Work will never be the same again.
As the new generation of graduates prepares to enter the minefield known as the professional world, the management can also expect a shift in work culture, attitudes toward work-life balance, and on-the-job learning.
The incoming Gen Z (born between 1996 and 2010) workforce is expected to bless organizations with a good deal of technical know-how and a genuine thirst for upskilling.
However, they also bring their own set of challenges.
According to a 2019 research conducted by the Haas School of Business (University of California Berkeley) graduates in the post-millennial generations will be entering the workforce with considerably less amount of work experience than the preceding generations.
Roughly one in five 15-17-year-olds in 2018 (19%) report having worked at all during the prior calendar year, compared with the 30% of 15-18-year-old millennials in 2002.
Many of the Gen Z graduates have grown up in relatively more affluent households where they didn’t need to financially contribute. This has led to less work experience overall.
Proper training is needed to bridge the knowledge gaps caused by the arrival of newer, less experienced hires.
As per a Forbes survey, we can expect about 61 million Gen Z youth to enter the workforce in the coming years. So the management needs to buck up and meet the learning needs of the young, dynamic hires so that the next generation of leaders and rock star performers can create new milestones for the company.
Gen Z Are Eager To Learn But Have Limited Attention Span….
The good news is that the Gen Z youth consider training/upskilling opportunities as an important criterion when applying for jobs. According to a LinkedIn report, 76% of Gen Z professionals feel that the skills required to survive and thrive in today’s workforce are different from the skills necessary in the past generation. Moreover, about 59% of the Gen Z feel their current job might not exist in the coming years and are therefore keen to keep themselves relevant by upgrading their skills.
The L&D instructor may well get an audience that’s more in-tuned to their learning needs and more involved in the process of training. But that alone isn’t a guarantee of a great learning outcome. Gen Z youth are undoubtedly more aware of the need for an active learning culture. However, they are also the bonafide digital nomads, well versed in technology. Training that incorporates outdated software may bore them to death. Patience is by and large not a Gen Z virtue as they have been reported to have a shockingly small attention span of 8 seconds.
What does this mean for training your Gen Z workforce?
You have to keep the learning process technically advanced and as engaging as possible. Here’s how.
Use More Videos
The Gen Z youth would prefer to watch a video on YouTube if they want to learn something new, rather than opening a book. So time to say goodbye to static slides and endless lectures. As per a 2018 survey led by Pearson, Gen Z spent approximately 66% of their time online, especially on video-sharing websites like Instagram and Snapchat. Moreover, 59% of Gen Z consider YouTube videos as their primary learning sources. They also watch about 68 videos per day. So Gen Z employee training has to be visual-centric if you want an effective training outcome.
- Ensure that your learning resources include searchable videos
- Keep the instructional videos to the point. Don’t beat around the bush.
- Include attractive animation and arresting imagery
- Consider making professionally produced videos. They look more sophisticated and may appeal more to the tech-crazy generation.
Make Learning Experiences Hands-On & Inclusive
As per the research conducted by Haas Business School, Gen Z employees consider learning programs as events not just to enhance their knowledge but also to ensure psychological well-being. Collaborative/immersive training can generate better engagement results than the traditional instructor-led classes for such employees. Here are a few ways you can make training sessions more immersive.
- Live simulations
- AR/VR Augmented Reality
Make Learning Bite-Sized
As we have mentioned earlier, Gen Z has one of the lowest average attention spans -8 seconds. Most of it is spent on various social media, browsing lightning-fast videos. Many employees below 30 might not have the patience to go through long pdfs/files or watch a long 20-minute video from the beginning to the end.
In these cases, micro-learning modules might be just what the doctor recommended. One main benefit of microlearning is that it can be watched easily from mobile devices, anywhere, anytime. This gives employees the desired flexibility while learning.
Make Training Mobile Friendly
Did you know that more than 55% of Gen Z use their smartphone for more than 5 hours per day? If you want a training program that resonates with the below 30 crowds, bring it to where they are – on the mobile. However, you have to ensure that the user journey and experience are seamless. A slow-loading training program or other issues like endless scrolling may prove to be a death knell for your training. A recent survey conducted by IBM found that 62% of Gen Z will steer clear of apps /website that is too slow. To ensure a great user experience and a greater level of engagement, we suggest :
- Keep training content short and precise.
- Ensure that the information is up-to-date and hyper-relevant
- Keep navigation simple
- Make content interactive by integrating it with social media.
Make Way for Personalized, Self-Paced Learning
Gen Z tends to learn best if they are given the autonomy to learn at their own pace. Although some amount of compulsory training can’t be avoided, make sure to offer some optional courses which employees can choose according to their individual career paths.
Most employees below 30 won’t want to invest their time learning something they deem as ‘irrelevant’ to their job role. To boost audience engagement you can leverage AI software to detect which skills an individual employee needs to master. This way your workers won’t have to waste time and effort on something they already know. You can also utilize an LMS to identify skill/knowledge gaps so that a hyper-specific and relevant training program can be initiated.
Don’t Forget The Human Touch!
Gen Z may primarily be netizens but they have not forgotten the significance of face-to-face communications at work! According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, it is important for younger employees to feel connected and supported during work and learning, even if the job is primarily remote. Here are some ways you can make training sessions more collaborative:
- Incorporate role-playing activities
- Come up with team-based challenges
- Use open-chats.