What generation will be more adaptable to online learning strategies, flexible, nimble, and proactive to collaborating with teams virtually in the workplace? According to Purdue University Global, it is generation Z that is most accustomed to Artificial Intelligence. They already have “IMs, texts, social media,” and the progressive focus as a “…digital device addicts; and new technologies…”

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not going anywhere, in fact, it will only grow more so in the future. Therefore, we should become accustomed to training faculty, administrators and company recruiters, on creating their workplace to accommodate this generation. Generation Z will not only come into the workplace with independent and entrepreneurial characteristics, but they will also project change to Emotional Intelligence (EI). We must be prepared to educate our colleagues in higher education and C-suite executives for a massive overhaul to our diversity training in EI, such as engineering a curriculum, on closing the different generation gaps that will focus on good teamwork, culture development, critical thinking, etc.

Generation Z will be the bedrock to the future of the workplace. So let us “not look back to 2019, but to 2029.”
My previous article expressed, “if we are to maintain strength in the 21st century workplace, we are to create diversity training and build essential strategies designed for closing this generation gap, so you won’t have generational gap burn out, and instead improve employee satisfaction and retention rates.” Catering to the future generation is an obligation.

It is an obligation to create a workplace environment that will help generations work together to feel valued and appreciated among one another – understanding the different communication style and needs to ensure collaboration within the company. To recognize the critical need to develop a high-level personality for building unity and to ensure the communication and the necessary skills to deliver outstanding service are paramount!

It is also necessary to have a curriculum that will identify the most typical disruptive behaviors among different generations and key strategies to address situations in a proactive, positive, and safe experience. This curriculum will lead to a successful outcome that will improve and manage challenging situations – reducing the occurrence of generational gaps and improving service and overall operations by improving the bottom-line.

Career practitioners, already have a heavy demand from colleague administrators, parents and corporate executives to produce great future leaders, “cream-of-the-crop.” When most of the time, they are facing difficult buy-in from out-of-date administrators, faculty and staff in higher education institutions. It is not enough to deliver office knowledge on the basic career pathway initiatives on resume writing styles, mock-interviews, etc. They must with urgency  get institutions to understand this new generation and how they are to create new tools for training students on simulating with the different generations already in the workplace.

Although career practitioners, are looking further down the road and seeing institutions will eventually have total makeovers and adapt to 21st century demands on career pathway initiative; they are looking to apply change in a timely manner.

Career practitioners cannot just focus on career exploration or experiential services, even though they are accustomed to this being the only pieces our administrators will allow adding to their curriculum. Instead, it is imperative that they focus on what cannot be debated. Generation Z is here and entering the workforce. We must prepare our higher education institutions and corporations for them. We must show we are talented experts in our field of human capital building.

Thus, for career offices, career readiness is the greatest return on investment (ROI) for these different generations in the 21st century. We must educate and train our administrators, and do it all through virtual technologies (online): Deans, VP, Provost, Presidents, and Board of Trustee or Governors, everyone, so they can get a feel for the generation we are preparing for in the workplace and the steps needed to become acquainted with this generation. Below are examples of what can be infused in the first-year course syllabus of each orientation, and division, with these different generations in mind:

The Premier Department of Career Services
Connecting Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Administrators all through Virtual Strategies:
Faculty, Staff and Administrators Training on Career Competencies
Early Career Talent Acquisition Development Training
Team Academic Advising Training
Career Coaching Faculty Training
Coaching Faculty with Student/Alumni Onboarding Training
Faculty, Staff and Administrators Attending Career Services Events and Programs Training
Work with Faculty aligning Student Learning Outcome (SLO) Career Competencies Pre/Post assessments with college mission Training
Infusing Career Competencies into 1st Year Students Syllabus Training

The first thing this will do is create a congruent focus for staff, faculty, and administrators and an online learning training strategy that will provide a comprehensive idea of what Generation Z are accustomed to. This will help them to adapt quickly and easier to that experience – so, let the employers experience training online, and have a personal experience for themselves.

According to Inc. com, Generation Z “…is right on the heels of Millennials. And, they are starting to enter the workplace. Even more interesting, they make-up one-quarter of America’s population, making this generation larger than baby boomers or Millennials.” We must envision a curriculum for this demand and provide students with the proficiencies and abilities to become life-long learners who are equipped with the competencies, skills and academic preparation to immediately enter an increasingly competitive workforce or college/professional school of their choice.

Thus, integration is an alignment of a corporate mission with career/academic preparedness, nucleated by a tight collaboration between career practitioners and career pathway initiative services. Bringing resources across the institution will result in a comprehensive and transformational college/university to corporation transition.

Providing training on generational differences, career practitioners will deliver career preparation tools and resources to each generation differently. This will bring to their executives, a common goal, of understanding how different generations want to be encouraged and guided. When career services providers have different generations motivated differently; we are closing the working relationship gap to the different generations below:

Traditionalists: 2% (1925-1945)
-Prefer stability, obedience over individualism

Baby Boomers: 25% (1946-1964)
-Prefer direction, sacrifice for success

Generation X: 33% (1965-1980)
-Prefer immediate feedback, resistant to change

Generation Y (Millennials): 35% (1981-2000)
-Prefer personable relationship, seek challenges

Generation Z: 5% (2001-2020)
-Prefer multiple projects, self-identifying

The ability to generate a perfect curriculum on each generation, and ensuring a successful transformation that will propel our students to a career or graduate/professional school of their choice, our faculty, administrators, and employers alike will receive ready-made students for working with different generations in the workplace. This will provide an experience that will enable everyone to effectively understand our teaching for 21st century AI and EI career-related materials, will help motivate and improve different generations’ college/university retention and company’s workplace morale.

Sources:

Purdue University Global: Generational Differences in the Workplace, retrieved at:
https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/different-motivations-for-different-generations-of-workers-boomers-gen-x-millennials-gen-z.html

John Rampton, Entrepreneur and Investor, Inc.com: Different Motivations for Different Generations of Workers: Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen ZAn honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work isn’t always the case, retrieved at:
https://www.purdueglobal.edu/education-partnerships/generational-workforce-differences-infographic/

About the Author

Darryl K. Johnson, M.Ed., began his executive career in higher education where he received the recognition of “Who’s Who” among Higher Educators.  He frequently spoke at corporations, high schools, colleges, and universities on career development and human capital-building and, public sector events on talent management, chief knowledge management, and excellent customer services strategies. He is presently serving as Chief Executive Office and Owner of DKJ Consulting Group, LLC. He is preparing students the career pathway and framing the new generation for the 21st century workforce.

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