Tim Wright – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Wed, 13 Feb 2019 20:27:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Gen Z Workforce: Education and Technology Considerations https://infocus.dellemc.com/tim_wright/gen-z-workforce-education-and-technology-considerations/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/tim_wright/gen-z-workforce-education-and-technology-considerations/#respond Mon, 26 Nov 2018 10:00:43 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=36885 Gen Z – those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s – could potentially account for more than 20% of the workforce by 2020. To better understand the first digital-native generation and how they will reshape the workplace, Dell Technologies commissioned a study, Gen Z: The future has arrived, involving 12,000 high school and college […]

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Gen Z – those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s – could potentially account for more than 20% of the workforce by 2020. To better understand the first digital-native generation and how they will reshape the workplace, Dell Technologies commissioned a study, Gen Z: The future has arrived, involving 12,000 high school and college students (ages 16-23) from around the globe to get their views on technology and the future of work.

Source: “Are you ready for Gen Z?” Infographic

Technical Consciousness

As Gen Z enters the global workforce, technical consciousness stands clearly as their most salient characteristic. Aptly labeled “digital natives,” Gen Z’ers have lived their entire lives in the presence of digital technology, i.e. smart phones, laptops, tablets, home technology systems, and social media. Consequently, they are innately conscious of the presence, use, and ubiquity of technology.

Chief Learning Officer reports that “[Gen Z] are not only technically savvy, but also expect technology to be a natural—and frequent—part of their learning and work.”

Overwhelming majorities of respondents to the global survey affirmed Gen Z individuals value technology and its impact in these ways:

  • Technology literacy matters (97%)
  • Experienced technology as a platform in their formal education (98%)
  • Technology offered by an employer a factor in taking the job (91%)
  • Technology and automation will make work environments more equitable (80%)

The global survey also found that:

  • Gen Z wants to work with cutting-edge technology
  • Great technology will entice Gen Z job candidates
  • Gen Z cares about data security, but is unsure how to address it

Source: “Are you ready for Gen Z?” Infographic

These digital native values are meaningful factors in preparing for, accepting, and realizing the value of these newcomers to the workforce, and accordingly, organizations should demonstrate a “tech-first” approach in several ways:

  • Technology in operational processes: hiring, orientation, daily work
  • Technology in Informational and educational processes: on-line, on demand, mobile, and blended
  • Technology relevant to developmental efforts: removing gaps by encouraging STEM careers for women, for example

Job Skill Concerns

Survey respondents indicated a fairly high level of confidence in their technology literacy and competence, +/- 75%. However, their certainty of non-technical skills and of readiness for initial work experiences is not so strong.

Deloitte confers in their 2017 Insights report, Gen Z enters the workforce:

Technology has impacted the development of cognitive skills, including intellectual curiosity, among the next generation, creating the risk of skill gaps when they enter the workforce en masse. A shortfall in highly cognitive social skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and communication, could be particularly evident. Most of Gen Z too acknowledges the importance of in-person communication and its own deficiencies in this area.

High numbers desire significant levels of human connection and communication on the job. In several ways this human connection is identified:

  • Preference for in-person communication over telephone, even greater over texting and messaging
  • Desire to learn from co-workers on the job
  • Willingness to tutor co-workers in technology literacy
  • Choice of workplace over work-at-home and choice of team over independent work

The implications drawn from these preferences are several, all of which involve interpersonal opportunities for Gen Z :

  • Technology mentorships that may cross generational, experiential, and/or functional borders
  • Internships, rotation programs that expose Gen Z to opportunities to learn from others
  • Leadership and stretch assignments to build Gen Z confidence in non-tech skills

Learning Resources

“You need to create bite-sized learning modules to keep Gen Z-ers attention.”

Technology plays a significant role in the formal educational experience of Gen Z. Interestingly, they see social media as both an appropriate learning platform and as a valuable tool in the workplace. An almost equal percentage prefer to learn on the job, from co-workers or others, than online.

This seems to indicate their familiarity with technology as the method of conveying information, familiarity that leads to comfort. It may also indicate their realization that the educational content from someone with actual experience is greater than e-learning.

Another interesting set of findings are the types of ways in which Gen Z desire to work with technology. There is relatively even division across the technology range, from R&D to developing apps for non-tech purposes:

  • Developing technology (R&D) (46%)
  • Use technology to help others or environment (40%)
  • Ensure appropriate use of technology (cybersecurity) (39%)
  • Implement technology for others to use (IT) (38%)
  • Apply apps and devices to do work that is not traditional tech work (37%)

This logically impacts what types of learning they will need to enhance their work. Their familiarity with technology and their desire to learn from people on the job co-equally affect how the L&D may be provided. Gen Z has been as one with immediate access to information. While they may have greater confidence in learning non-tech skills from those people with whom they work (including their boss), they will not give up relying on almost instant instructional videos and mini-lessons.

Gen Z are tech-savvy, digital natives to the core and they’re joining your workforce. They bring new skills, high expectations and a desire to shake things up.

Shift eLearning reports in 2018: “While [Gen Z] may need less training on technology, they may require more in offline interpersonal communication….[and]You need to create bite-sized learning modules to keep Gen Z-ers attention.”

Implications that we derive from this array of responses and conclusions suggest these focuses:

  • Attention the quality and viability of online content as current, accurate, and complete
  • Application of design thinking to L&D: learner interviews, empathic design, rapid prototyping, testing and revising
  • Provision of methodologies appropriate to content and learning expectations: on-the-job opportunities, online and on demand, partnership/stewardship, for example
  • Combination of attention to Gen Z value of technology and people-connection

Summary

Delivered in the preferred modality for a Gen Z audience – i.e. predominantly online, on-demand, mobile and blended – L&D organizations with a broad portfolio of Associate-, Specialist-, and Expert-level training and certification in these cutting-edge technologies will be well-positioned to prepare the Gen Z workforce entering today’s transforming IT environments.

Sources

Carolyn O’Boyle, Josefin Atack, Dr. Kelly Monahan: Generation Z enters the workforce (Deloitte Insights, 2017)

Further Reading:

Click Here to See What Gen Zers Are Saying

Dell Technologies Gen Z Research Reveals Good News: We Haven’t Raised a Generation of Robots

Four Things to Expect as Gen Z Descends on the Workplace

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Why the Workforce Needs to Change for Digital Transformation https://infocus.dellemc.com/tim_wright/why-the-workforce-needs-to-change-for-digital-transformation/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/tim_wright/why-the-workforce-needs-to-change-for-digital-transformation/#comments Mon, 01 Oct 2018 09:00:21 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=36178 Digital transformation is impacting today’s workforce and let me underscore, effective workforce transformation – transformation readiness among employees – is critical to successful digital transformation. Digital-first: Transformation, Technology and Readiness Digital transformation and digital readiness have become catchphrases in their own right. The meaning of the terms represent benefits for everyone – including those not […]

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Digital transformation is impacting today’s workforce and let me underscore, effective workforce transformation – transformation readiness among employees – is critical to successful digital transformation.

Digital-first: Transformation, Technology and Readiness

Digital transformation and digital readiness have become catchphrases in their own right. The meaning of the terms represent benefits for everyone – including those not engaged in an IT profession – and a call to embrace a common understanding of modern technologies as we hurtle towards a world of increasing disruption. More devices are connecting more people in effective and collaborative ways.


To define digital transformation as simply “the application of digital technology to impact all aspects of business” is to shortchange its true meaning. Digital transformation is also the resultant change in how people do their work, make decisions, solve problems and achieve results. Ultimately, then, an individual’s transformation readiness contributes to organizational readiness and is linked to improved business outcomes.

Look at it this way:

Digital transformation causes tremendous changes, advances, and breakthroughs across businesses globally. It also causes an immediate and increasing need for the digital readiness.

Digital technology is the tools and processes with which people have to work. In terms of workforce solutions, we at Dell EMC like to say, the right technology in the right people’s hands allows them to work without limits.

Digital readiness is the transformation in their thoughts, perceptions and approaches as to how they work with the digital technology.

The most exciting definition I’ve come across for digital mindset in terms of readiness is from Shahana Chattopadhyay in her article 7 Characteristics of a Digital Mindset:

A digital mindset comprises a set of behavioral and attitudinal approaches that enable individuals and organizations to see the possibilities of the digital era, to use its affordances for deeper personal and greater professional fulfillment, and to design workplaces that are more human-centered, purpose-driven and connected. An individual with a digital mindset understands the power of technology to democratize, scale and speed up every form of interaction and action. Having a digital mindset is the ability to grasp this spectrum of impact of the Network Era, and the capabilities and attitudes required to face it with equanimity.

Agreed!

It is obvious that the technological transformation without the readiness transformation achieves less than its potential. Building readiness is as important as installing and integrating the technology components. A business cannot digitally transform unless — or until — its people transform.

Building transformation readiness is part and parcel of building the digital culture. A digital culture is replete with the technology and the readiness and the integrated applications of both on a continuous basis. A digital culture identifies with its digital technology. A digital culture thinks and talks and walks the progressive connection between people and technology.

Respectively, Michael Dell cites in Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future:

We’re entering the next era of human-machine partnership, a more integrated, personal relationship with technology that has the power to amplify exponentially the creativity, inspiration, intelligence and curiosity of the human spirit.

To build the digital culture throughout an organization in this next era requires a two-part strategy: communication and engagement. Both require careful planning and intricate implementation.

Let’s examine them one at a time.

Speaking the Language

The sooner and the more people speak the language that reflects the new culture, the sooner and the more completely the culture is realized. This does not mean merely throwing around the buzzwords and catch phrases that advertise digital transformation.

It means using the language that expresses the culture: its components, its processes, its benefits, its values, it constraints. Certainly, using the language includes explaining it at every point where it is necessary to insure that every person understands. Explaining it with the intention that everyone grasp the culture requires taking one’s time to communicate clearly and completely.

Approach the communication with both attention to message (what to say) and to messenger (who will say it) and to frequency (how many times to say it).

The message may best be developed by asking and answering (finding the answers to) questions. A well-written blog post by Jim Reznicek and titled Preparing Your Workforce for a Digital Transformation appeared on the Jabil blog in March 2018. The recommendation is that these specific questions be addressed with employees:

  • What is digital transformation?
  • Why is our company undergoing a digital transformation? What are the new technologies that will be introduced to our daily work?
  • What impact will the digital transformation have on our employees?
  • What is the timeline for the digital transformation?
  • How will the company prepare employees for upcoming changes?

To those above, I would add this question: what will such transformation enable me to do better than I do it today?

Communication surrounding these questions can be presented in a number of ways. First, it is essential that the business’s leadership team has an active role in communicating from their perspective the how’s and why’s and when’s of digital transformation happening to the business. Members of the business want hear the CEO’s answers to such questions. Then they want to compare them to the answers from CFO, COO, CIO, CCO…all the way to their immediate managers and team leaders. It is almost impossible for employees to hear too much about the full meaning of becoming a true digital culture.

In today’s intensely competitive global business arena, every edge is critical—and for most companies, there is no greater edge than a talented, motivated, and creative workforce.[1]

As much as employees want messages from leaders, they also want frequent and structured opportunities to share their own understanding, viewpoints, and possibilities regarding “all things digital.” Building a culture requires as much talking as listening.

Engaging the Players

The opportunity to discuss what’s going on regarding the business’s digital transformation is a critical form of engaging the people in developing the new culture. Consider three additional approaches to engaging employees to enhance their digital mindset.

  • Learning. One primary purpose of digital transformation is to remove routine, predictable, pattern-finding tasks from the human assignment. That means that people will be – or be expected to be – engaged in interactions with other people, in design thinking, in creative production. That will require learning opportunities in Agile/Scrum methodology, design thinking, collaboration skills.
  • Advances in AI from if-then-when algorithms to machine learning, significantly alter the learning experiences in which people can engage. Individuals can effectively be put in control of their learning as the digital technology provides ways to strengthen digital readiness. Experiential learning platforms offering blended, complementary information and education allow employees to experience digital technology working for them.
  • The tools and platforms with which information, education, learning experiences are exposed to the individual are increasing in novelty, number and effectiveness. Consider online/on demand, mobile, live streaming, learner-produced videos, AR/VR…as you recall instructor-led classroom training. The more a business uses the variety of exposures, the more thoroughly they build the digital technology a mindset a culture success.

Summary: 4 Tips for ‘Going Digital’ Effectively

  1. Digital technology should be accompanied by a true digital mindset among team members.
  2. An embedded and comprehensive digital readiness generates and reinforces a true digital culture.
  3. A well-designed and implemented communication strategy enables all members of the business to talk the digital talk that strengthens the digital culture.
  4. Engaging everyone in the business in learning, experiencing and enjoying exposure to the many ways digital makes a difference is the other half of the digital culture strategy.

The unrelenting pace of digital and workforce transformation are creating new challenges for all of us. The Dell EMC Education Services Team is focused on enabling customer success by expanding our education and certification portfolios for today’s market. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Dell EMC Education Service’s training and certifications, contact your Dell EMC representative or comment below and I’d be happy to respond.

[1] In Dell’s research Unleash the Creative Force of Today’s Workers, it found 20% of workers are satisfied with their technology and 42% of Millennials are likely to quit a job because of substandard technology.

Sources:

The Growing Demand for AR/VR in the Workplace

Redefine Your Workforce Enablement through Productivity

Unleash the Creative Force of Today’s Workers

 

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