Over 61 million young workers are flooding the labor force. Born after 1996, this newest group, called Generation Z, are rolling up their sleeves and want to make a difference for their employers. In return, they expect more than a paycheck. They want employers to provide training programs that will help them grow and develop professional skills. But not just any training will do. Gen Zers want training that captures their attention and fits their needs. Here are seven tips to create the training Generation Z employees want.
1. Be relevant – Generation Z employees see their college degree as just one step on their educational journey. They have a learning mindset. Many spend hours each week watching educational YouTube videos to develop expertise in different areas. Research shows that 44% of Generation Z employees believes their on-the-job training is valuable, and 88% say they expect employers to provide formal training. So don’t disappoint young employees. Provide the training and learning experiences they desire.
2. Go digital – Generation Z employees have grown up in a digital world. They have not known life without the internet. They have used social media extensively, where information sharing is fast-paced and constantly changing. Traditional education methods are boring (think meeting room with PowerPoint slides shown on a large screen).
Small businesses can create interesting learning experiences Gen Zers want. Start by finding an online training software that will support your business goals and training needs. Make sure it features a flexible design, so it’s easy to set up the training modules. It also needs to provide the employees with 24-hour digital access to training so Generation Z employees can use any mobile device to watch modules at any time.
3. Keep it short – When creating training modules, it’s tempting to combine a lot of information in each topic. But don’t. Gen Z employees prefer short and simple training programs on one specific topic vs. longer modules with lots of details. So focus on designing bite-sized training modules, called microlearning, to capture employees’ attention. Remember, Gen Zers are used to getting information quickly on social media. They expect the same from their online training modules.
4. Be real – Generation Z employees are good at spotting content that is cheesy or photos that look staged. Write out your copy points, so you know what you want to cover. Then take time to edit the wording to ensure it is concise and that you’re using words that fit Gen Zers. Remember, they think in digital bites, so the training content needs to match up. After editing your copy, ask a few Gen Z employees to review it and listen to their feedback. Also make sure to use candid photos of workers or look for free photo websites with pictures that match
To learn more about how to write for Generation Z workers, review these articles:
"The ABCs of Gen Z"
"If You Write OK in Answer to a Question, Your Millennial and Gen Colleagues May Think You’re Mad at Them. Seriously."
5. Encourage self-study – Generation Z employees like to absorb information to enhance their understanding. So for each training module, include some links to web pages that provide additional details on the topics. Hint: include YouTube videos whenever possible. You’ll be a big hit with your younger workers.
6. Keep information fresh – Younger workers expect training modules to contain new and fresh information. So as you put the content together, use current examples and stories that fit the information. Continually review existing training modules to ensure the content is current and fits employees’ work responsibilities. Regularly make new modules on topics that help employees grow and develop professionally and personally. Ask for employee feedback on training topics they want to know to make them better employees.
7. Embrace idea-sharing – Set up information coffee breaks or lunches for Gen Z employees to share what they’ve learned with other workers. Encourage younger workers to do some self-study on topics to expand on the training modules. Ask them to teach the information and ideas they learn to help other employees grow and develop in new areas.