Getting to Know Generation Z: the Intrapersonal and Independent Learners [Series]

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

PART 1: The Intrapersonal and Independent Learners

Research described in the book, Generation Z Goes to College by Corey Seemiller portrays Generation Z as having a preference for intrapersonal and independent learning over group work, yet they like to do their work alongside others in a social manner when studying.  Translate that from entering college to entering the workforce, and what does that mean for organizations in how they develop and deliver training, build and modify physical workspace, and collaborate across teams? 

  • Develop and Deliver Training:  Growing up in a time where computer technology has influenced individual on-line learning.  Generation Z is no stranger to independent learning platforms that foster intrapersonal learning; learning that is described as introspective and independent where learners are aware of their own thinking and have the ability to analyze the way in which they think and feel.  Translate this into the formal and informal training environment and organization’s will need to incorporate independent thinking activities and self-reflection activities into training curriculum while providing support and training for working and contributing in group settings. 
  • Build and Modify Physical Workspace:  In an effort to manage costs and increase collaboration, many organizations have already shifted to an open work space environment.  Changes in the physical workspace range from no doors and shorter walls to much larger changes such as assigned work areas where you pick your seat based on availability when you arrive at work.  While these changes are met with mixed feelings from the other 3 generations, to Generation Z, this type of office environment is a natural extension of the educational environment that they have been a part of all of their lives. 
  • Collaboration Across Teams:  Delivering timely and quality products and services to customers requires collaboration across teams.  As on a sports team, work environments require cooperation and a group effort to achieve goals.  Generation Z thrives in social settings that are ripe environments for spontaneous cross collaboration and creativity to generate ideas, while independently working on assigned actions.  Through boundary management and expectation setting, both collaboration and independence can both occur. 

We would love to hear from you.  In what ways does your organization already support these preferences of Generation Z?

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