Our modern-day workplace is made up of people from a wide cross-section of ages and backgrounds. But we are now experiencing a shift in generational thinking and generational expectations. When talking about generations we are referring to:
The Baby Boomers (1946 and 1964) grew up in a booming post-war economic climate of regeneration and growth. They are task-focused and achievement orientated, this generation has worked hard, often at the expense of their private lives. Moving towards retirement or semi-retirement, this age aims to live a fulfilling life in their later years.
Generation X (1965 and 1980) often grew up to be self-reliant and goal orientated. They want to work hard and have the freedom to make their own decisions.
Millennials (1981 – 1996) value development and expect to be quickly given opportunities at work as well as the flexibility to act. Millennials or Generation Y are always connected and online. They challenge authority and are less likely to stick to the rules than Generation X or Baby Boomers.
Generation Z (born after 1996) who are at the entry point of the workforce. They are highly networked and tech natives.
An example of how understanding the differences between generations can relate in the workplace is that Generation X is likely to appreciate structured development, regular feedback, and mentoring. Whereas Generation Y lives in a world of constant communication and technology and expects regular feedback, especially from colleagues about how they are doing.
The new recruits to the modern workplace, Generation Z, love information, are tech-savvy, and thrive in collaborative environments. They are far from passive learners, as they seek out immersive learning experiences. They like being faced with learning challenges incorporating problems to solve where they can tap into a broad range of resources to guide their learning experience.
Generation Z expects to have access to a mix of learning materials, as and when they need them, no matter the time or what situation they are in.
In a study by Barnes and Noble College, Generation Z students confirmed they prefer seeing and listening to content rather than reading about it. This Generation has grown up with YouTube and often turns to the site to see something demonstrated or to hear an explanation of a complex idea. Video is their communication medium of choice, and it is often considered to be the equivalent of email or telephone for earlier generations.
With the influx of Generation Z into the workplace, organisations will need to adapt to this Generation’s expectations. Namely:
- Accessibility – the ability to access learning materials from a Smart device, anytime and anywhere. See our range of videos that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
- Responsive – this generation expects to find answers to problems, very quickly through resources that are delivered using video.
- Collaborative – this generation values collaboration and experiential learning. The ability to share resources with others and learn from others wherever they are is critical to them.
Proactively responding to Generation Z’s expectations and balancing that with meeting the needs and preferences of your wider workforce will result in a range of rich and diverse learning experiences. This ultimately could lead to a more productive organisation and better understanding between generations.