The current world is watching several social circumstances collide to create the “Perfect Storm” as it relates to interpersonal skills and communication abilities.

The first climate contributor to the “Perfect Storm” is contained within the workforce itself. As Baby Boomers have retired at exponential rates, making Millennials the largest part of the workforce in 2017.4F But that shift is rapidly being overtaken by the next generation of workers: Generation Z. “Generation Z is actually the largest cohort in the world with just under two billion people–26% of the global population5F,” said Kevin Thorpe, global chief economist and head of research with Cushman & Wakefield.

And they have been raised in a digital, technologically advanced world. 98% of them own a smartphone, 92% have a digital footprint, 50% are connected online for 10 hours per day, and 80% feel distressed when kept away from their personal electronic devices.6F They have grown up with multiple screens active at the same time, not just one, and they are entering adulthood as the country’s most racially and ethnically diverse generation while becoming the best educated generation yet, according to a Pew Research Center report.

With all that said about Generation Z, here is the most important thing to note as it relates to performance management and interpersonal skills: 72% prefer face-to-face conversation.

The second climate contributor to the “Perfect Storm” is COVID-19. In a great article titled After COVID-19 Comes the Biggest Workforce Training Challenge Since WWII by Brian Dashew, he makes the following observation.

“We must think of this challenge from both the perspective of adult educators and learners. Standard models of training will be insufficient to face this challenge because there will not be sufficient expertise for training all people. And simply trying to increase the scale of traditional “trainer” roles through train-the-trainer programs will take time and human resources that render it economically unviable.

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