North American employers are preparing for generation Z’s entrance into the workforce, with 98 per cent agreeing these employees will have different learning and development needs than previous generations, according to a new report by LinkedIn Co.

The report, which surveyed 400 U.S. employers and 201 Canadian employers, found 74 per cent of respondents plan to make changes to their learning and development programs to reflect those differences.

Read: HR decision-makers concerned with attraction, retention of younger workers: survey

“Gen Z is the first cohort of workers that grew up with the internet from day one. They were weaned on connectivity and near-instant updates to apps and hardware, bringing an added layer of complexity to talent development,” said Tanya Staples, vice-president of learning content at LinkedIn.

According to LinkedIn’s new research, 76 per cent of learning executives are already making changes to development programs in anticipation of gen Z’s arrival, said Staples. “Giving this new generation of employees the freedom to learn on their own while guiding them on the type of skills required may create a more supportive learning journey that gen Z desires.” 

Almost all (98 per cent) of employers said they expect gen Z employees will want to learn on their own terms, including learning any time and anywhere (39 per cent) and having access to collaborative learning environments (38 per cent), personalized learning experiences (40 per cent) and tailored development plans (35 per cent).

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) said they expect the generation to require extra support in developing their soft skills like communication, teamwork and time management. And 46 per cent said they believe gen Z employees will have a shorter attention span than previous generations, with 24 per cent planning to offer them a self-directed approach to learning.

Read: How to support Generation Z employees

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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