Filling The Generational Training Gap

Generational Training GapThe generational shift in the workforce is creating a looming training gap for today’s corporate leaders. A store clerk from 20 years ago and a retail associate today are two very different people. The former might be filling out a Sudoku puzzle in the daily newspaper meanwhile the latter you would likely find tethered to their smartphone playing Angry Birds, as they sit across from one another in the break room. It wouldn’t be all that surprising that the store clerk and today’s smartphone touting retail associate would also, learn very differently.

Tactics such as succession planning and mentoring are being employed today, more than ever before in an effort to combat such discrepancies.  As organizations worldwide brace for a serious workforce shift, new graduates and seasoned CEOs are all singing the same tune: we are facing a generational training gap.

The assumption that training gaps only applied to high-tech organizations is an outdated one. Eric Spiegel, president and CEO of Siemens spoke about the impacts of training gaps in manufacturing at a Washington Post live event last month.

“America has a training gap, until we put the burden on those who train rather than those who need to be trained, we’ll never solve this problem. If we lose the manufacturing, then the innovation leaves with it and now, all of a sudden, what are we left to do in America?” said Spiegel.

In a recent interview Accenture’s Michael Denham discusses the impact and the connection between training investment and business performance. His firm polled some 1,000 graduates who graduated in 2011 and 2012 as well as another 1,000 who are set to graduate this year. Over 75% of graduates polled said they expect their employers to prepare and train them. Whereas only 48% of those surveyed said they actually received training in their first year on the job, that’s less than half.

It’s no secret that the next generation of learners will expect and demand the next generation of training solutions that are fun, engaging, social as well as challenging. These alarming conclusions are acting as a call to organizations everywhere to rethink their approach to multi generational training. Ensuring that these solutions deliver the participation and efficacy will become the key element to filling the looming generational training gap.

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