Original Post by Liz Dowling:
Training across generations is a hot topic in my brain because I feel perplexed on how to solve certain issues without offending or wasting time of others. A standout example comes from my sister. They host monthly or quarterly staff meetings as teachers and every session since the beginning of COVID-19, they hold a Zoom learning session. A year and change later, they are still teaching teachers how to use Zoom. My sister’s frustration as a 40 year old woman is that she is tech-savvy and feels as though so much time is being wasted for those who understand the program well and they’re not doing enough for those who still struggle using the app. I immediately think they should host smaller, interactive sessions with those who struggle with technology but would that cause conflict, alienating those who do not know how to use it? I want to respond with tough love, saying let’s use our resources better, and single out the teachers who struggle so we can ensure a better success rate and educate the students better.
As I use the example from the above after reading and researching the above, I think about how different generations learn differently, especially involving technology where some employees have always been around computers since they were kids. When building a training program around something, I would first think about the stereotypical challenges each generation might go through, yet I would still treat everyone individually. In my opinion, it would easier and more fair to sit down with managers and ask their perceptions on what their strengths and weaknesses are. By knowing this, you customize and adjust how much time to spend on certain topics versus others. In addition, when there is a discussion, utilize the diverse team to help discuss with each other if there is confusion. Utilizing different team members can help describe in ways that might help get through.
Manning, George. 2014. The Art of Leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill.
It is crucial for a leader to hold the attention of his/her followers, and a great way to do that is to take inventory at the beginning about who needs what type of support. It will make the trainees feel listened to right away which will aid in holding their attention. From there, awesome point that having small group sessions embedded into the training program would be efficient. I do not feel as though it would cause conflict because, if it’s optional, people who do not know how to use zoom can choose to attend the small group sessions. Plus, once they learn the skill, they won’t need to attend the sessions anymore. So, if they are offended for having to do to training for skills they do not have, then they can just combat the frustration by learning the skills. With all the resources out on the worldwide web, employees who are embarrassed to attend the small group sessions can always just learn the material on their own. As a result, there is no doubt introducing small group sessions would improve efficiency. I also agree with the idea of adjusting time spent on certain topics based upon knowing background of the trainees.
Reply by Liz Dowling:
My thought around the conflict was that I could cause some hurt feelings and lose some people if handled incorrectly. I’m sympathetic with teachers who taught twenty plus years and are now expected to give the same level of experience online in the middle of a pandemic. Those teachers may not be tech-savvy and always lean on their significant other to help them with tech. Now, enough training sessions have gone by and there’s shame and/or embarrassment involved. Singling them out could shut them down at work rather than support them to succeed with Zoom. I think offering the option to allow them to research on their own is an option but my fear is that if they’ve gone this long without success, they may not be self-motivated to do the research. As I continue to break this example down, I think one on one training may be the best option for success for those identified. This option can help break down any negative emotion around this topic because none of their colleagues are around and can go at the pace they need to finally tackle the topic.