New Kids on the Block

Training young staffers is a critical yet complicated endeavor. Get 6 strong ideas here.

This year, the youngest millennials are 23 and the oldest members of Gen Z are 22. While your 20-something staffers are officially from two different generations (Gens Y and Z), they are your newest newbies, and as such, in need of a strategic training plan.

How can you train to retain this age group? A real plus is the fact that, having grown up on social media, they’re good communicators. They just need help transferring those skills to business.

Here, we serve up three clever ECP-tested training tips plus three key training strategies that will appeal to your newest young employees.


Here, three pro ECPs share what works for them in training Gen Y and Gen Z staffers.

» Video Tools.

Gary Kaschak, ABO, Sterling Optical franchisee in North Wales, PA

Since they’ve grown up with YouTube, Snapchat, and live-streaming, “the product-centric, consumer-friendly videos used in the waiting room are perfect training tools for them.”

» Lists + More.

Monica Larimore, ABO, optical coordinator, Eagle Vision & Eye Clinic, Longmont, CO

“We have monthly optical meetings. They’re very organized. We have lists, etc., to make sure everything is clear and everyone is on the same page. That’s especially important for young employees.”

» Daily Huddle.

Mario Gutierrez, O.D., owner, Vision Source Alamo Heights, Alamo, TX

“A daily huddle is great. We’d go over who was coming in and what we’d be working on. It’s informal and ongoing training, especially important for younger staffers.”


Here’s some key intel on and ideas for the younger cohort to optimize your training efforts.

#1. Feedback. According to recent research released by the Center for Generational Kinetics, two-thirds of Gen Z respondents want some supervisory feedback at least every few weeks, preferably via technology. Though millennials prefer frequent feedback, as well, most require less frequency.

#2. Communication. Gen Zers prefer to use Messenger over email—and they’d definitely prefer training on a mobile platform, as well, according to the Center for Generational Kinetics report. For them, mixed media works well, and images say it best. But do it fast—their attention span is short.

#3. Advancement. Communicate the big picture, says Forbes Communications Council, but offer rewards step by step and tie them into training successes.

Often more tech-savvy than the people training them, these youngest staffers believe it’s at least partly their own responsibility to keep current with technology. That’s definitely good news for your training team. —STEPHANIE K. DE LONG