Top tips on training Generation Y and Z


By Graham David, managing director, Blue Beetle

In a digital age, for Generation Y and Z, training must be brought to life, interactively, bit by bit. Generation Y has been shaped by the technological revolution that occurred throughout their youth with smart phones and tablets now the norm and being online and connected 24/7 seen as essential to the vast majority. Five years from now the intake of Generation Z employees will consist of people who have only ever known a wireless, hyper-linked world.

The challenge for businesses and organisations looking to further the learning and development of their Generation Y and Z employees lies in ensuring they are focused and engaged in order for the training being delivered to have real and lasting impact.

Here are some top tips to remember when developing training for this group:

1. They like a collaborative approach to learning, want on demand delivery of information and knowledge at their fingertips as they are tech-savvy. Yet they can have a short attention span, become bored easily and lose concentration.

2. Traditional ‘talk and chalk’ training is unlikely to be the most effective method of delivering essential skills training as it can be dry and too ‘static’ in format.

3. Training needs to be interactive, high-impact and entertaining in order to grab and maintain their attention and ensure the knowledge is retained and put into practise outside of the training room.

4. Using high quality theatre techniques in a business context can deliver results as it is engaging and captures interest right from the start of a training session.

5. Role-play is almost universally disliked and guaranteed to have delegates sinking into their seats. Instead why not use ‘live action case studies’ using actors to present situations specific to both the topic in hand and to the organisation in question. This brings ideas and training concepts to life and ensures that delegates leave having seen, understood and retained the messages and can go away and act upon them.

6. Another method of training that is effective with this group is the training video. Provided that they are not too long and dull, they are an excellent way of incorporating a case study element, without the need to bring in actors.

7. Encourage delegates to make their own training videos using their own devices. This encourages a collaborative approach that harnesses their technological skills and allows them to be creative. Asking delegates to curate their own content via their devices and then find ways to use it, for example by creating their own Flipboard on the subject, or their own training video, is a powerful and effective way to achieve good results. This can then be beamed on to a large screen and shared with all attendees.

8. Further enhance the collaborative learning element that is so important in creating an effective learning environment for Generation Y and Z by incorporating Twitter, discussion forums, instant messaging and the like into the design of a training course. In their own personal time these employees are choosing to spend a lot of time on their devices and expect to be able to connect to each other and send relevant information or updates as and when they please, so encouraging these activities as part of the learning process can be highly effective in getting the message across.

9. Keep training bite-sized in order to maintain interest and concentration. Break it up with other activities.

10. Training that blends energy, humour and strong content will be effective in delivering the required results.


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