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12 Minute read

The power of personalisation for Gen Z: real-time data, real impact, real fast

Posted by - The 100th Monkey, Category: Early Careers Development

To engage early careers professionals, we must deepen our understanding of the needs of Gen Z.

They’ve grown up in a world that is data-driven, instant, multimodal, often gamified, and above all – personalised. As everyone who has facilitated sessions with early careers professionals knows, the training and development approaches we use have to work harder to cut through.

"Personalisation is the game changer"

There’s been a lot of progress already. Training is more experiential, more immersive and more interactive. But the game changing difference that we have found, is when you can build on those qualities to create a group training experience that is truly personalised.

Taking our flagship Impact & Influence programme as an example, here’s how the personalised approach delivers training to Gen Z that is more engaging, relevant, approachable, and entertaining.

Personalised, so it’s engaging

Gen Z have grown up in a data-driven world where almost every experience can be targeted to their needs – Spotify’s customised playlists, TikTok’s targeted ads, Netflix’s ‘because you watched…’ recommendations. It’s no wonder that 75% prefer personalised products, and 45% say they will leave a website if it doesn’t predict what they want.

In a development context, this means it’s not enough to just teach a boxed communications theory. It’s not even enough to ask trainees to consider how a theory could apply to their work scenarios. As facilitators we need to work harder to show how it applies to them personally. For example, we use live, in-session capture and review of real-time data for each participant’s speaking skills, including individual pitch, pace, and sentence length analysis. Participants are eager to see where they sit in the dimensions we are exploring, and engaged around their specific opportunities for growth towards what good looks and sounds like. It’s also a tech-savvy approach, which resonates.

Personalised, so it’s relevant

It’s hard to engage with training if you can’t see how you will use it – and for a generation that is deluged with content, relevance is particularly important.

Development programmes can maximise relevance by having participants work through examples from their personal experience, and most importantly using real-world content that they can put into action following the session. For example, we ask early careers learners to explore new communication skills by developing a personal introduction – something they will need often in their early professional lives, whether it be starting in new teams or working with new clients. By using their own content, we take theory into practice immediately, as communications experts we are able to help refine language and structure, and enhance the value of the training.


Personalised, so it’s approachable

Between tight economies and post-pandemic anxieties, Gen Z are the most stressed generation in the workplace.[i] But, paradoxically, using personalised metrics in training can actually depersonalise feedback, and make it feel less threatening.

For example, analysing presentation skills as a set of components (e.g., eye contact, pace, etc.) reframes communications skills as behaviours they can control, rather than personal ability. Focusing on one variable at a time also provides a clear and manageable pathway to improvement.

Another important aspect of personalisation is to assess individual needs, like neurodivergence, in advance of the session. That way any necessary adaptations for those individuals can be seamlessly integrated on the day, and every participant can come into the session feeling confident that they can participate fully.

Personalised, so it’s entertaining

Gen Z have to manage a constant stream of inputs, across multiple channels – which might explain their reduced attention spans, and predilection for quick payoffs and multimodal experiences.

This means that the delivery format and structure matters as much as the content. Multimodal content is essential, with energetic transitions between theory, video, and personalised engagement, like the opportunity to practice new skills live with instant expert feedback.

Personalised gamification is highly effective to boost motivation, and deliver a sense of achievement. Participants in our Impact & Influence programme are recorded at the start of the process and then again at the end, culminating in a split-screen video analysis of their transformed communications skills (the ‘before and after’ approach). Comparing their past and present performance is less daunting than comparisons to peers, and the evidence of their personal progress means they leave the room feeling confident and proud.

Personalised so it… works!

Far from being incongruous with group training, personalisation can actually enhance group learning, and ensure that every learner is engaged and receptive. The results we’ve seen with multiple early careers programmes show that the personalisation model is working – an approach that resonates with Gen-Z learners, and drives better results, faster.

[i] Cigna International. Global Wellbeing Survey 2022.

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