Business Bits: Welcoming a New Generation into the Workplace

Born after 1996, our newest generation is on the workforce horizon:  Generation Z.  Also called GenZ, iGen, and the Cloud Generation, these post-millennials were the first to conduct childhood friendships on portable devices, a skill that has come in handy during COVID-19.  They’ve mastered the art of achieving an entire conversation with images (emojis).  Independent, pragmatic, stubborn, and always in a rush, Generation Z will bring a new challenge to corporations.   That’s if they arrive as workers on the corporate scene at all.  Most reports say over 75 percent of GenZ-ers want to start their own company and not work for others.  If they do arrive on the corporate scene, how will they want to be trained and supported at work?

Members of our up and coming workforce, whose oldest are about 24 right now, are the ultimate “self-educators”.  They simply learn how to do things via YouTube videos.  Want to know how to fire someone?  Want to understand the differences between management and leadership?  Need to change your tire?  YouTube is their go-to source.  Smart companies have already begun migrating their training “manuals” to video clips, easily accessible from anywhere.

This group also takes in information almost instantaneously and is experts at multitasking in a way prior generations are not.  After all, they are our first 5-screen generation (smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet, TV).  They are streamers, not cable watchers.  Those new training videos?  They fit the “on-demand” preference of Generation Z.  Furthermore, they are thrifty. Having grown up the product of Generation X parents in the shadow of the Great Recession, training programs will have to be economical to resonate with them.  They are more likely to request to attend a virtual conference than to take time to fly to a traditional industry conference (not an option right now, anyway!).  They’ll expect virtual and augmented reality training as well.

Note too that they barely use email, so other means of communication will have to be utilized.  For instance, imagine a manufacturing company transitioning to Snapchat to send video clips of real-time issues they are facing on the line to their supervisor or an industry expert.

While we don’t yet know the enormity of what is on the horizon with these newcomers to the workforce, one thing is for sure – corporate training and support are not going to look like it used to back in the trade school days. Let’s hope we can all keep up with Generation Z!

Business Bits is brought to you by Lesa Hanlin, Manager, NOVA Workforce Business and Executive Programs.  Want to learn more about the various generations in the workforce?  Visit our upcoming November course listing for Understanding and Leading Multiple Generations in the Workplace

For a free DiscovFREE short webinar on Generations and Conflict offered in October, visit Why do they do that?  Exploring Generational Conflict in the Workplace