Four things to consider when training a multigenerational workforce Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

As HR professionals and business owners, one of the most important functions you should engage in is providing training opportunities for your employees.

Training develops your employees’ knowledge and skills; increases their productivity and is a strategic tool for organisational growth.

Since there are several delivery methods that can be utilised when conducting training sessions, it is important to consider things like training goals, the number of employees being trained and the demographic makeup of the workforce to determine which delivery methods should be used.

Regarding the demographic makeup of the workforce, several HR Professionals report that they have a growing multigenerational workforce, as there are employees in the organisation from different generations/ age groups. When considering training for the multigenerational workforce, therefore, it is important to be mindful of the varying age(s) of your employees and to ensure that training can meet employee needs, across the different age groups.

Here are a few factors to consider when we discuss training for the multigenerational workforce:

Learning styles and preferences

Though there are commonalities in how employees learn, it is important to note that some persons from different age groups may also have different learning styles and preferences (for e.g. a preference for face-to-face/instructor-led training vs a preference for online training).

Considering this, it is important to note the differences and to be flexible with your delivery methods to accommodate them. This can mean utilising one method more so than another or incorporating a combination of different methods as needed.

Age stereotypes

While differences may exist in learning styles and preferences, it is important not to stereotype, and not to assume that all members of the same age group will prefer to be trained in the same way. This will avoid the error of using a particular training method- merely because we assume all persons of a particular age group will respond well to this method.

Career stages

Employees at different stages in their careers will have different needs, and training must be provided to support them at these different stages. A recent university graduate for instance will not have the same needs as a mid-career employee. Given the differences, training must be aligned with these different stages.

In-house skills

One of the benefits of having a multi-generational workforce is that employee knowledge and skills are wide and varied, and expertise can be found within the organisation for different areas. When considering training, therefore, organisations can utilise in-house expertise and employees from different age groups can train each other, thereby minimising the need for an external trainer for some subject areas (and reducing training costs in some instances).

The importance of employee training cannot be overemphasised. Since it is not feasible (or advisable) to provide separate training courses according to employees’ age group, it is best to design training programmes that can meet the needs of all learners, regardless of age.

This means being aware of the distinct/ unique needs of learners and incorporating varying training methods to accommodate everyone.

Malaika T. Edwards, PhD provides HR advisory services to business owners, HR professionals and individual clients. She is also an academic serving the needs of students in higher education. You can contact her for HR support by email at [email protected] You can also connect with her on LinkedIn at or on Instagram @drmalaika.edwards.