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Gen Z and Millennials are prioritising training and development

New research conducted by Cloud Assess has revealed that Gen Z and Millennials are prioritising training and development more than any other generation. In fact, more than a quarter of employees aged between 16-34 believe training and development is the most important factor when it comes to their engagement as an employee.

New research conducted by Cloud Assess has revealed that Gen Z and Millennials are prioritising training and development more than any other generation. In fact, more than a quarter of employees aged between 16-34 believe training and development is the most important factor when it comes to their engagement as an employee. Unsurprisingly, this sent shockwaves through businesses all around the UK, as well as the training industry; it is a clear sign that this age group, the workforce of the future, values ‘being better’ over monetary incentives. In a city like Cambridge, where a high proportion of the workforce is young, ambitious and educated, business owners and team leaders would be wise not to ignore these findings.

Driven in a world dominated by social media, the internet and next-day Amazon delivery, Gen Z and Millennials now want, and expect, to be able to access information at any time from the tip of their fingers. As a result, this age group also comes with a unique set of priorities for the working world, such as the need for value and expression, an understanding of a business’s bigger picture, and flexible working policies – things the ‘old guard’ just didn’t value or appreciate. Much of this can be traced back to the impact of information overload that exploded in the 21st century and the rapid rise of fake news. Now, young people can filter what is fake, participate in something that gives them a purpose, and ask themselves: Is this an authentic place to work? Will this company allow me to develop my skills? Is this manager going to support me?

Ultimately, business leaders must accept this is now the new reality for their businesses to remain successful. Within the next few years, Gen Z and Millennials are set to become the majority of the workforce and failure to invest in learning and development will lead to employers losing talented employees and potential future leaders. Now it is a case of: “If you don’t support me, I’ll move on”. And this isn’t a hollow threat – job-hopping is a very real and increasingly common concern for businesses.

However, it’s important for companies to see this as an exciting opportunity, rather than a burden: because believe it or not, a common side effect of investing in your staff is increased overall profit. Why? Whereas an employee who feels invested in will ensure valuable retention of great people for the business, driving results and profits all whilst nurturing the growth of the individual through potential promotion and financial reward.

In business, people buy from people and people stay for people. If an employee doesn’t continue to feel motivated, engaged, or invested in, they can also do something worse than finding another job – it is what I like to call ‘quiet quitting’. Quiet quitting is basically when employees stay at a business but ‘check out’, don’t bother trying, and consequently, can impact the entire team dynamic and performance.

So how do we overcome this? On top of prioritising learning and development, businesses should also pay close attention to the type of training that Gen Z and Millennials desire – both in terms of setting and substance. Looking at setting, it may surprise you that research suggests Gen Z and Millennials prefer face-to-face training over remote online learning. While the latter does have its benefits, no amount of computer screens can replicate our ideal ‘Daily D.O.S.E’ of Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphin hits we get when we meet and engage with real people. During COVID-19, we were deprived of these key brain chemicals, and as a human who, like all of us, craves connection, I am not surprised to see a rebound wherein people are actively seeking out those lost opportunities. Gen Z and Millennials are also young and sociable and being face-to-face allows them to better meet and network with people from other similar businesses and organisations which has the potential to create new opportunities for everyone involved

In terms of substance, it is vital we offer Gen Z and Millennials what I like to call ‘essential skills’ training, also known as soft skills training. I avoid using the term soft skills as there is nothing ‘soft’ about them – they are vital in every aspect of our personal and professional lives. They include skills like communication, problem-solving and critical thinking, and, as we head into a largely unknown world with AI and technology becoming commonplace, an understanding of yourself, your strengths and areas of development in these skills is crucial. Psychometric tools such as Insights Discovery can open a deeper perspective on your skillset individually and working as a team as it is rooted in Psychology and brings it into ‘real world’ scenarios helping both individuals and businesses navigate and enhance these skills further. I would recommend its teachings to anyone, especially young people as it lays a solid foundation for someone’s career journey

Ultimately, it is this age group of digital natives that will soon lead the world, we can either ignore them at our expense or unlock their potential by giving them the tools to achieve this in a format that resonates with them. I have no doubt that the employers that provide these all-important learning and development experiences for employees will be the ones that stand out in the ever-growing fight for talent, future proofing their business and success.

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