The makeup of the workforce is changing. Gen Z, those born between 1995 to 2010, will make up 20% of the workforce in 2020. According to McKinsey, they are “true digital natives: from earliest youth, they have been exposed to the internet, to social networks, and to mobile systems.” Check out how L&D leaders at Culture Amp and other Silicon Valley startups are training their Gen Z workforce to be leaders of tomorrow.
Given their lifelong immersion in the digital world, it’s not surprising that this generation is comprised of self-learners more comfortable absorbing information online than in traditional styles of learning.
The top skills to help Gen Z employees succeed on the job
Despite the fact that they’ve grown up in a digitally connected world, the majority of Gen Z employees actually prefer to communicate at work via face-to-face conversations according to the research by Robert Half cited earlier. This cohort thrives on genuine relationships with authority figures, so managers should prioritize communicating in an authentic way with their youngest employees.
2. Fostering diversity & inclusion
According to Deloitte’s research, Gen Z is the most diverse generation in the nation’s history. The report explains that “Diversity matters to them through many dimensions, not just isolated to race and gender, but also related to identity and orientation.” Additionally, Deloitte finds that inclusion and diversity are critical factors Gen Z considers when considering a job offer.
Consider how you can promote diversity and inclusion to your candidates and employees. Is your interview panel comprised of people from different backgrounds? How does your company foster inclusion among employees?
3. Coaching & mentoring
Mentoring ability is the second most popular trait Gen Z employees value in leaders, according to Robert Half’s research. While Gen Z employees are independent and have entrepreneurial inclinations, they still appreciate having support to guide them along the way.
When it comes to professional development, Deloitte finds that “Gen Z’s preferred career development is to have diverse and entrepreneurial opportunities with the safety of stable employment, and they may offer more loyalty to companies that can offer this.”
4. Career exploration
The beginning of a career is a time for exploring their options and discovering their strengths and interests. Future career paths will be defined by constant reskilling and movement into new kinds of roles, so instead of job-hopping to new companies, employees will be “role-hopping” within their company. According to the 2019 Global Millennial Survey from Deloitte, 25% of Gen Z believe employers should be responsible for preparing workers for technological changes.
This means employers have two big responsibilities to their youngest employees: to help them explore career opportunities and to help them ensure their skills are up to date so they can adapt to technological developments.
5. Business writing
Gen Z employees have grown up writing texts and social media posts, but they may not be familiar with the conventions of writing in a business setting. Abbreviations, emoji, and a lack of punctuation may be commonplace in social media, but they can come across as unprofessional in workplace communications. For example, Udemy’s 2019 Workplace Boundaries Report found that 37% of employees believe their coworkers are too informal on chat and messaging.
Employers may find that offering training on written business communication will help employees adapt their writing style to the work environment.
6. Focus & productivity
Gen Z employees have grown up with the internet and social media — the answers to questions are just a quick search away and their phones are constantly available as sources of information, entertainment, and companionship. But phones are also a source of distraction. The Udemy 2018 Workplace Distraction Report found that 69% of younger workers say checking their personal device interferes with their concentration.
Employers have an opportunity to help these new workers by providing training in how to limit distractions and improve productivity. In fact, the Udemy Workplace Distraction Report found that 70% of employees believe that training can help people learn to block out distractions and become more productive.
The workforce is already transforming with the influx of Gen Z employees. By understanding their unique needs, you can help prepare your managers for the new generation and create a company where Gen Z employees can thrive. Register for this Udemy webinar to hear how Culture Amp and other Silicon Valley companies are addressing the training needs of Gen Z.