Meet Your Learners Where They Are

Jul 23, 2020 | Leadership, Training

If you’re like most business leaders in the service industry, you manage a staff that ranges from high school kids getting their feet wet in the job market to retirees trying to make a few extra bucks. Managing multiple generations takes excellent leadership skills, effective communication tactics and, often, the patience of a saint. One of the most challenging aspects of engaging employees in various age groups is delivering training that sticks with everyone. The key is to meet your learners where they are. Try these strategies with your employees.

Baby Boomers: Give Them Feedback

Be careful not to stereotype your baby boomer employees as technologically inept. The learning management system you use to deliver online training should be user-friendly enough for any employee to navigate. (If it’s not, you need to find a new LMS.) For people in the older generation, it’s not about how online training operates, it’s about how they take what they learn and apply it. Blended learning works well for everyone, but it’s particularly effective for these employees. They aren’t likely to accept a learn-it-and-move-on strategy. They want – and deserve – feedback on how well they implement what they’ve learned.

GenX: Give Them Credit for Their Experience

No one likes to feel like they’re being talked down to or patronized, and GenXers are particularly sensitive about this. As learners, people in Generation X want credit for what they already know. Of course, that doesn’t mean they can opt-out of important compliance and human resources training, but you can present it in a different way to them. For example, instead of saying, “Sexual harassment prevention training is required,” you can say, “I know you’ve probably already taken similar sexual harassment prevention training before, but it’s our company policy that you complete this course. When you’re done, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how it compares to other courses you’ve taken.”

Millennials: Give Them Some Control

As learners, millennials will have no trouble with technology-based training. After all, most of them have been interacting through devices longer than they’ve been driving! They don’t need you to tell them how an eLearning program works, but they would be more eager to learn if you gave them some control over how they do it. Let them create their own custom learning paths that align with their long-term goals. Not only will this improve their engagement, it could provide you with long-term career employees.

Online training is for learners from all generations, but how you present it and follow up with it should be unique to each employee. Remember, training is an ongoing process, not an event. Your online training program can’t stand alone – you and your supervisory staff must take an active role in it with every employee every day.

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