Learning & Development

Are L&D and HR Professionals Ready for Gen Z?

There has been a lot of coverage in recent years as Millennials have entered and moved up the ranks in the workforce. As contrasted with Baby Boomers and Generation X, Millennials are often described as being more tech-savvy and valuing greater work/life balance than their predecessors.

gen z

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And, just as many observers feel they’ve started to wrap their heads around what makes Millennials tick, Generation Z—often defined as those born between the mid-1990s to mid-2000s—has started graduating college and entering the workforce.
Each generation is different from the next in varying ways, often driven by societal and technological impacts affecting their lives. With Millennials and Gen Z representing the largest segment of the workforce today, it’s important to understand what drives and motivates them.
In an effort to better understand what motivates and interests Gen Z and how that meshes with the understandings of learning and development (L&D) and HR professionals, LinkedIn recently conducted a survey of members of both groups. Here we take a look at some of its findings.

Both Groups Believe Skills Needed to Succeed are Changing Rapidly

According to LinkedIn’s research, 76% of Gen Z professionals and 91% of L&D leaders feel that the skills necessary in today’s workforce are different from the skills necessary in past generations. That’s certainly logical given the massive impact of technology and a global economy.

L&D Professionals Underestimate Certain Motivations for Learning

Nearly half (46%) of Gen Z respondents said they would learn professional skills in order to earn a promotion; however, only 28% of L&D professionals said they thought a promotion would motivate Gen Z to learn.
That’s a significant gap that should give L&D leaders pause as they consider the role that promotions—and the training required to help position employees for those promotions—play in the workplace.

L&D Leaders Fail to Provide Independent Learning

While almost half of Gen Z respondents said they prefer a fully self-directed and independent approach to learning, only 20% of L&D and HR leaders said that they had plans to provide this kind of independent learning to Gen Z learners. Again, that’s a gap that L&D leaders should be seeking to address.
Millennials aren’t leaving the workplace anytime soon, so it’s certainly not time to forget about them. But with Gen Z hot on their heels, it’s crucial for L&D and HR professionals to get a grip on how to train, motivate, and retain this new cohort of workers.

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