the other places you socialize, learn new things, meet new people, those are called third space.
As gaming is constituting more and more Gen Z's third-space time, it's important to acknowledge that it's not just about the gaming. Because on these gaming platforms, sure, they play games. But they also sort of just hang out. They can change their outfit or their hair or their avatar. They can make friends. They celebrate milestones. They even go to concerts.
Slide, Chart. Text, Virtual Concert Stats. Charlie Puth Fortnite TBD 2022. Blackpink P.U.B.G. 15.7 Million 2022. Justin Bieber Wave 10.7 Million 2021. Ariana Grande Fortnite Unclear 2021. Lil Nas X Roblox 33 Million 2020. Travis Scott Fortnite 45.8 Million 2020. Marshmello Fortnite 10.7 Million 2019.
And this wasn't just a COVID-induced response. This was a concept that started before the pandemic and has continued to generate interest, engagement and, most importantly, revenue for performers and platforms alike. Records have been broken. Tens of millions of viewers are attracted to these online music events posted inside gaming platforms.
Slide, A young girl sits at her desktop computer with headphones on. Text, Collaboration, Active Listening, Problem Solving, Negotiating, Influence Without Authority.
So, here's the really cool thing about Gen Z and all the time they spend on these platforms, because you're probably wondering at this point, what could this possibly mean for me. Here's what I want you to know. While they're gaming or going to virtual concerts, they are also learning valuable workplace skills, like collaboration, active listening, problem-solving, negotiating and influencing without authority.
As Gen Z enters the workplace, they will be bringing those skills. Skills that enable them to quickly organize around a common goal, play their role to achieve a shared outcome. And their ability to do this will not be dependent on, do I know these people in my working group, do I have any preexisting familiarity with them. Geographic proximity will not matter. So think about what that means for talent acquisition. The talent pool just got a lot bigger.
Think about efficiencies in a decentralized workplace, or on agile working teams where we ask cross-functional teams to quickly organize around a shared outcome and achieve a shared goal. On the distribution front-- on the insurance distribution front-- it's reasonable to believe that they're going to bring these expectations of being able to form short, but beneficial and goal-oriented relationships into the insurance purchase transaction. Gen Z may increasingly be asking themselves, why does my agent even need to be local? Why do I need to go to an office?
Slide, Two girls look at a smartphone and a laptop. Text, Gen Z interacts with INFO differently.
The next thing you need to know is that Gen Z interacts with information very differently. This is a highly visual, video-first group of communicator that will challenge where and how we communicate complex products and processes, whether that's as customers or employees.
Slide, Woman chops vegetables while talking with a person by video on a tablet.
In many cases, Gen Z will search something on YouTube before they search it on Google. And while YouTube is still very much used for entertainment-- there is no shortage of cute cat videos or fails that are hilariously embarrassing-- it's evolved as well. It’s evolved into what I like to call a video-based solutions platform. According to a Google study, 80% of Gen Z said that YouTube has helped them become more knowledgeable. And almost 70% say that they've learned a new skill that will be helpful to them in the future from YouTube.
This is a really radical difference in how they approach information for the sake of skill building and knowledge and learning.
Slide. Chart, #views on TikTok as of 9.6.2022. #insurance 1.0 Billion. #insuranceagent 72.5 Million. #carinsurance 87.6 Million. #carinsurancetips 3.8 Million.
But it's not just YouTube. Instagram and, more recently, TikTok-- these are other platforms that Gen Z uses to inform and educate themselves. A recent Pew Research Center study found that 40% of Gen Z prefer to search TikTok or Instagram over Google. That's a huge shift in a long-established cultural norm in terms of where we go for information.
It can be very easy to write these off as silly distractions. But for a generation living an increasingly digital life, these are incredibly impactful platforms where they can not only learn the latest TikTok dance, but also learn about things like the stock market, managing debt and even insurance. But here's the problem.
You can see the views here on TikTok as of the sixth-- they change by the day. The narrative around insurance on these platforms, it's at risk of running away from us, if it hasn't already. Most of the videos you'll find if you were to hop on to TikTok right now are about how to legally scam your insurance company, how to hack insurance to get it as cheap as possible.
There's a common trend on TikTok that starts a little something like this. What's a scam so normalized that we don't even think twice about it? One of the popular answers-- insurance. So we need to figure out a way to engage in this conversation. And we're going to talk a little bit more about some of the ways we can do that, but it's important that we recognize that Gen Z is turning to platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube to self-educate and demystify complex, personal finance topics, and the insurance industry's voice is largely absent.
So we've got to think about the impact this will have as more and more Gen Z engages with the category, seeks information on the category. How will it influence their employment decisions? There are very big implications if we don't start engaging in some of these newer platforms, because they're increasingly playing an important role for Gen Z future customers and employees.
Slide, Young woman with a questioning expression. Text, Trust IS NOT the default.
Now before we all run out and we start a TikTok account and regain control of the narrative, which I believe can be done, it's important we talk about this. Trust is not the default position for Gen Z. Gen Z is growing up in a world where societal distrust is a critical issue.
And because they are constantly connected to the world's global events, thanks to a 24-hour news cycle and that supercomputer in their pocket, from a young age they have been inundated with messages about data breaches, the #MeToo movement, police brutality, school shootings, deep fakes, bot farms, brushing scams, mystery seeds from China.
They're also more likely to be in a historically marginalized group. They are less white, less Christian, less heterosexual, and less gender conforming than prior generations. This means that they are more likely to have personally faced systems that work against them. And if they haven't themselves, it's very likely that they know somebody who has.
And all of this makes trust increasingly rare. For Gen Z, their skepticism is essentially a form of self-preservation. Let me show you some data.
Slide, Trust in companies. A bar graph. Text, Boomers, 63%, Gen X, 56%, Millennials, 49%, Gen Z (18+), 38%.
Only 38% of Gen Z says that they trust the average American company by default. For boomers, as a point of comparison, it's 63%. How did trust in the average American company get so low?
There's quite a few reasons. One of them is that just so much more is knowable now. Now remember, Gen Z, they were born here. They are internet locals. And the internet has created an environment where the actions of companies are much more public. Employees have platforms to voice their opinions and experiences on sites like Glassdoor.
You can dig into so much more about companies online than you ever could before. From working conditions to executive compensation, environmental practices and even supply chain practices. All of this can be found out relatively easily. So, what does this mean for us? What does this shortage of assumed trust mean for us?
It means we need to realize that things just aren't like they used to be. We cannot assume that we will be trusted simply because of our stature, or history, or because Gen Z's parents are many of our customers and employees today. That trust will need to be proactively earned if we're to maintain relevance with Gen Z in the future.
So that begs the question, how does the company engender trust with this skeptical audience?
Slide, Young man with headphones smiling at a smartphone while typing on a laptop. Text, Forming expectations that go beyond product & service.
First, we need to recognize that Gen Z is actively forming new expectations of companies that go far beyond product and service. They have had boundless access to the internet since they were children, toddlers even. And when you have boundless access to the internet, that means that you can get just about any product from just about any seller.
And in an environment like that, what's left to make your decision on? Imagine you're a Gen Z and you want to buy a green sweater. You're no longer relegated to the two stores in town to buy your green sweater. You go online and you have access to nearly all of the green sweaters in the world. So you find the few that are the shade you want and the price point you want with the materials that you like.
But then how do you decide? The user experience on their sites? Sure, there is data that suggests Gen Z does have a lower tolerance for a poor online interface. The overall customer experience? Yeah, that, that's definitely a part of it, particularly for repeat business. But more and more, Gen Z is turning to things like supply chain ethics and employee practices, as well as engagement on social issues, to inform their purchase decisions.
So we have to understand that it's not just about how well we deliver a product or service. There's more to it. We did some very interesting research with Gen Z, and we asked them, give me some company green flags. I don't want to know the red flags; I want to know the green flags. What convinces you? How do you know that you're dealing with a trustworthy company?
Here's a summary of what they've told us.
Slide, Hallmarks of Trustworthy Brands.
Transparency. Transparency is incredibly important to this group. You have to remember, they have grown up with a supercomputer in their pocket, and they highly value the ability to self-educate and demystify just about anything. Companies that aren't highly transparent are considered highly suspect by Gen Z.
Authenticity is also critical. For one, this generation's BS meter is really strong, and they can smell a fake a mile away. But this is also a group that likes to celebrate individualism. They're happy that it works for you. Doesn't work for me, but it works for you-- celebrate it. They want companies to know who they are, own it and show up that way all the time.
Responsiveness is a big one. And it's not because they're impatient, or they demand instant gratification, or they have a short attention span. Rather, this is a group of young people who have grown accustomed to always-on, highly responsive technology. They have grown up with high-speed internet, smartphones, iPads, voice assistants, all of which are instantaneously responsive to the user and rarely do you need to wait. So, in this way, the technology that surrounds them is shaping their expectations for how companies should act.
And then we have things like charitable giving, engagement on social issues and employee practices. Gen Z believes that companies in the United States have a tremendous amount of power, and they want to see them using that power for good. That's where things like charitable giving and engaging on social issues come in.
Now listen, I know this isn't easy. You don't have to do it all. You don't have to do it all tomorrow. We're in an industry that is not heavily impacted by Gen Z quite yet, but it's coming. And so what I would suggest to you, if the idea of engaging on social issues feels a little bit outside of the bounds we're comfortable in, is watch some other companies, see how they handle it.
Be smart about the topics you engage in. Take a look at the actions you're already taking and ask yourself, am I already doing this? And in a lot of cases, I think you'll find you are. The important thing to keep in mind is that it now is part of the equation that Gen Z will be making when they think about purchasing or their career. And on employee practices, right, it's very important to recognize that Gen Z wants to align themselves with brands that treat their employees better than the bare minimum required by law.
So, we have a little bit of context for who they are and what has shaped them, and the role of trust in their lives. And I want to make a point here that this is a group that can be very trusting. It just needs to be proactively and routinely earned because it's not a given.
So we need to reach them.
Slide, Reaching Gen Z will require us to adapt traditional marketing tactics.
Reaching them is going to require us to adapt traditional marketing tactics. There's a few important statistics here, and they're really just to paint a picture of the environment we're operating in. Cable, I mean, 25% of them say they use it, another 25% of 18- to 34-year-olds tell us, I've never even subscribed to cable.
Nearly 40% of them do not watch live sports at all. That's nearly double millennials. 98% of them are using at least one streaming service. Now, streaming has become pretty mainstream, but as a point of comparison, that's still nearly 30 points higher than boomers. And they spend roughly three hours a day on social media, give or take 15 minutes, depending on if you align male or female.
Their social media usage is really unique. And I want to spend a minute looking at that.
Slide, U.S. Social Media Activity Monthly Logins, by Platform, in Millions. 2020-2025. Line graphs for each generation from the years 2020 to 2025 in the horizontal axis and 0 to 70 million in the vertical axis. Each line represents a different social media, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter.
So, what you're looking at here is social media usage defined as monthly or more frequent logins, forecasts out to 2025 for these four generations we've been talking about. So, the first thing you might notice is that Facebook, the red line, really a millennial phenomenon. I mean, nearly universal usage among millennials. It is deeply entrenched in their social media footprint.
But let's look at Gen Z. It's a different story. Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram-- these are all video-first or video-heavy platforms. They're platforms that enable them to easily create and co-create content. The few Gen Zs that are on Facebook, if you're curious, they're not there to engage with brands. They're there to keep in touch with family who already happens to be on the platform.
Now honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if this forecast was updated. In 2014, 71% of teens used Facebook. According to Pew Research, only a third of teens today are using it. So this is important. We have to recognize that their platform preferences and behaviors are incredibly different. This is not just millennial lite, millennial junior.
Slide, Car rear-ends another car. Text, Gen Z and Insurance.
So, let's talk briefly about insurance and give you some context there. So given their age, 10 to 25, it's pretty easy to believe that they're not really engaging with the category quite yet. But in a recent study we conducted, we found that 60% of Gen Z drivers have their own insurance policy, and about 75% of those who are on someone else's policy are involved financially to some extent. They've got some skin in the game.
Slide, A bar graph. Text, Purchase Channel (Auto) Self Reported 2021. Gen Z, 44% local agent staff, 24% call center, 30% online. Millennial, 48% local agent staff, 19% call center, 32% online. Gen X, 53% local agent, 20% call center, 25% online. Boomer, 63% local agent staff, 20% call center, 15% online.
So they're a little bit more involved than maybe some of us believed coming into this conversation today.
Now as companies and distribution partners, agents and brokers start to elevate their online presence, diversify distribution models, it gets a little harder to suss out actual purchase channel. This is self-reported data from J.D. Power. And suffice to say, Gen Z reports that they are much more likely to be buying online, and much less likely to be buying through a local agent.
And so, while these numbers may squish and squeeze around a little bit, we wanted to dig into this and understand it a little bit more. So we asked Gen Z-- well, we asked all of them-- why they choose to not work with an insurance agent. Let me show you what they told us.
Slide, Young man wearing headsets and typing on a laptop. Text, Reasons for not working with an agent.
First, I prefer to do it myself. This concept of being self-directed. It's a leading reason. But I find it interesting that it's lower than other generations. Right? So that's interesting. It's not just about being self-directed for Gen Z.
Gen Z 22%. Less than the other groups.
I don't want to pay for an agent. Interesting.
Gen Z 21%, the second-highest group.
Seems like perhaps an addressable misconception I would say. Right up there with it, my situation isn't complex enough.
Gen Z 20%, the lowest group.
OK, maybe. But can't an agent be helpful in less complex situations? Maybe your situation is more complex than you appreciate. So again, a perception that agents are only for the most complex of situations.
Now this next one, this next one is something. 15% of them tell us, I don't know how to find one.
Gen Z 15%, the highest group.
Excuse me, what? This sounds like a very addressable barrier yet again. On the upside here, there's only 4% who say they don't work with an agent because they believe agents only have their interests in mind. So, this is good news. Right?
Gen Z 4%, the lowest group.
And on top of this, right, we've got some addressable barriers. We've got some misconceptions. We've got some low-hanging fruit in terms of being able to find an agent.
We also have this.
Slide, Three young adults sitting on a bench talking. Graph. Text, Agent slash Broker helps me make a better decision than if I shopped on my own. Gen Z 55%, Millennial 59%, Gen X 48%, Boomer 54%.
When they do work with an agent, Gen Z is just as likely to say that it helped them make a better decision than if they shopped on their own as any other generation. So they're having a very satisfying experience when they work with an agent or a broker, just as much as any other generation.
So this is very encouraging. And I would suggest that you take this information as context for any Gen Z customer activation you choose to do. Think about the platforms they're on, think about the roles they believe brands and companies play in society, think about the misconceptions that they have about the category. Work that into your planning and your thought process for how you seek to engage this group of future customers.
Slide, Gen Z as Employee.
And what about them as future employees? Let's talk about that.
Slide, Gen Zer outside of an open office door. Pie charts.
In 2020, Gen Z was 12% of the workforce, 11.7% if you're a stickler for details. And most of that employment was concentrated in retail, food service and hospitality. But very soon they will be one-third of the workforce. And in this case, Gen Z shares a lot of values with millennials, especially younger millennials.
So when we layer millennials into the workforce, you can realize that some of the things we're going to talk about next might feel like as if they're already upon us. If they don't, then they're coming. But by 2030, Gen Z and millennials combined will represent 60% of the workforce in the United States.
So, I'm willing to bet one of the main things that you've read or heard in the media about Gen Z and work, that they want purpose.
Slide, Young man hugging and kissing a tree. Text, Purpose.
They want meaning. They want to work for an employer who mirrors their values. And it's true. But, it does not mean that they all want to go work for Greenpeace or save turtles, or do whatever this guy’s doing.
What purpose really means is this.'
Slide, Two employees give each other a fist bump as they work. Text, Purpose.
They want to do work that matters at their company. They want to know how and why their work is important, how it impacts the company, how it impacts others. It also means that they want to work at companies where the culture, day in and day out, aligns with their values. Things like diversity, equity and inclusion, individual expression and collaboration.
These are ways they feel connected at work, which is another big part of how people find purpose at work. They create connection. So it's very important that we all can kind of wrap our heads around the very nuanced meaning of purpose, because when it comes to employment, purpose is very much about the culture within a company day in and day out. That's what they're seeking as employees.
Slide, Hierarchy of workplace needs.
There's also more tangible things, because purpose can be hard to define, and it's really up to the individual. So there's some tangible things that Gen Z workers are seeking. Now I can guarantee you that salary is routinely at the top of just about any study you're going to look at. They would like to get paid. That is a very important concept.
Recognizing this, we wanted to know what else could drive an employment decision among recent job seekers or active job seekers. So we did a body of work earlier this year. And here's what we found.
Slide, A bar graph in four sections, Current and Future Financial Self, Personal Agency, Company Culture, and Company Values and Reputation.
I highlighted the top 10 here so that you can kind of interpret. There's a lot going on here but let me hit a few highlights for you.
Financial security is incredibly important to this cohort. They were young at the time of the 2008 recession. They have seen the long and lasting impacts of them, they look up to their millennial peers, and they don't see them having a good time. More recently, they hear a lot about inflation and recession. COVID impacted them in an outsized way. 50% of them had somebody in their household, including themselves, a relative or a parent, lose a job during COVID.
So financial security is very important, but the difference here between millennials is Gen Z is very, very concerned about their future financial self. And they are taking very dramatic actions today to set themselves up for success. For their age, this group is pretty financially savvy. They're engaging in things like savings, investing, paying down or avoiding debt at much earlier ages than we're used to seeing. And so that's showing up in their workplace decisions.
They also want personal agency. And these days that looks a lot and sounds a lot like flexibility. Flexibility where I work, how I work, when I work. So they're looking for companies that offer paid time off and have good work-life balance as part of the culture. They're looking for flexibility in the hours, as well. They're also looking at things like creative thinking and innovation. This is a group that is growing up in a world that feels very broken to them, and they would like to try some new things.
Also, training and development is very important to this group. We're noticing a trend outside of just Gen Z in higher education around what we call stackable credentials. right? So their path to education is very varied. It's not necessarily about the four-year degree and right off to work. And as technology rapidly changes, the ability to stay up to date with that is very important for workers as they anticipate their future career.
And then finally rounding out the top 10 is the prioritization of DE&I-- diversity, equity and inclusion. So these are some very tangible things that Gen Z is looking for when it comes to making an employment decision.
The other thing I'll mention very quickly before I share some secrets to attracting and retaining Gen Z is the role of work and the rise of the empowered employee are changing the relationship. In a traditional job interview, it might feel more like, do I, the company, want you to work for me?
And increasingly, Gen Z enters these interview sessions much more like, do I, the Gen Z, want to even work for you? The power dynamic has shifted, and it's important to kind of lean into that now and not fight it and just recognize that the dynamic is changing.
Slide, Secrets to Attract and Retain Gen Z Employees.
So, a few secrets to attract and retain Gen Z employees as they begin to become a bigger and bigger part of the workforce. We're going to get this one out of the way. There's no tactful way to say it. You've got to pay them more than the minimum wage. As I mentioned, salary is at the very top of every list when it comes to what they're looking for in a job.
It's also important to highlight the benefits packages, as well as insurance that you provide. This is a group of individuals who are all currently still eligible for health insurance on their parents’ plan, but they are staring down the barrel of a gun on that one and it won't be for much longer.
You should also spotlight career development opportunities and provide training and mentorship. Gen Z is-- has a really interesting relationship with expertise. They recognize that expertise is something that takes time to build and earn, and they want to honor that in the workplace. Mentorships are a great way to do that.
One of the things that kind of came up in a lot of the work we did when we talked to Gen Z about how they view their career is they let us in on this little, dirty little secret. And it went something like this. Hey, I'm Gen Z, I'm good with the technology, I can learn it, I'm sure it's fine, but how do you, how do you do business? How do you do this? Can I please spend time with the people that know how to do this?
In particular, those who enter the workforce just as the pandemic was starting, they missed out on a lot of that in-office interaction and observation. One of the best ways to transmit information culturally is through observation, and they lost the ability to do that and they recognize it. So providing training and mentorship is a very important and compelling component when they're looking for jobs.
It's also important that you, your leadership team, whomever, leads with their personal values. The lines have blurred, and that authenticity that works at a brand level, it works at an individual level too. They want you to lead with your values. They want to be able to bring their values to the workplace.
And then finally, it is important when they are employees-- you want to promote this when they're prospects-- but honoring boundaries. Honoring boundaries that they set for themselves between work and life is incredibly important for Gen Z. Keeping hours reasonable and offering flexibility whenever and however possible are also going to be key to keeping employees.
So hopefully this gives you a little bit of a sneak into how you might tweak some of the things you're doing from a hiring perspective or a talent development perspective. Maybe take a look at the job postings that you're using and see if you can incorporate some of these concepts and if that gives you a little bit of lift.
Slide, Opportunity Spaces.
So, I'd like to wrap it up with a framework to help you think about everything you've heard today. In my group, we are dealing with topics from the future. And by their very nature, they are nascent, emerging and volatile. They're not solidified. They're not well formed. And so we think broadly in opportunity spaces. And what opportunity spaces are, are spaces that suggest enough of an opportunity or challenge in the future that it's probably worth some discussion and action today. That's what an opportunity space is.
It's not a punch list. It's not a to-do list. It's not a fully vetted idea. It's just a space that has enough activity, and the signals suggest there's something there that we should do something about it. But here's the thing. Not all opportunity spaces require the same response. They're not all created equal.
Slide. Text, Watch Learn Do. Two spectrums along the top that go from low on the left to high on the right. They are called certainty and market impact.
So, we use a very simple framework. We call it Watch Learn Do. It's helpful because, like I said, not all insights and opportunity spaces are created equal, and they don't all require the same response.
So, this framework is set up along a continuum of having low to no impact on the market today, all the way to having high certainty and high impact on the other side. So, on the left-hand side, things that are low on certainty having little to no impact on the market today, we put those in the Watch bucket. These are things that require more time to evolve or unfold. We don't really need to do anything. So what we do here is we create mechanisms to monitor things in this space.
In the middle, this is where things are starting to get a little more clear, a little more certain, maybe they're having some form of impact on the market today. We put those in the Learn bucket. Opportunity spaces here require hands-on, real-life experience, in-market experience, because that experience helps us better understand and prepare the skills, the capabilities, even the partnerships we're going to need to have in the future.
This is where you can make some small bets. Run a few experiments. But the important thing about the Learn bucket-- we're acting today, but it's for the benefit of the future. That's what we're doing in the Learn bucket.
In the Do space, that's where impact is high. Certainty is high. And we need to take immediate action to address an immediate or imminent threat or opportunity. And this is where we're acting today for the benefit of today. That's where these are different.
So, I would encourage you to use this framework to brainstorm the opportunity spaces that are relevant to you. But keep in mind, this is not once and done. Right? Eventually, some of the spaces that you plot on here, they're going to move maybe from Watch to Learn. We're going to decide they've matured enough that now we want to try experimenting with them. Or maybe they move from Learn to Do.
Some of the things are even going to fade out of the framework altogether. They're going to fail to manifest, or we're going to experiment in market, and we're going to find it's not for us. So it's important that you keep this fresh.
And it's also important that if you've designated something as, let's say, a Watch item here, and it fails to manifest, I encourage you to confidently put it out of mind and confidently stop allocating resources to it. But if you never put it in the Watch bucket to begin with, you're always going to have that seed of doubt that maybe it's something.
Slide, Thank you. Let's discuss! Email address, j-h-e-i-d-e-l-b-at-travelers dot-com.
So, I hope what you've heard today, along with this simple Watch Learn Do framework has encouraged you to think about how Gen Z will impact you, your business, and hopefully, you already have some ideas percolating around in your mind. Thank you very much.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Jacqui, that was fantastic. Thank you so much for that amazing, amazing presentation. I think Joan teed up at the beginning, there's just tremendous interest in this topic. We have over 2,000 people on the line joining us today and a ton of questions coming in. So I will just say right off the top that, yes, this presentation is recorded. You can go back and watch it again and pull out all of those details, so you can address that framework that Jacqui just put up to help us all digest all that information and then really make an action plan on what we can do with it.
And, Jacqui, we're going to jump right in here. We're going to answer some audience questions. We're going to do one polling question right off the top to engage our audience. And we really want to see what generation are you from. So let's put the polling question up on screen here just to get a sense for who's on the line and who is tuning in.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: All right.
JESSICA KEARNEY: So, it looks like we have quite a few from Gen X.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah.
JESSICA KEARNEY: 43% about. Another quarter baby boomers and quarter millennials. So really a good mix. And then a decent showing from Gen Z themselves-- 5% of our audience.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yes.
JESSICA KEARNEY: So, with that in mind, just digesting all of that information that you just shared with us and just thinking about this from the business audience perspective, you've given this presentation many times. You've obviously been deep in this research for quite some time. What is the most-- what is the most surprising thing that you get in reaction from audience? Or what is the most impactful thing that you're finding that businesspeople are asking you or taking away from this presentation?
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah, you know, I think a lot of people, it's a great question. I think a lot of people come in thinking that Gen Zs are sort of a millennial junior, millennial lite. And they certainly have a lot in common with millennials, because we all have a lot in common. But they're often surprised to understand the differences in what has kind of shaped them and their pragmatism, their risk-averse nature really tends to surprise a lot of people.
And also, people are eye-opened to the role of the internet in their lives as a given, a utility, and not so much for novelty or for entertainment. I find those to be things that really generate a lot of aha moments for people.
JESSICA KEARNEY: That's great. And so do you think that companies are going to need to fundamentally change the way they hire, retain and develop talent? Are we tweaking around the edges here?
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah, I mean, it's going to vary for every company, right, depending on what space you're in and how you've approached it. But I do think that there are some meaningful changes that organizations can make. I think it's important to think about meeting them where they're at and recognizing that things are changing incredibly quickly. And so, if you think you know, it might have changed. Right? Where they're at can change very quickly.
I think the other thing that we might want to think about is what we feature in a job post, how we position jobs. And it could just be small tweaks, like I mentioned, highlighting certain things that are increasingly important to this group that they're really seeking. I think those are some of the low-hanging fruit that people can consider for themselves. I'm not sure that we need to overhaul the entire system, but I think we need to keep it contemporary.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Great, yeah, that makes a lot of sense and very tangible when thinking about something like a job posting, for instance.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah, yeah.
JESSICA KEARNEY: You mentioned this right at the beginning about just some things to keep in mind, to keep in context, when you're thinking about generations and the study of generations.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah.
JESSICA KEARNEY: I want to just touch on that briefly. What are the limits of studying generations? And how, for example, do we make sure that we're not overgeneralizing?
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah, great question, and it comes up a lot. I'm willing to bet a lot of people in the audience are wondering this themselves. The way we look at generational studies is it's just one way to understand the current and future market that we're facing or will face. Right? And it's important to realize that we actually have a lot more in common with one another than we don't.
But generational studies is one way to approach the market to understand, like I said before at the beginning, we're trying to isolate some of the unique characteristics so that we can ask ourselves, very simply, are we prepared for when this starts to bump into our existing and dominant culture? None of this is meant to be, or a whiplash, quick left without a signal or an indicator that we need to change dramatically.
So it's really also just a way for us to conduct our analysis. The cutoff dates for generations-- there's no exact science to it. Eventually, consensus forms and it's just like if we were to segment the market by any other factor. Number of employees, revenue, income-- we have to make some delineating marks in the data we use.
So I think it's just really important to recognize, one, we have more in common than we don't. But when we're isolating the characteristics that are unique, it can feel like maybe it's a bigger thing than it is. Right? So that's why I think it's really important for everyone to take what they've heard today, match it up against your strategy, map it up against the plans that you have for the future and just ask yourself what might need to change. It doesn't all have to change, I guarantee you. So that's important. And then recognizing that it's really just one of the many ways you need to understand the market should keep you from overindexing on one particular generation.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Great, thank you for asking that. I know we’ve gotten some questions about that as well.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Sure.
JESSICA KEARNEY: I'm going to jump. We only have a few minutes left. I'm going to jump rapid fire audience questions here.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: All right.
JESSICA KEARNEY: George Patterson from Williamson Insurance wants to know about technology for insurance agencies. And as we're thinking about how this generation perceives insurance, engages with insurance, what are those platforms and tools that agencies and brokerages should be thinking about when doing business with Gen Z?
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah, so, a technology expert I am not, I will admit that. But I will tell you what they want the technology to do for them. They, again, go back to those green flags. The hallmarks of a trustworthy brand. Responsiveness-- incredibly important. So you're going to want to look at any technology that is going to allow you to be responsive in whatever format that means.
It doesn't always mean a phone call, but they need to be able to access information. They need to get answers. This is a group that wants to self-educate, demystify and resolve their issues, and the internet is their first go-to. So those types of capabilities are very important.
The other thing I would say is there’s-- it's important to recognize the role of face-to-face communication versus in-person. They're two different things now. And Gen Z really likes face-to-face communication, but it doesn't have to be in person. So if you're lacking on technology or proficiency and skills that allow for that, that's another really easy way that you can start to be more relevant to Gen Z, simply by enabling more face-to-face, like we're having right now.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Great, thank you so much. We have a question coming in from a student, Valentina, wanting to know, as her and her friends are entering the workforce, do you have any suggestions or recommendations for them based off of this-- off of this research?
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah. You know, that's a great question. I think that Gen Z comes in very pragmatic, and I think that's phenomenal. I think that there's opportunities for Gen Z to bring their ideas and their points of view into the established protocol and process, but, depending on the nature of the company you're working at, you might need to have a little patience. Right? These are big ships. They don't always turn corners quickly. But don't give up on those ideas.
I'd also strongly suggest, get yourself a mentor. Find somebody, even if it's informal, find somebody who knows the ins and outs of the business, and that can help you understand how business gets done in that environment. And you may be able to return the favor to them through helping them with some things that you've got unique skills to bring. So, I think, stay on your ideas. They're probably great. And get yourself hooked up with some mentors who can help you navigate the organization.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Awesome, thank you. We have a bunch of questions coming in about how the insurance industry can specifically appeal as employers to this generation. And I know you touched on a bunch of that in the presentation. We have someone who's saying they're going-- they're hosting a career-- presenting at a career fair tomorrow.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: OK.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Just want some pointers on--
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah.
JESSICA KEARNEY: How to, just mentioned that in-person connection, some pointers for engaging with this group and making your pitch.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Awesome. So career fairs, college and university relationships, very important. But let's be honest, not a lot of kids are waking up these days saying, I want to work in the insurance industry. Gen Z is no different. What we're seeing from a degree perspective is a lot of focus on STEM: science, engineering, technology and mathematics.
So if you've got jobs that leverage some of those skills, bring that to the forefront. The other thing that Gen Z finds very appealing-- they have very much a collectivist mentality. Right? They want everybody to have a good time. They want to see things. They've got very much a tide-rises-all-ships mentality. That's like a match made in heaven with the insurance category when you think about it.
Protecting people, protecting communities. So leaning into that and helping them understand that they could work for an industry that has a lot of social good built right into it could be very appealing. So I think I'd make it more about the exciting skills, the collaborative nature, the giving back to the community by way of simply protecting the things that are important to people, rather than necessarily the job itself. So I think that might help some of the work resonate a little bit more with folks at your-- at your job fair tomorrow. Good luck with your presentation too.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Good luck. And actually, just to turn that on its head a little bit. So, we have another comment from a Gen Zer who's watching today and saying that often when he or she sees companies engage with their generation, sometimes it can actually be a turnoff. Like, they're not doing the right things, they're not making that connection. Have you in your research found anything that we shouldn't, as companies or business leaders, be doing and engaging this direction as we're thinking about those green flags, as you put it?
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Yeah. So, for sure. I mean, there are some companies who have done a better job than others. I think one of the best things a company can do is ask the Gen Zs that they're trying to appeal to. Whether that's employees or customers or prospects, ask them. Spend time, understand what's important to them. You've got to be authentic. You can't fake it. Gen Z is all over pride-washing, greenwashing, eco-washing. They can tell. And so it's important to not jump on a fad.
And there's nothing to say that you can't still be true to yourself and be relevant to a younger audience. But I think it's a matter of not assuming you know the best way to do it. And include them. Include them in your decision-making, include them in your strategies, include them in the development of your messaging. Bring them to the table and empower them to weigh in.
JESSICA KEARNEY: Great. Well, Jacqui, we are at the top of the hour. I think so many good takeaways. Be inclusive, celebrate individualism, think about those green flags, earn that trust. Thank you so much for this amazing, amazing presentation. I'll just say it again. We've recorded this, and we will send it out to everybody. Much appreciate your time.
JACQUI HEIDELBERGER: Thank you.
JESSICA KEARNEY: And now I'm just going to take a minute and preview some of the other programs that we have coming up on Wednesdays with Woodward. Just thank you again to everyone for tuning in. We really appreciate it.
Slide, Wednesdays with Woodward, Webinar Series. Text, Register: travelersinstitute dot org. Upcoming Webinars, September 21 - Mental Well-Being in the Workplace. September 28 - Woodward on Washington, An Economic, Public Policy and Political Outlook. October 12 - What's Required? Understanding the New Cybersecurity Laws Impacting U.S. Critical Infrastructure. October 19 - A Conversation with Neel Kashkari, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. October 26 - Under Pressure: Real Estate Market Update with National Association of Realtors (registered trademark) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Asterisk, You can now register for multiple events at once through our new registration page.
Next week on September 21, we'll be looking at mental well-being in the workplace with a look at how businesses can help employees build resilience and manage through challenging times. On September 28, Joan is going to come back, and she'll share her annual economic public policy and political outlook. She'll preview her what's coming ahead for the midterm elections, and she'll help us all take stock of the latest economic indicators and trends.
Then October ushers in Cybersecurity Awareness Month. On the 12th, we'll be looking at new cybersecurity laws impacting how organizations report cyber incidents. And I'll also mention that we are going to be coming live in person for cyber programs in October. We'll be in St. Paul, Minnesota, on October 4, and then we'll be in LA on October 13. So if you're in either of those cities, head over to our website, we'd love to have you join us.
And then finally on the webinars, we'll round out October with some power hitters on the economy. Neel Kashkari, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, will join us to talk about the Fed and the state of the economy, followed by the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on the state of the residential and commercial real estate markets. Those should be two really great programs.
We know you have lots of ways that you can spend your time and your afternoon, so thank you for choosing to spend it with us. We're so grateful for your engagement. Jacqui, thank you again for that really eye-opening and very practical conversation. That's a wrap for today. Thanks for joining and have a great afternoon.
Logo, Travelers Institute (registered mark). Travelers with the red umbrella logo. travelersinstitute dot org.
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