Stay Hip, My Friends

by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

I’ll admit it – I have a few more gray hairs than I used to, and I don’t have TikTok on my phone. I don’t understand the “mom jean” trend, and I find it irritating that teenagers with YouTube channels make more money in a year than I will make in a decade. It’s possible that I am no longer cool.

However, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t keep up with what’s changing in the world. I work in a global economy – and the majority of the workers in that economy are younger than me. How do I work with them? How do I communicate with them? How do I keep them as employees? These books may not have all the answers, but they’re a start.

Zconomy: How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business – and What to Do About It
Authors: Jason R. Dorsey and Denise Villa
Released: Sept. 22, 2020

Gen Z changes everything. Today’s businesses are not built to sell and market the way Gen Z shops and buys, or to recruit and employ Gen Z the way they find and keep jobs. Leaders need answers now as Gen Z is the fastest growing generation of employees and the most important group of consumer trendsetters. The companies that quickly and comprehensively adapt to Gen Z thinking will be the winners for the next twenty years. Those that don’t will be the losers or become extinct. Zconomy is the comprehensive survival guide on how leaders must understand and embrace Generation Z. 

Researched and written by Dr. Denise Villa and Jason Dorsey from The Center for Generational Kinetics, the insights in Zconomy are based on their extensive research, they’ve led more than 60 generational studies, and their work with more than 500 companies around the world. In Zconomy, Dr. Villa and Dorsey answer: Who is Gen Z? What do employers, marketers and sales leaders need to know? And, most importantly, what should leaders do now?

This is the critical moment for leaders to understand and adapt to Gen Z or become irrelevant. Gen Z is already reshaping the world of business and this change is only going to accelerate. Zconomy is the definitive manual that will prepare any executive, manager, entrepreneur, HR or marketing professional to successfully unlock the powerful potential of this emerging generation at this pivotal time.

Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You): A How-to Guide from the First Family of Podcasting
Authors: Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy and Griffin McElroy
Released: Jan. 26, 2021

From the #1 New York Times bestselling McElroy Brothers, creators of the hit podcasts My Brother, My Brother and Me and The Adventure Zone, comes a helpful and hilarious how-to podcast guide covering everything you need to know to make, produce, edit, and promote a podcast…and get rich* doing it! (*Results not guaranteed.) From their start, independently producing and releasing the early episodes of My Brother, My Brother and Me, to their eleven currently available podcasts, the McElroys have become experts in creating successful podcasts. And now, they want to share what they’ve learned with you.

In Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You), the McElroy Brothers will walk you through the process of turning an idea into ear-candy for legions of fans, sharing their expertise on everything from deciding on an effective name (definitely not something like My Brother, My Brother and Me), what type of microphone to use (definitely not one from the video game Rock Band), to making lots and lots of money (spoiler: you probably won’t).

A must-read for anyone interested in podcasting, Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You) shares the keys to success as well as the mistakes to avoid and draws on the vast experiences of three of the funniest and most successful podcasters working today.

Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at Work
Authors: Sue Unerman, Kathryn Jacob and Mark Edwards
Released: Oct. 27, 2020

One in four US workers feels they do not belong at work. Structural racism, the patriarchy of the boardroom and pay disparities are just a few of the obstacles in our workplaces that systematically alienate and repress employees of color, women, LGBTQ workers and employees with disabilities, but the statistics are clear: companies with diverse management teams report 19 percent higher revenues and are far more likely to perform above their industry medians. Diversity in business is good for everyone – so why do women and minorities make up only 34% of boards of Fortune 500 companies? Following interviews at over 200 international businesses about the irrefutable business case for diversity at work, the book sets out to understand why more men aren’t engaged with D&I initiatives in organizations. The lessons in this book will help us work together to build a better workplace where everyone feels they belong.

Sticking Points: How to Get 5 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places
They Come Apart
Author: Haydn Shaw
Released: Oct. 6, 2020

This is the first time in American history that we have five different generations working side-by-side in the workplace: the Traditionalists (born before 1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Gen X (born between 1965-1980), Millennials (born 1981-2001) and Gen Z (born 1996-present). Haydn Shaw, popular business speaker and generational expert, has identified 12 places where the 5 generations typically come apart in the workplace (and in life as well). These sticking points revolve around differing attitudes toward managing one’s own time, texting, social media, organizational structure, and of course, clothing preferences.