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How to Get Gen Z Engaged in Your Learning & Development Program

professional skills

If you're a human resources professional, check out this blog post for specific suggestions on how to prepare your company's learning and development program to engage Generation Z.

Here Comes Gen Z!

Generation Z is entering the workplace - if that statement makes you nervous, you're not alone. According to British employee advisors, Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), 7 out of 10 leaders are concerned about how Gen Z will fit into the workplace. But nervous leaders won't stop the tide of change, as the eldest Gen Zers are approaching 21 years old and entering the workforce by the millions. According to the website Chief Learning Officer, approximately 60 million more Gen Zers will join the working world over the next two decades.

Digital natives Generation Z are entering the workplace

Characteristics & Population

In order to prepare for employing, training, and engaging Gen Z, we must first understand who they are. Generation Z includes those who were born after 1995. They currently comprise a fourth of the world's population.

Though it might be easy to mix Gen Z up with Millenials, Generation Z is unique, being our first truly digital natives. This is a generation of people who have never known a world without the Internet or social media. According to Gen Z expert Ryan Jenkins, 40 percent of Generation Z would rather have working Wi-Fi than working bathrooms.

Learning Approaches

Like Millennials, Generation Zers value learning more than the generations who came before them. However, they experience learning differently. Having grown up with on-demand learning at their fingertips through websites like YouTube and wikiHow, Gen Zers are no strangers when it comes to teaching themselves new things. Here are our suggestions for how to work with Generation Z's unique attributes to engage them in learning and development in the workplace.

Mobile Apps & Devices

According to Training Industry, members of Generation Z spend the majority of their online time on mobile devices - more than four hours a day on average. Digital analyst Brian Solis refers to Gen Z as ''mobile first and mobile only.'' For this reason, if you want to engage Generation Z, it's important that your learning and development programs are available for mobile devices.

Generation Z prefers to learn on mobile devices

On-Demand Learning Options

Generation Z, who grew up being able to Google the answers to any questions that pop into their heads, expects learning to be available on-demand. According to Forbes, ''organizations must offer innovative solutions to appease (Generation Z's) appetite for on-demand learning.''

Social Forums

While Gen-Z is autonomous, independent, and used to self-study, they also embrace social learning environments and operate in a highly social digital world. Chief Learning Officer suggests posting content on social media platforms, while the e-learning company Shift points to online course forums and group discussions as important outlets for Gen Zers that accommodate their habit of freely discussing opinions online.

Videos

The media company Awesomeness reports that Generation Z watches an average of 68 videos per day. They are largely visually oriented and accustomed to learning by following along with a video. To engage Gen Z, educational content that fits in with what they're already used to consuming will be particularly helpful. The Center for Generational Kinetics founder, Denise Villa, refers to ''short, YouTube-like instructional videos'' as especially effective.

Generation Z likes to learn through videos

Bite-Sized Units

As we're sure you can imagine, the nearly 70 videos that the average Gen Zer watches per day aren't very lengthy. There's just not enough time in the day. Rather, Generation Z is used to what Shift refers to as ''snack media'' habits. Forbes cites 2-15 minute ''mini-bursts'' as the ideal length for small learning units that will keep Gen Z's attention.

Easy-to-Use Hardware and Software Options

According to Chief Learning Officer, Generation Z expects technology to be a natural part of learning and work. For example, it should be intuitive and easy to use. Outdated software or difficult-to-use hardware will be a point of frustration for Generation Z. So be sure to update your learning and development program to a platform free from bugs and inconveniences.

Ready for the Future

Incorporating these suggestions into the learning and development program at your company should prepare you for success during the coming influx of Generation Z candidates and employees.

If you're searching for an online learning platform that will meets Gen Z's learning needs, consider Study.com's Enterprise Solutions.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
November 2018
professional skills engagement & retention

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