As soon as the workforce has finally adapted to its latest Millennial members, it is already time to readjust for the latest new wave of workers: Generation Z. Who are these new additions? Generation Z is defined as those individuals born after 1996, who are typically the children of Generation X. The oldest members of this generation are between 18-25 years old, many of whom are now entering the workforce. To understand a bit more about them, let us look at a few of their notable characteristics.

  1. They tend to be well-educated. According to research, they are much more likely to continue through high school and even attend college than previous generations. This may be a result of their parent’s educational background, which has trended upward through each new generation. Those that enroll in higher education tend to choose majors that will teach them marketable skills, rather than just drift undecided through the college experience. Thus, their pace of learning is comparatively higher than the previous generation. Their cognitive ability is also higher.
  2. They value family and societal change. Much like their Millennial counterparts, they are far more accepting of same-sex marriages, interracial marriages, and single-parent families than previous generations. They also tend to be more progressive in general, regarding their social and political views. This means that their awareness of issues around them, and globally, is higher than the previous generation.
  3. Money, stability, and career advancement are important to them. While their predecessors valued flexibility in employment, Generation Z is more focused on certainty and stability. They would be less likely to leave a job if they did not feel appreciated, looking at long-term goals instead. On average, they are more conservative and pragmatic about money than Millennials and have already seen what a disaster like a pandemic can do to the world around them, making them much more concerned about preparedness. This means that they are willing to get trained on the job for learning new things relevant to their jobs. This is important for your training plans.
  4. They have almost no memory of life before smartphones. On average, they received their first mobile phone at around age 10. Before this, many even grew up playing games on their parent’s mobile devices. Since they have grown up in a world of connectivity, the smartphone tends to be their preferred method of communication. They even experience a level of anxiety when being separated from their smartphones for a short time. Their comfort level with digital technologies is extremely high and that is where they love to learn too. Plan for this when you plan your learning strategy.
  5. They have grown up with the internet since day one. Generation Z is truly the first generation of “digital natives”. The idea of hardcover books and encyclopedias is completely foreign to them. “Google” has become a household verb. They are comfortable seeking information on their own and are typically adept at multitasking across several platforms. They also value video, being raised on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and now TikTok. So, avoid spoon-feeding and let them venture and explore the boundaries of the topic; just give them the right framework. Also, they have very little patience, when it comes to searching for answers.

Think hard and evaluate if your learning strategy incorporates a strategy for these digital natives? Resources that are easy to find, provide answers in seconds, and are always available in the moment of need? If not, you may want to think about a performance support tool like Speki. As with all generations, this one certainly has its share of challenges, but with their comfort level using technology, and having already survived a worldwide disaster, they may be one of the best equipped to handle those challenges.