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Article No.: 17-7, July 10, 2017

Article Title: Re-Inventing Training and Development: Strategies for Millennials and Gen Z

Author: Linda Gravett, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, CEQC

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If you’re a Boomer or Gen Xer, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not your grandparents’ workplace – or even the one in which you began your career.  Work styles and “work ethic” have changed.  The way that the two youngest generations, Millennials and Gen Z (between 16 and 32) like to learn is way different from the classroom style training that older generations experienced.  What does this mean for those of us who design professional development efforts?  It means a completely fresh approach is necessary if we want to capture young workers’ enthusiasm.  Let’s take a look at methods that need to go and approaches that will spark, and keep, peoples’ interest.

You To to Let It Go Incorporate into Training Initiatives
Structured Classroom Lectures Informal, casual, improptu experiences
Mentors must be much older than their mentees Clear connections between peoples' roles and business objectives
Day-long classroom training Fun, interactive learning activities
Training with lags in time before trainees use new knowledge Experimental training (like job shadowing)
Throw new employees into their job and let them learn by doing Opportunities to lead portions of projects
Ted Talks on YouTube
Gamification of class materials (like "Jeopardy Style" activities

One company I work with has what they call “power huddles”, which are excellent teaching tools.  These brief bursts of sharing occur, for example, when an employee returns from a workshop and has a few interesting items to share with co-workers.  He or she calls an impromptu huddle around a desk or in a conference room for about 10 minutes to “download” key points or ideas.  The group briefly discusses how they might incorporate the new knowledge into their work.  This exercise leverages training opportunities to provide real value immediately.

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