What does Gen Z want from workplace training?

June 28, 2024 By Kit Germeroth

Millennials are no longer the youngest adults – Generation Z now officially makes up around a quarter of employees in the workforce. Born in the late 1990s to early 2000s, this generation is known for being open-minded, driven, and tech-savvy.

In workplace settings, Generation Z is hungry to learn and develop professionally. When FDM group asked employees how important they believed learning and development to be, Gen Z respondents ranked it at 4.89 out of 5.

Understanding what Gen Z looks for in professional development is crucial for organizations aiming to attract and retain this new wave of talent.

What does Gen Z want from workplace training?

As a generation that has grown up online, Gen Z has different wants and needs when it comes to professional development and workplace learning than the generations before them. Here are a few of the main things Gen Z are looking for in workplace training. 

Short, digestible learning

Gen Zers are used to quick bits of information that are easy to digest. When it comes to professional development, sticking to approaches like microlearning, which include bite-sized learning modules that can be completed in short bursts, is a safe bet.

Gamification is great too. Playing games is one of the most natural ways for people to learn and is a surefire way to get someone’s attention fully focused on a task. 

Similarly, Gen Z is a visually-orientated generation, so the more image- and video-based your learning materials are, the better. In their personal lives, they’re already turning to short video formats to learn. A 2023 study found that 92% of Gen Z individuals use YouTube, 85% use Instagram, and 78% use TikTok. It’s a format they’re already receptive to, so a short, interactive training video will be much more effective than a big block of text.

In-person training options

Though remote working opportunities have boomed in the last few years, the majority of Gen Z workers prefer a hybrid work environment. In fact, of all the generations, they’re the least likely to favor  “exclusively remote” arrangements.

They need to feel a connection to the workplace culture, to their fellow employees, and to their purpose within the organization. For this reason, it’s smart to include some in-person training opportunities for all workers — it’s a lot easier to feel connected to something when you’re not doing it alone. 

It’s also important to note that these young workers may be new to a corporate environment, particularly if their first professional employment experiences came during COVID lockdowns. While Gen Z learners may be more tech-savvy than their older colleagues, they may require more practice with offline interpersonal communication. So, give them the chance to learn about their job in person. For example, they could spend some time shadowing more experienced team members.

Mix your media

Don’t just rely on one form of training — use multiple delivery methods and different types of training content to get better engagement. Include visuals, videos, interactive elements, charts, quizzes, etc. 

Again, the more visually exciting your training modules, the better. Diverse content keeps the training sessions dynamic and relevant, making capturing Gen Z learners’ attention a lot easier. 

A varied approach to training, rather than just rote learning, boosts knowledge retention and helps learners see the practical application, too. 

Make learning materials mobile

Gen Z are digital natives — after all, most of them grew up with smartphones. Born into a world of apps and tablets, they’re used to doing everything on their phones with the touch of a screen. This is true in the workplace, as well. 

Meet Gen Z where they already are by making training modules available to access via their mobile devices. This flexibility allows them to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, whether they are commuting, at home, or between tasks in the office. 

It’s worth investing in a Learning Management System (LMS) that supports multiple devices and platforms. A mobile-friendly LMS ensures that training materials are easily accessible anytime and anywhere, meeting Gen Z’s expectations for on-demand learning.

Younger generations want to work for forward-thinking companies that embrace new technologies, and nothing says “outdated” like a clunky, desktop-only learning platform.

Offer essential soft skills training

As a cohort, Generation Z can be concerned about lacking essential soft skills – especially coming out of the pandemic.

While this generation is often tech-savvy and adaptable, they may have less practice with skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. Despite being labeled as “soft,” these are actually essential workplace skills necessary for success in a corporate environment.  

That’s why it’s so important to incorporate soft skills training in your workplace learning programs. By investing in soft skills training, companies can help Gen Z employees develop a well-rounded skill set that complements their technical abilities.

Make training inclusive

Gen Z deeply values personal identity, inclusivity, self-expression, and diversity more than any generation before them. This isn’t just in their personal lives but also extends to the workplace. 

They expect professional development content that reflects multiple perspectives, experiences, and identities.

To meet these expectations, companies must use inclusive training materials that are representative of diverse backgrounds. This includes incorporating case studies, examples, and scenarios that showcase a variety of cultures, genders, and experiences. 

Additionally, use diverse voices in training videos and interviews, and include accessibility features like subtitles and alternative formats.

Make career progression clear

Generation Z workers are at the start of their careers and are motivated by opportunities for growth and career progression. They want to know that their hard work won’t go unnoticed and that they’re not just cogs in the machine. So, give them something to work towards to help them meet their professional goals. 

Creating personalized learning plans that set them up for success will help boost engagement and productivity. And check in on their learning progress regularly to keep them informed and motivated. 

Incorporate mental health topics

Generation Z highly values mental health, and they are more likely to seek workplaces that actively support their overall well-being. With this in mind, it’s important to incorporate mental health topics and resources into your professional development program.

Try holding workshops on stress management, resilience, and mindfulness and creating a culture where taking care of mental health is normalized and supported.

Get your professional development program up to speed for Gen Z

Generation Z is expected to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, so if your professional development programs and internal training materials aren’t tailored to include them, now is the time to get up to speed. 

Moodle Workplace is an LMS that makes creating and delivering engaging workplace training easy, with interactive modules, mixed media, games and quizzes, cross-platform learning, and insights from powerful custom reports. 

Learn more about some of Moodle Workplace’s features and how it can help you build effective employee development programs.

Need help with your learning and development programs?

Get in touch with our team to learn more about Moodle.