How Is Generation-Z Going to Fit In at Work?

Generation Z (Gen-Z) is the first group that grew up in a tech-enabled and information-driven world. Although they weren’t all so fortunate enough to miss the horrific dial-up modem years, they were still captivated and in some cases ‘raised’ by the internet.

It’s an everyday tool for them, in which they boast extreme dexterity in “everything online.” With technology becoming cheaper, it’s estimated that 90% of Generation-Z own a mobile phone (which is the highest percentage in all age categories). With greater access to information than any other generation before them, it’s created a few problems (and benefits) for businesses. If this is something you haven’t thought about, well consider this; Gen-Z is turning 19 this year and are ready for work.

This generation is more inexperienced than their predecessors and in some cases, are harder to teach. If it’s “googleable” then why bother learning it? In addition, their attention spans have been decreasing – thanks to mobile phone use. It creates a disaster when trying to organize training for Gen-Z.

Training Generation Z

Software program People HR recommends a strategy for tackling this (though it goes against the grain.) Employers typically plan learning and development (L&D) programs around PowerPoint presentations.Now we can all agree that PowerPoint is one of the worst ways to learn, however, most of us still use it.

According to a blog post from People HR ,training program should be focused 50% on experience, 38% watching, and 12% listening. In their ideal L&D program, Gen-Z would spend most of their time working through booklets or experiencing the job first hand, and there would be little to no lectures. It appears (but it’s not confirmed) that this may be due to a dwindling attention span and a move towards a more active learning style.

The Benefits of Employing Generation Z

Now the above section may have seemed a little harsh on this age group. It may have appeared that they’re ill-equipped for the workforce, but this is not the case. With the move away from perpetual licenses to SAAS programs hosted online (cloud based hr software). It fits right into the capable palms of gen – z.

With the likes of Sam Paschel CEO of Skullcandy stating that “Gen-Z relates to technology as a tool, as opposed to an obsession” and Cheryl Rosner CEO of Stayful “Gen-Z are very comfortable doing their own research and finding things out for themselves.”  It gives the impression of a savvy age group that relates well to fast moving technology. So could it be that this generation could be left alone to figure out your business critical software without long and expensive training sessions?

Winners and Losers in Life

Lastly, Gen-Z is seen as ‘more competitive’ than their predecessors, with Jonah, the author of ‘[email protected],’ finding that this generation is in “survival mode” and believe they will have to fight for what they want in life. In contrast to millennials who feel “entitled” to a job, Gen-Z’s attitude is more appreciative and thankful.

Jonah goes on to note: “Millennials are the most collaborative generation, launching applications like Facebook and sharing everything with everybody”, but Gen-Z is completely different: They are a very independent and competitive generation, having been taught by our parents that there are definitely winners and losers at life. Millennials, on the other hand, were told that if you work together, everybody can be a winner.”

So in summary, Gen-Z may have a few “hiccups” in terms of lack of experience and training difficulties. However, if you accommodate them, you have a powerful, competitive workforce that just wants to be left alone and ‘get on with it’.

Needless to say, a business that doesn’t keep up with the ever growing changes of its environment (and in this case workforce) is not a growing business, but one that risks stagnating and alienating its staff.