Oldies get with the programme

Baby boomers are starting to learn from Generation Y's approach to workplace training...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Senior execs are starting to employ GenY media like online video, social networking sites and even eBooks, according to a new report on leadership training from the Chartered Management Institute. The survey found that organisations are still spending their money on leadership development – and top directors and managers are increasingly using a variety of different media to get the training they need. Just goes to show that you can teach older dogs new tricks...

In the past, baby boomers have been considered a lot more technophobic than GenYers – reluctant to embrace new technologies, and slow to use them effectively. But it seems that times are changing: 51% said they’d used online video (up from 21% a year ago), 34% have got involved with social networking sites (up from 12% last year), and about a quarter had made use of eBooks or discussion forums. This is a big leap over the course of a year – it could just be the inevitable march of progress, but it might also mean that they’re looking for efficiencies at a time when cash is tight.

The good news is that the budgets are still there: the research (done in conjunction with the Centre for Applied Human Resource Research) found that 43% of companies now have a specific pot set aside for leadership training. And the delivery is getting more sophisticated – about three-quarters of those involved now get a mixture of face-to-face and online training (usually with a bit of on-the-job training thrown in, and often leading to some kind of formal qualification).

This is great for employers, because they get more bang for their buck: face time with a trainer is expensive, so by using additional media like video and forums, companies can make sure staff are learning all on their own. Plus it means the training is more likely to be effective, because it can be adjusted to suit different learning styles. It’s like in schools: these days teachers have to make sure the lessons appeal to those with visual, auditory or kinaesthetic (i.e. doing stuff) learning styles - as opposed to those in our day who used to stand there spouting dictation all lesson…

And if employees get a more suitable style of training, which they can follow at their own pace, the chances are that they’ll get more out of it. These figures suggest that baby boomers are starting to recognise the potential of alternative technologies when it comes to training – and at a time when companies desperately need senior staff to be on the top of their game, this has to be a good thing...

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Oldies get with the programme

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