Monday, March 26, 2007

Adjusting to Generation Y

Barbara Rose reported in an article in Hartford Courant (CT) (03/19/07) recently that:
Employers adopt high-tech training strategies to engage the growing number of Generation Y employees, according to experts. Generation Y is the most rapidly-growing workforce segment, currently making up 20 percent of the private sector. To entertain, teach, and impress those who grew up in the era of gaming and instant messaging, employers are now using computer games and simulations, animated training modules, and video blogs instead of traditional recruitment and training methods. These approaches help new employees memorize job details; the online games and quizzes also weed out those who are adverse to putting in time and effort. The new techniques--used by companies such as Nike, Cisco Systems, and Cold Stone Creamery--accommodate Generation Y's preference for short spurts of information rather than long explanations. Employers are also aware that Generation Y workers typically expect involved managers, rewards, and validation, which forces firms to reform their training strategies to accommodate those expectations. Nike credits its interactive "Sports Knowledge Underground" program with a 5 percent to 6 percent increase in sales. Cisco program manager Jerry Bush points out that after five minutes playing Cisco's binary math computer game, the employee solves 50 problems and is "highly engaged and having a good time."

  • It seems possible that some content may be necessary but unavailable in the higher production values this audience seems to demand. How do you manage the expectations of these learners?

  • How do you ensure the "short spurts of information" do not lead the learner down an unproductive path or leave out critical information?
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