How Microlearning Can Meet the Needs of the GenZ Workforce | Dr Guruvayurappan PV | Chief Human Resource Officer | Omega Healthcare

GuruvayurappanGeneration Z individuals are now entering the workforce. Organizations are facing specific challenges when it comes to engaging and retaining employees in India. Companies must be adaptable, open to new ideas, and willing to evolve their workplace practices to align with the preferences and values of this emerging workforce. As time passes, the characteristics and workforce preferences may continue to evolve, so staying attuned to changing trends and needs is crucial for long-term success.

Generation Z, often referred to as GenZ, comprises individuals born roughly between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s. While the exact range varies among different researchers and sources. The commonly accepted timeframe is from around 1995 to 2010. Generation Z succeeded the Millennials (Generation Y) and represents the youngest cohort in the workforce and society. A study by the American Psychological Association (2017) states that 77% of this
cohort group are college-going students, who are just entering the workforce.

Research indicates that the majority of GenZ are children of millennials, and hence, they possess the qualities of millennials like being loyal, thoughtful, responsible, and determined. However, they differ from the millennial generation as this cohort group considered being more entrepreneurial, and striving for their own identity.

The size of Generation Z is significant, making it one of the largest generational cohorts. In the United States alone, generation Z accounts for over 25% of the population, making them a formidable force and a key demographic for employers seeking to fill their workforce with fresh talent. On the other side, India is witnessing a high share of millennials and Generation Z as a percentage of the total population, while the developed economies of the world are witnessing a shrinking of these younger generations. As of 2021, India’s share of millennials and Generation Z stood at 52%, much higher than the global average geo of 47%.

Young people have always embodied the zeitgeist of their societies, profoundly influencing trends and behaviour alike. The influence of Gen Z – the first generation of true digital natives is now radiating outward, with the search for truth at the centre of its characteristic behaviour and consumption patterns. Technology has given young people an unprecedented degree of connectivity among themselves and with the rest of the population. That makes generational shifts more important and speeds up technological trends as well. For companies, this shift will bring both challenges and equally attractive opportunities and capturing any opportunity is being open to it.

By 2030, the Internet economy is expected to contribute 62% to India’s technology sector, a notable increase from 48% in 2022. The industry has a noticeable impact on enhancing the productivity of practically every other area of the economy, and it offers enormous potential for speeding growth and economic development.

GenZ of India contribute 20% of the population to global and 18-20% total Indian tech workforce is primarily driven by high fresher hiring. Young GenZ 70% of college students aspire to join tech companies with growth prospects in the IT industry in India.

Understanding their lifestyle choices can help companies create a workplace that nurtures their well-being, encourages social connections, and supports their professional growth and development. By aligning workplace practices with GenZ’s lifestyle preferences, companies can foster a positive and engaged workforce that contributes to success.

Microlearning is having a phenomenally positive impact on the GenZ workforce. This generation is transforming the way workplaces operate; they offer unique capabilities in adapting to the latest technologies and adjusting swiftly to new environments.

Microlearning can effectively service the needs of the “digital-native” generation. Most microlearning is a highly effective approach for engaging and upskilling the GenZ workforce due to its alignment with their learning preferences involving short, visual, mobile-friendly, self-directed and on-demand learning experiences to reduce learner fatigue, it can effectively cater to the requirements of GenZ workers. Implementing microlearning strategies and platforms can lead to improved engagement, skill development and overall job satisfaction.

Microlearning is a game-changer for organizations looking for innovative ways to engage employees. The compactly designed modules deliver focused content to the learners and consist of various formats to cater to the needs of GenZ employees. Since most workers of this generation prefer remote work and learning opportunities, microlearning is the most suitable choice given that it can be accessed anywhere in real-time. Interactive simulations, short-form content and gamified elements make learning more engaging.

Understanding GenZ Learning Preferences

Even though microlearning offers an excellent solution for GenZ employees, mass implementation of microlearning modules seldom works. Microlearning approaches are more effective if they are custom-tailored to meet the learning preferences of the individual employee. Different individuals are receptive to different learning styles. A few ways the GenZ prefer absorbing information include learning through visual content, mobile-friendly activities, audio-based modules and hands-on demonstrations. Different formats are beneficial for various job roles. For example, bite-size, visual-friendly, activity-based, social and collaborative learning content will inspire creativity in the job roles. It helps in adaptability, feedback progress tracking, retention and reinforcement required imaginative work. Similarly, hands-on learning is beneficial for jobs involving physical work such as operating machinery or conducting chemical experiments.

How Do We Align Microlearning With GenZ Preferences?

Various microlearning approaches can be aligned based on the individual’s preferred learning styles and topics they need to be trained in. Some of the methods are:

1.) On-demand learning: GenZ values instant access to information. Microlearning provides the scope, access and learning materials whenever they need them and suits their desire. This flexibility empowers them to learn at their own pace and convenience.

2.) Self-directed learning: GenZ values autonomy in their learning. Microlearning creates learning opportunities to choose what topics, skills, specific challenges, and solutions can enable learning growth and make ideal solutions in time.

3.) Visual and interactive content: Multimedia formats usually appeal to GenZ. They thrive on interactive models, videos, colourful presentations, infographics and quizzes. Some of these methods facilitate better imagination, and engagement and improve information processing.

4.) Mobile-Friendly: GenZ workforce is fast-paced and is always on the go. They rely heavily on smartphones for various aspects of their lives, including learning. Audio-based content like podcasts and books saves their time. Able to absorb content and can easily be consumed during their daily work commute.

5.) Gamification: Gamified elements are taking a prominent space in the GenZ learning journey. Organizations are building avenues in bringing the elements like quizzes, badges and leaderboards. Getting these incorporated for building deeper skill enhancement in the workforce who often enjoy gaming and competition at any given point in time.

6.) Adaptive learning: Organizations have started adopting microlearning platforms such as AI to personalize the GenZ learning experiences based on the individual’s strengths and developmental areas. This approach calls for personalized learning experiences and micro-certification credentials allowing the workforce to acquire specific skills, capabilities and competencies that can provide tangible proof of learning including features for discussion, peer learning, knowledge and innovation idea-sharing platforms.

7.) Practical application: GenZ is often keen to look out for practical, real-world applications of what they acquired the learnings. They are more likely to engage with learning materials that directly relate to their current or future life and work situations. In this process, their global awareness and social consciousness become stronger. The practical learning experience cultivates global perspectives, and cultural diversity and can easily resonate with social issues. In this process, the sense of purpose becomes a strong contributor to the global landscape.

Building a future-ready organization is an ongoing process that requires adaptability and a commitment to learning and growth. Microlearning is gaining substantial recognition and popularity across industries. Both organizations and employees, making it a useful addition to corporate training programmes, can leverage this. Ability to deliver effective and efficient learning experiences focused on a varied range of GenZ engagements with an effective strategy of tactical implementation for consistent sustainability. Microlearning helps bridge the gaps between traditional learning methods and the expectations of this exceptionally diverse generation with cost-effectiveness and flexible training solutions. Openness to modern workforces and changing business needs makes it a valuable tool for employee development, organizational growth and addressing organizational dynamics in the global market place.