How To Design Onboarding Online Training For Gen Z

How To Design Onboarding Online Training For Generation Z Corporate Learners

There’s a joke doing the rounds on Twitter. It quotes a teenager at a job interview. She/He says, ‘I’ve been described as an old soul, so I identify and connect with Millennials’. Yes, they have finally joined us in the annals of the ‘aged’. Move over Gen Y … it’s time for Gen Z. Sometimes labeled iGen, these youngsters were born after 1995 and are now entering the workforce. We’ve spent the last decade demystifying Millennials. Now there’s a whole new demographic to work around. How fast can we learn to speak their language? Below are 7 top tips to design onboarding online training for Generation Z corporate learners.

7 Tips To Train Gen Z New Hires

1. Day One

Can you remember your first day of work? You may have been nervous, wondering exactly what was expected of you. After all, your education and credentials don’t often tell you how to use them. Having a law degree and passing the bar doesn’t show you what it’s like to intern at a law firm. And sometimes onboarding involves the simplest things. It tells your new hire what to do when they first walk into the office. And you don’t have to wait for them to arrive. As soon as their employment status is confirmed, send them a care package. It could be something as simple as a video intro and a brief run-down of what they can expect during the onboarding process.

2. Virtual Seating Chart

Your Gen Z version of the ever-popular seating chart should include contracts, job descriptions, and terms of reference. It can also include their new email logins so they can access their onboarding kit. Remember, iGen is research-based. They google everything, so align yourself to their data-driven outlook. Incorporate practical aspects, like a virtual office tour. Show them where they’ll be working, who to ask when they get stuck, and where the bathrooms are. When you design onboarding online training courses, you can also guide them on office policies and commuting options. This kind of online training for Generation Z will make them feel less like a lost freshman and gives a good first impression. It’s especially useful for those dealing with strict COVID safety precautions. For instance, they need to know the social distancing norms and how to properly decontaminate their workspace.

3. Lead With Data

While many members of Generation Z learn by doing, their approach is different from ours. We mostly dove into things headfirst. We arrived at work on Day One and asked the boss what to do. Or we just followed people around the office until we figured things out. iGen employees form a case file even before they apply. They know the CEO’s name and their favorite breed of fish. Onboarding online training for Generation Z employees should allow for this. Use the same attention to detail they would, but include onboarding online training content they can’t find on their own.

For example, start the onboarding online training course with a brief summary of what the content entails, how long it should take, and the real-world benefits. Include a company origin story so that they get a feel for your identity and company culture. This personalizes the online training experience rather than simply asking them to plug into the data stream and absorb facts and stats.

4. Teach Some Tasks

They’ve probably googled, ‘What’s it like to work at XYZ’ or ‘What’s a typical first day as an *insert job title*. Onboarding online training for Generation Z corporate learners should be concerned about the typical tasks you’ll assign them on their first day, week, or month. Present templates and simulations for those tasks so they know what to expect. You can also develop brief how-to videos and build a comprehensive archive. It should contain projects and activities they’ll routinely be required to do. Make the archive easy to navigate, so new hires can quickly pull up a tutorial when they need it. Keep it broad and helpful – everything from ‘how to program the printer’ to ‘how to request time off.’

5. Short And Stimulating

iGen is used to bite-sized chunks, whether it’s texting lingo or 10-episode seasons. Whatever online training material you generate has to abide by this. Limit chunks of text to 5-minute-reads, and keep videos below 60 seconds. Your online training content – whether they’re words, pictures, or ambient sound links – should offer an immersive multimedia experience. Use strong visuals, vibrant colors, and high definition. They’re used to having all their senses engaged, both at work and during play. Incorporate these elements if you really want to reach them.

6. Multimedia

Develop onboarding online training for Generation Z that’s accessible via mobile, with or without a data connection. For example, invest in an LMS that supports offline mobile. Smartphones are the tools iGen most frequently engages with. Use it to your benefit. Designing for mobile will also prime you to keep your online training content concise. You should include lots of serious games. This won’t necessarily lighten the levity of your online training course, so don’t worry. After all, iGen usually takes their gaming very seriously. Merging work and play is a great way to keep them engaged. Plus, gamification is a proven aid to recall and an effective online training tool.

7. Peer Coaching

The older generations in your team have a vast amount of experience to offer your Gen Z new hires. So, develop a peer-based coaching program that allows them to pair up and share skills. Gen Z employees can help those who may not be as tech-savvy, while more mature co-workers can show them the ropes and offer troubleshooting tips based on their area of expertise.


Training employees can be challenging, especially when there’s a generation gap involved. And now the iGen is taking control of the reigns, we have to keep up, for all our sakes (it’s profitable too – keep them happy and they’ll make you more money). Before they start work, send them a prep-pack with virtual tours of the physical office space. Offer practical, task-based online training for Generation Z as part of their onboarding. Create an online training library of how-to’s they can refer to at will. Keep online training modules short, sweet, and easily navigable.

Our eBook From New Recruits To Rising Stars: Using Employee Onboarding Software To Help New Talent Reach Their Full Potential has all the information you need to train Gen Z staffers. Or any generation, for that matter. It covers everything from popular onboarding myths to ROI-boosting training tips.

eBook Release: Homebase


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