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Bridging the Gap: How Employers Can Help Gen Z Thrive

Hey there, PeopleTopics readers!

Today, we're shaking things up a bit. I've invited Alice, an incredible expert in Gen Z training, to take over the blog for this post. It's a bit different from what we usually do, but I think it's important to hear directly from those at the forefront of the topics. Alice has some amazing insights on Gen Z to share, and I can't wait for you to read them. So, let's hand over to her and dive in!

Hi, I'm Alice! 👋

I spent the first 6 years of my career helping people figure things out - from supporting underserved youth getting their first work experience to recruiting refugees and assisting entrepreneurs in creating online shops.

Each time, my tool was education - online courses, peer-to-peer learning, and events.

In 2022, I left the corporate world to pursue a mission close to my heart: teaching essential skills that no school does, skills crucial for succeeding in one's first job. We often take for granted the knowledge we've accumulated over the years, like writing a concise email, managing client meetings, juggling multiple stakeholders and deadlines, or planning the next career move. However, for those who’ve never stepped foot in an office, especially without a support network, it can take years to figure this all out.

That’s where Kokoon comes in, the company I co-founded. We specialize in training individuals starting their first job, teaching them the essential skills we wish we knew years ago. Whether it's through bespoke bootcamps in companies or our online talent incubator, our goal is to bridge the gap.

portrait of Alice, co-founder at Kokoon
Alice, co-founder of Kokoon

Gen Z is Struggling

Did you know that 91% of Gen Z employees feel stressed at work?

It's not surprising, considering the rapid changes in the work environment, while university curriculums have remained static. No one's teaching young people how to navigate remote work, write effective emails, or manage various deadlines.

This gap leads to early-career employees feeling overwhelmed, hesitant to ask questions, or afraid of making mistakes. As a result, they might job-hop or passively wait for career opportunities instead of proactively seeking them.

The Impact on Companies

The challenges faced by Gen Z employees aren't isolated; they ripple through companies, especially when retaining junior employees.

A whopping 92% of workers believe that being proficient in soft skills is key to career success, according to the Skills Builder report in partnership with KPMG. Yet, without tailored training, many Gen Z employees feel unprepared and more likely to bounce from their jobs. This is backed by the fact that 76% of employees are more likely to stick around if a company offers ongoing training. The impact hits also company performance; as per the Journal of Applied Psychology, Gen Z's hesitance to ask questions impedes efficient onboarding and learning, impacting the whole organization's productivity. Recognizing the importance of soft skills and investing in continuous training and customized onboarding is key for companies to tackle these challenges effectively.

Building Confidence through Skills

Early careers often require a set of skills to boost confidence and accelerate growth. Key among these is Communication - the foundation of collaboration, expressing complex ideas, leading client meetings, and presentations; Problem-solving - not just about outcomes, but the attitude towards finding solutions; and Managing Workload and Stakeholders - understanding priorities and navigating different expectations.

It's important for early careers to build up resilience to take on feedback and grow from it. This also means learning Self-Reflection - how to evaluate what their areas of strengths are and what areas of growth they have. The last step is about creating a plan for their career. It starts with Goal Setting; what they want to learn, teams they want to work with, projects to be involved in, and so forth.

From there as a manager you’ll create a plan to get them there with quarterly/monthly stepping stones.

How You Can Help Your Gen Z Employees Thrive

Create a Tailored onboarding Custom onboarding allows companies to create a tailor-fit program, ensuring that it aligns perfectly with their unique culture and goals. Our recommendation is to include key information about the company, its values, and the key stakeholders. This should be complemented with a training element, providing essential skills and setting clear expectations to instill confidence in the new hires. Additionally, incorporating mentoring into the program allows new employees to ask questions, seek guidance, and feel supported during their initial journey. While this approach demands more time and internal resources, it offers the advantage of a personalized, company-specific onboarding experience. However, for companies with sporadic new hires, the absence of a cohort model might pose scalability challenges.

Bring in an expert Partnering with companies like Kokoon offers a streamlined and effective approach to onboarding. Kokoon's 3-month program features weekly classes, an online community, and mentoring sessions, designed to enhance Gen Z employees' skills and confidence. This turnkey solution minimizes internal workload while leveraging the specialized knowledge of external experts.

This option is particularly beneficial for organizations seeking a hassle-free approach to onboarding, emphasizing efficiency, and providing a consistent and structured learning experience for all new hires.

Hear it from Kokoon's clients

Nucleo, an Irish consulting firm, utilized our services to train 15 early-career employees in communication, problem-solving, project management, and career planning.

The result was a notable 25% increase in their performance following the training!

Check out for more about training and supporting Gen Z employees.


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