The mouse that visited my flat last week had clearly read Spencer Johnson’s book. Failing to find any cheese in my sparkling kitchen meant he came and he left; presumably to find new, more pasteurised pastures. Obviously we patched up all the holes we could find to make certain he couldn’t return, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t have wanted to anyway. The fact is- he was hungry, tired and found a bag full of carrier bags to lay in while he sniffed out his next move. If only all of us were that resourceful.

Johnson’s ‘Who moved my Cheese?’ has reached a mature, old age of 16, but still Leaders and Change Managers alike return to the moral of that story: we must adapt to a changing environment in order to survive. This has never been more relevant to how the workplace needs to adapt ready for Generation Z.

While some critics have deemed Generation Z as ‘lazy’, I believe quite the opposite. In fact, Generation Z are used to doing things for themselves, digitally. This generation do not want to ask for help, many hate picking up the phone. And while consumer products and the internet has kept up with this trend, HR systems are still struggling to find their cheese.

When Generation Z enter their first real job and their managers give them access to a bland, self-service system and a training manual, they will look back at you, perplexed. Gen Z are not used to training manuals. They have gone mouldy in their lifetime. I’ve never even seen any of them open their iPhone guide, or even need to ask for help with Facebook. In fact, it’s actually difficult to go wrong on Google (unless your search term could be classed as a double-entendre)!

The new wave of HR technology, SaaS solutions in particular, have been concentrating on the user-experience. And thank  goodness. I can clearly see there being a time where nobody will ask how to update your marital status on the system, because they will intuitively know. Many SaaS HR systems now contain powerful search functionality where you can explore all the things that you can do and more importantly all the things that you have permission to access. Not only are these platforms easy to use, but they look better – they have moved into the social age where you are able to create your own profile. HR’s platform has transcended into an employee’s space where they can record their awards, successes and receive recognition that is to their manager’s tastes. That’s not just where the fun stops – the fact that your SaaS vendor will perform a number of updates throughout the year means that you will always have the latest HR technology, continuously refined to cater to the digital native end-users. So, while HR technology is evolving, what does this mean for HR?

As a Consultant, the most common phrase I hear during technology implementations is ‘how do I encourage self-service?’ or ‘how do I teach people how to use this?’ To answer these questions, we should return to my mouse: if there is nothing there for them, they will leave, never to return.
…And the question about training Gen Z to use a system? Please burn the training manual. Even Haw decides to let Hem find his own way. Gen Z will tell you – it’s all in the marketing.