Out with the Old, In with the New: Addressing Young Workers’ Training Needs

According to a new poll, Generation Y workers, or those ages 18 to 29, are more likely to appreciate shorter training sessions, flexible training options and remote learning enabled by mobile devices. Companies therefore should consider adapting their training programs in order to better engage these young workers.

"Workers under the age of 30 grew up with different tools and expectations than middle-aged workers and Baby Boomers," said Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options, which commissioned a poll of 459 working Americans. "As a result, they process and absorb information differently than previous generations.”

The poll shows that 75 percent of young workers claimed they would find training programs more valuable if they could be available remotely through hand-held mobile devices. In comparison, only 40 percent of respondents age 30-45 and 26 percent age 46-65 also held this view.

“Younger professionals are more inclined to communicate and interact effectively through technology, so the standard model of one person lecturing to a room full of people may not be the most productive approach to reach this age group,” Debnam explained.

Younger workers also prefer shorter training sessions. Sixty-three percent said they’d find workplace training sessions more valuable if they were less time consuming. Only 39 percent of respondents overall, and 36 percent age 30-45, also felt this way.

The desire for shorter, remote training sessions does not mean that Generation Y workers are averse to training entirely, however. The poll reveals that 95 percent of young employees said they would be more comfortable talking to supervisors if internal communications training was provided at work. Sixty-seven percent of respondents age 30-45 and 66 percent of workers age 46-65 held this view.

Debman also serves as president of Public Policy Polling, which conducted this national survey in May.

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