It has been said that younger workers don't like to learn. Maybe it's time to update the training methods to appeal to a new generation. Change can be good.
Why is it hard to get young workers excited about learning? Here are some possibilities:
- Current training methods are no longer the most effective
- The 20-something generation is "not like past generations of employees"
- Young employees don't like to read, and
- Today's youth live in a prosperous economy with many job options.
Once again the labor crisis strikes. Only this time it's not that the employees aren't out there, it's that we aren't doing what it takes to keep the ones we already have. We know what needs to be done, and we like to get together to talk about it. But it's time to stop talking, stop playing it safe, and time to start doing! Here's a little story:
A farmer, sitting on the steps of his tumbledown shack, was approached by a stranger who stopped for a drink of water.
"How's your wheat coming along?" asked the stranger.
"Didn't plant none."
"Really? I thought this was good wheat country."
"Afraid it wouldn't rain."
"Oh. Well, how's your corn crop?"
"Ain't got none," said the farmer.
"Didn't you plant any corn, either?"
"Nope, 'fraid of corn blight."
"For heaven's sake," said the stranger. "What did you plant?"
"Nothin'," said the farmer. "I just played it safe."
Anyone who has to make decisions cannot escape the tension, the emotional strain, involved. Nor can they "just play it safe" by avoiding decisions. Inability to cope with this basic fact of life has stopped many people, and many companies, short of their real potential.
As owners and managers, there's one clear first step...and that is to change. Change the way we view this mysterious generation of 20-somethings. Change the way we train. Change the way we view our own jobs as managers of people. Change the way we view training as a one-shot, necessary evil that's just another expense on the books. Change is good... you go first.
Change doesn't have to be hard, and it doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, I guarantee that in the long run, it will save you money and help you succeed. There are lots of ways to start overcoming your own labor challenges today—not tomorrow. So don't wait. Start today. Stop thinking about it, and stop complaining about it. Make the change.
Bill Main is a nationally-recognized author, consultant and speaker. His company, Bill Main & Associates, specializes in strategic growth plans for foodservice entrepreneurs. For information on how you can grow your top line revenues through innovative marketing, menu, leadership and training systems, visit www.billmain.com.