Don't just react, adapt to new generations of workers
Employers should not react to "every whim" of the younger generation, but they cannot "hold fast to the old and expect emerging generations to conform" either, says social researcher and commentator Mark McCrindle.
Find out what motivates your staff"Young workers are part of the world's most interactive generation," McCrindle says, but when it comes to engagement, the problem is not "the generation gap" but "a communication gap".
"Find out what motivates your staff," and bear in mind it will not necessarily be what motivates you; conduct surveys and one-to-one discussions, identify "individual needs and aspirations", and implement a "development plan" for each employee, he says.
It is also important to "think workmates not employees", he says. Young workers often cite "relationships with peers" as a significant influence in getting, or keeping, a job. "An environment where they can interact socially and work collaboratively is highly regarded by Gen Y-ers. So adopt strategies that encourage social interaction and relationship building," McCrindle says.
Consider "multi-modal" trainingIn a matter of decades, students' preferred learning style has shifted from being mainly auditory to visual and kinaesthetic, says McCrindle.
Today's students are active learners who favour interactive techniques such as on-the-job training. This means the boss should not only be "an expert" but "something of a coach and mentor" as well.
Younger employees have shorter attention spans but they are great at multi-tasking. Training should reflect this by being "multi-modal" says McCrindle. "By multi-modal we mean that facilitators need to constantly re-engage their audience - from discussion to talk to break - in order to keep their attention and, therefore, be effective," he says.
McCrindle says the four elements of effective training are:
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