Ninety percent of Gen Z knowledge workers face social discomfort or anxiety in the workplace, according to a study from learning and engagement platform Kahoot. Indeed, the survey found that more than a third of Gen Z employees, 35%, must deal with social anxiety on a near-daily basis. Only 10% never experience it.
The research found that 44% of the workers have anxiety when asked to deliver presentations, and 38% of said they’re uneasy about voicing their opinion during a meeting.
All of this, said Kahoot, can be attributed to the shortcomings of Gen Z’s education in areas such as networking (32%), emotional intelligence (35%), conflict resolution (35%), stress management (39%) and creativity (39%).
Necessary Workplace Changes
To alleviate these issues, respondents stressed the importance of a “non-judgmental, safe space workspace.” In fact, more than half, 53%, said a positive work environment was a strong incentive for active participation. Notably, the survey found that women particularly value advanced notice if they are asked to contribute their point of view in meetings or presentations. Forty-four percent felt that way.
Meanwhile 36% of Gen Z said they trust their employers’ ability to provide the skills they’ll need for future success. However, the other two-thirds had a clear message: employers must improve their efforts when it comes to skills training.
Gen Z’s SOS plea for soft skills training resonates as a critical necessity in today’s professional landscape, Kahoot said. The survey underscored this feeling, placing soft skills advancement (communication, leadership and negotiation skills) at the top Gen Z’s immediate employer priorities list.
“All employers are looking for the key to unlock the full potential of their workforce,” said Kahoot Vice President James Micklethwait. “This study validates that to help their Gen Z employees bring their A-game to work, employers need to place soft skills advancement at the top of their priorities list while also experimenting with innovative, quick and real approaches to communication and training which are mindful of their social discomfort.”