Generation X is practically the first one, who could had been grown up with video games and home computers; even if not from early age on. The following Generation Y includes digital natives, as the usage of computers had been widespread right from the time of their birth. This includes that in their teenager years social networks had been en vogue and the raise of You Tube began. The actual latest Generation Z is growing up in even a more virtual environment:
- Fast and reliable internet is 24 hours and, thanks to smart phones and tablets, independent from the location available.
- Amazon, Apple, Netflix and YouTube make video content always available. The importance of classic tv-stations is going down.
Due to this omnipresence of content, questions and answers, the individual perceives less requirement to investigate topics and even the need to “wait for answers”.
A Microsoft study confirmed that the human brain adapts to the environment. Big parts of Generation Z used a smartphone since early age on, as stressed parents discovered that YouTube videos may calm down a toddler. Programmers created apps for this young target group to stimulate early development. A first step to get them into video games. Thanks to this early introduction to the virtual world, the brain adapted to the requirement to concentrate on a screen and its changing and animated content. As down-side of this development, the human attention span lowered to 8 seconds, comparable to a gold fish. Most young employees work multitasking, concentrating on a longer topic or a single topic may bore them. The frontiers between work- and private-live are luring.
Due to this, employees are expecting more from their job than just money; it should have a purpose based on the individual’s values, and important, it has to be challenging and so, entertaining. From the socialization with video games, young employees are used to switch from level to level, each time getting faster and more complicated. A classic final opponent has to be overcome to reach the next step on one’s career-level. The virtual world requires less physical status-symbols as a big house and car; what makes young employees more independent from a job and for themselves easier to quit a position. Instead of this, experiences are an import motivational factor, as participation in challenging projects, travels and a positive work-atmosphere. Even virtual “likes” can be perceived as a motivational factor. Work-life-balance does not only mean to spend more time in home-office, but also that the office gets more “home-like”.
Furthermore affected is corporate training. Web-based training, but also in-person workshops have to include gamification. The presenter shall not give answers, but the participants have to elaborate them their-selves through discussions and analyzing different cases. It can be compared to the first Jurassic Park movie, where the Tyrannosaurus Rex declined to eat the tied sheep, but required to hunt down its food. It may sound contradictory to compare Millennials or Generation Z with dinosaurs, but in opposite to the general opinion, dinosaurs had been a very successful species, who ruled the world for around 170 million years. Online training can follow the technical possibilities of actual video games. Why not let the employee create an avatar and present the learning topic in a 3D-environment?
Modern work has changed and administration jobs adapted and often got reduced. Many tasks have been automatized and employees work multitasking. Work reality plus the attitudes of young employees avoid often that online-trainings get done in one attempt. More often an employee starts and stops, when a new task comes in. Concepts as “micro-learning” may fit for today’s and tomorrow’ workforce. Short 5-10 minutes learning episodes, which the employee can take between different tasks, or even as break between a bigger project. With this, they can support to get the employee out of the routine and to avoid ethical blindness. Such micro-learnings not only can be used to transport information, but also to foster values, attitudes and desired behavior. It targets cognitive structures, but also triggers emotions.