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Generation Z Is Here. It’s Time to Rethink Your Talent Development Strategy.

Generation Z Is Here. It’s Time to Rethink Your Talent Development Strategy.

They’re not afraid to break stuff, and they want feedback. Are you ready? Part 1 of 3

When I first heard the term Millennial, I thought it was a pet name Han Solo used to describe his crew. It turns out everyone else did too because Millenials have been analyzed as if they actually were from space. This first generation of iPad natives unwittingly and unwillingly became our first digital data set. They’ve been blamed for everything from the demise of chain restaurants, the dethroning of Budweiser, and the extinction of bar soap. From the volumes of data, the resulting preposterous claims, and their loving helicopter parents, no one could blame Millenials for wanting to get out from under the microscope for a change. Well, this generation born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s is about to get a much-deserved reprieve from all the public attention, because Generation Z has arrived – and the behavioral analysis is heating up on this next wave of workforce reinforcements in a big way.

Who is Gen Z anyway? Definitions abound. Some claim that Members of Generation Z are currently between 10 and 25 years of age. Others say anyone born after the Sept 11 attacks in 2001. Whatever the date range, there’s are a lot of them, as the Gen Z population is generally regarded as larger than both the Baby Boomers and the Millenials. (They may also not appreciate the rather apocalyptic ‘Generation Z’ title, as it has yet to be adopted universally. Other contenders include the iGen, the Plurals, the Founders, and Generation Snowflake.)

Why should you care about Generation Z? According to one study, three-quarters of workers identify “managing multigenerational teams” and “different work expectations across generations” as a major challenge in the workplace. The increasing prevalence of this new generation in your workforce, and the delayed retirement of your Boomers means that the challenge will only grow, and your team might be due for some leadership development training or possibly reverse mentoring to rise to meet the challenge.   

Speaking of training, members of Generation Z are ready for it. Studies show they value curiosity, innovation, and creativity over the development of a particular skill, and are ready to receive feedback on an ongoing basis. Couple this with a generation that has never had to look beyond Google for an answer, and you’ve got a subset of employees with a very high bar for their managers, and of training platforms in general. If your talent development offerings don’t include how to give feedback, it’s high time you gave it another look.

Next week, we’ll take a deeper dive on the post-Millennial generation to understand how they will affect your workplace and your workforce – and what you can do to maximize their positive impact.

Mark Brodbeck, MSW

Director of Marketing at eMentorConnect. Passionate about people intent on elevating others, and other examples of enlightened self-interest. Frank Sinatra said it best: 'It's one world, pal. We're all neighbors.'