In the next year, companies will begin to focus their attention on recruiting the next generation after Millennials: Generation Z.
Generation Z, sometimes referred to as the “iGeneration” or “iGen” because of its familiarity with devices like iPads, is typically pegged as having been born between 1996 and 2016.
There are over 20 million Gen Zers in the United States. Recent research by Millennial Branding and Randstad compared Generation Z in the workplace to Gen Y (Millennials) and found some substantial differences between the two.
Below we’ll look at the numbers from that and other studies and use them to inform key actions you can take to be better prepared when it comes time to start training the “iGen” at your organization.
What is the General Opinion of Gen Z When it Comes to Work?
Gen Z is more likely to want their managers to listen to them and value their ideas than even Millennials were, and they strongly believe the places they work should emphasize the merits of ideas rather than the tenure of contributors. As an eLearning professional, this should be right up your alley.
Additionally, according to another recent study, this time by Northeastern University, Gen Z highly values face to face communication over any social interaction that takes place over tech like social media. This somewhat counterintuitive result also holds for Millennials, and shows that, despite the constant connectedness of the iGen digital natives, soft skills and interpersonal relationships are still crucial to getting good training outcomes.
63% of Generation Z say they want entrepreneurship courses in college, and fully 42% want to start a business sometime in their lifetimes. These are people you will need on your team, so you need to be thinking about how you might integrate that attitude into your process.
Can You Expect a Long Term Commitment From This Generation?
One big concern you should be addressing now about Generation Z is just how likely they are to job-hop. Gen Z expects to work at four different jobs over their lifetimes, very similar to the notoriously fickle Gen Y’s five. Having to replace recent hires is expensive—it can cost between $20,000 and $30,000 or more to replace employees—so employee retention will be crucial with Gen Z.
Luckily, there are things you can start doing now to ensure you keep those high-value new workers, especially as regards your training.
How Can You Attract and Keep the Next Generation of Employees?
You’re going to need to conduct your training quite a bit differently than what you’re used to for these Gen Z youngsters. Here are some starting tips to optimize retention and keep your business thriving once they enter the workforce:
- Learn as much as you can about this generation of employees (you’re already on the right track reading this). You need to know as much as you can to ensure your goals are met. Read books on the topic, find studies and articles that mention Generation Z, and, most importantly, watch how these kids act and ask them questions to find out what they are like (remember, they like managers who value their opinions, so show interest by asking about their ideas).
- Keep workplace freedom at the forefront of your mind. From the existing studies on Gen Z, it sounds like freedom is one of their core values. What administrative changes can you implement to ensure that you’re feeding this value? Maybe you could start letting your staff help out a little more with training course structure, or build training to allow more asynchronous, “train whenever/wherever” functionality.
- Make use of technology in the workplace. These guys were raised with iPads and smartphones, so you should learn how to leverage these technologies in the office, wherever possible. For training, ensure you give them access to top-of-the line learning management systems filled with courses for onboarding and professional development.
- Start preparing Millennials to train them. That’s right – Millennials – those alien humans that you just got used to (kidding). The Millennials are closest in culture to Generation Z, so they are the best equipped to communicate with them. Additionally, the mentor-like relationship this can help foster plays right into Gen Z’s desire for better face to face communication. Make sure you start now on giving your Millennial employees management and training skills.
- Facilitate career development & training. The iGeneration are saying they want to learn entrepreneurship, so make it feel like they’re entrepreneurs by catering to their hunger for innovation and self-improvement. Offer lots of options for taking online professional development courses, or attending conferences and training in your niche. Let them feel like they’re moving forward, and they will help you move forward.
Ensure that you’re ahead of the wave. Don’t let these forecasted high turnover rates affect your eLearning projects. Today is the day to start doing the gruntwork to be ready when Generation Z begins to enter your establishment.
Any other thoughts or tips for dealing with the new generation? Add them in the comments below!