Here Comes Gen Z

Since I wrote the book “Engaging Your Millennials” in 2010 there have been many more books written about the “difficult” millennials.  They continue to be misunderstood but contrary to popular opinion most of the ones I have met are diligent and successful although they have all clung to their philosophy of work life balance.

Many in the learning industry are publishing new ideas and strategies for training millennials and getting them into the new business environment.

However, what about Generation Z, they are now the ones looking into the future.  In America GenZ will account for 20% of working adults by the year 2020.  GenZ are individuals born from 1995 to 2010.  These people have been involved with social media, internet and screens in general since birth, and are now emerging as the next big challenge for business organisations, big or small. Attracting and training this onslaught of talent is going to be one of the major challenges companies will face in the near future.    This means employers should be adapting their workplace to suit the new psyche.  It will require a balance between Generation X, Y and Z!

Here are some myths that need to be busted:

Myth 1: They Are No Different

  • GenZ is definitely different!  This generation has grown up with technology; for them it is unacceptable to be without devices.  They are citizens of the internet.  Many spend three or more hours a day on a screen with non-work activities.  GenZ is the mobile generation.  Training needs to be oriented to their preferences of devices and even time.  These young people will be looking for flexibility.  Just-in-time, on-the-go learning they can capture on their mobiles are more relevant to this generation than ever before.

 

Myth 2: They Are Still Young

  • Young in age is not young in mind.  Because their exposure to the world through internet GenZ is turning out to be more mature and forward looking.  Many will be wanting to get into their own businesses as early as possible.  Universities are noticing a drop in academic enrolments and Institutes of Technology are being engaged.

 

Myth 3:  Like the Millennials they are Slow and Lazy

  • This is a passed down myth!  On the contrary according to a USA based survey, 90% of GenZ prefer a dynamic and fast-working environment.
  • They have grown up in the age of a high speed internet, if anything doesn’t run fast they seem to have a problem with that.
  • They are multi-taskers with skills to be resourceful and know where to find the right information.
  •  The question we must answer is how can you customise content and design to appeal to the fast-flowing vein of this generation.

 

Myth 4: They Don’t Care

  • Quite the reverse!  Though they are self-learners, many are already concerned with getting a job.  They will search for good mentors to help them sharpen their skills.  They have a lot of reason to worry about their future.  They live in a competitive age.

 

 What Should We Be Doing?

“Each generation will reap what the former generation has sown”, a quote often made by my mother when she talked about the “sorry state” of the world at that time.  It is time to be re-thinking our approach to training strategies for creating the next generation workforce that is adaptive to their learning style.  Even our recruiting strategies should be revised rather than expect GenZ to conform to the old styles.

To mis-quote Mr Spock from Star Wars, “It won’t be training as we know it, Jim!”

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