Engaging Generation Y in Workplace Learning

I’m at the CIPD annual HRD12 event. It’s the biggest formal conference event for learning and development professionals in the UK but is also a well known and attended event by international delegates.

The first session I’m at is Engaging Generation Y in Workplace Learning. Ian Anderton, UK Head of Learning and Development at KPMG, talked about how at KPMG they have 10000 employees in the UK and approximately 66% of the workforce are in Generation Y. The need for them to understand how to recruit for this group better and serve their development needs better was clear because of the high turnover in this group.

They have developed a very interactive and engaging online space to help with assessment centre preparation, recruitment, and an online area post-offer where they can connect with others. They make good use of Yammer, and creating internal opportunities to develop ideas and solutions for their clients which can be put forward for review. Apparently social media is open for employees to use.

It was certainly good to see that the recruitment activities are focused on attracting and helping to assess the right needs of the Gen Yers that join KPMG. However, what was lacking was hearing about how they’ve changed their L&D approach to cater for the new ways of learning that this generation seem to demand.

Next, Michelle Luxford, HR Director for Travelodge, gave us her insights into what her company has been able to do to engage the Gen Y group. The hotel group’s main problems were that they needed to be seen as an employer of choice for this young group, hospitality is not seen as a career destination, and that they needed to recruit 400 managers over the next four years.

I really like the solution they came up with. They created a management apprenticeship scheme called JuMP – Junior Management Apprenticeship Programme. The idea here is giving them on the job experience, gaining externally accredited qualifications, off site development and project work, and support and delivery of materials from senior managers and the CEO. They recruited through online job boards and also used social media well.

Importantly, for me, this seems to be the bang on way to help our one million unemployed get on the right road to gainful employment. These apprentices will complete the scheme in a few years and end up managing a hotel on their own. That is seriously impressive, and is the kind of solution we should be thinking of in a wider context.

I’m left a bit wanting in how mobile technology can be used to facilitate their learning and development, how internal social networks can offer more than a collaboration space, and how actual L&D initiatives need to adapt and develop internal new ways of delivering which meet their needs.

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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