Rob Bright, CEO of Cloud Assess, discusses how business leaders can utilise training and development strategies to get ahead in attracting Gen Z talent.
Growing up in a digital age: a new workforce
Gen Zs are used to having a world of information at their fingertips in the form of a smartphone, computer or tablet. Growing up in the first true digital age, they are constantly learning and adapting to new technology and software for socialising, studying, and everything in between.
Coupled with this, a huge number of Gen Zs missed out on vital schooling and online lessons during their final years of education. This has created a perceived ‘education gap’ which many ambitious young people are keen to close as quickly as possible.
With these factors in mind, it comes as no surprise that Gen Zs are seeking employers ready to invest in continual professional development and provide opportunities for them to learn new skills whilst harnessing their digital capabilities.
In fact, research conducted by Cloud Assess found that this generation are the least motivated by salary. Instead, over a quarter of employees aged between 16-34 favour training and development opportunities when considering a potential employer. The study also found that upskilling can have a profound effect on young people’s engagement and work ethic once they’re in a role. In fact, 75% say it boosts their job satisfaction, whilst over two-thirds believe it improves their commitment to their employer – the highest proportion of any generation researched.
With the number of Gen Z employees only set to increase in the coming years, it’s important that employers fully understand their unique priorities and adopt strategies to engage this vital talent pool.
The good news for employers
Implementing learning and development strategies at scale may seem like a lot of work for employers, but having a workforce who wants to continue to learn and onboard new skills will be an asset to businesses in the long term. An engaged workforce is more productive and better placed to help a business grow and innovate.
Delivery of training
However, training offers very little value if it’s not delivered in a way that is engaging and provides real, long-term learning outcomes. So, it’s essential to listen to employees on how they prefer to be taught and factor this into your training strategy. Our research found that face-to-face learning was the most popular training format across the majority of age groups. Gen Zs, in particular, accounted for the largest demographic margin, with only 17% choosing online training in isolation as their favourite method of learning. This is likely, in part, due to the extensive amount of online education they had to partake in over the years of the pandemic.
How to ensure effective training
Time and time again studies have shown that learning stands the test of time when conducted via regular, real-life practice, instead of through a computer or book. The National Training Laboratory’s ‘Learning Pyramid’ revealed that the majority of students only retain around 10% of what they have read from textbooks. However, this increased to 75% when individuals learnt by doing.
With both time and resources remaining tight for many businesses, training can slip down the priority list, but there are solutions available to help make the process easier. For example, utilising training software which combines the learning benefits of face-to-face training with the efficiency benefits of online planning and administration. This approach saves valuable time and frees up resource, which can be better spent on delivering in-person coaching.
With Gen Z workers estimated to make up approximately 27% of the workforce by 2025, employers simply can’t afford to overlook the priorities of this crucial talent pool, and this includes providing all important learning opportunities. Those employers who successfully cultivate a culture of growth through training and development will not only have a competitive edge in the fight for talent, but will also have the advantage of an engaged, skilled and loyal workforce for decades to come.