Training and development approaches have evolved in many ways over the past few decades. With each generation entering the workplace, different preferences toward learning emerge, and many trends spike in popularity. Whether you’re a training professional looking to implement large-scale initiatives or a manager with a new 20-something team member, the idea presented below are guaranteed to engage your employees from the start.
Invest in Mentoring (Even if You Don’t Have a Formal Program)You may think mentors aren’t necessary when there are countless blog posts, e-learning modules, and Slack channels to connect this younger generation to their colleagues and build their development skills. Twenty-somethings grew up in a world where information was available at their fingertips through lightning-speed Wi-Fi connections and smartphones. Despite this immediate access to the worldwide web of content, 20-somethings traditionally grew up with structured schedules orchestrated by adults. In the workplace, they rely on managers to provide them with structure. It’s no surprise that almost 80 percent of employees are more engaged when they have a mentor at work.
If you have a formal mentoring program, grab any information you can to deliver to your team members. Your interest in their development will encourage their participation.
If you don’t have a formal program, you can still find a way to reap the benefits of mentorship. Employee resource groups, affinity groups, and company-sponsored events provide a great opportunity to meet colleagues who you may not interact with in your role. Encourage your team members to attend these events—or even better, match them with someone you know at the company who could be a great mentor.
Get PersonalIt’s sometimes hard to walk the line between buddy and boss, but the best way to engage your team is to make it personal. You should try to build a personal relationship and find out what makes your team members thrive. For one, it might be traveling to new places; another might love working on group assignments; and someone else may desire opportunities to speak in front of leadership.
Twenty-somethings crave connection. According to some estimates, a majority even want to hear from their managers once a day. As a manager, make sure you meet monthly—at a minimum—with your employees to chat about projects and growth. Provide them with opportunities to learn, whether it’s time off to attend a training workshop or, if you have a budget, a subscription to a specialty publication or professional association (like ATD).
Embrace DiversityThis generation was born into a globally connected world. Diversity and inclusion initiatives are a must-have to engage and retain Gen Z: 77 percent said a company’s diversity level affects their decision to work there. Despite their digital fluency, Gen Z prefers to interact with colleagues face-to-face, so conversation and connection is paramount to inclusion. Encourage your team members to attend employee resource groups or empower them to start their own. A one-size-fits-all training plan won’t do with this crew, so employ your team to find opportunities to implement inclusive strategies.
During my session at ATD 2019 International Conference & Exposition, we will explore more trends in learning that appeal to 20-somethings. I hope you can join me.