We sat down with Dippin’ Dots Manager of Training & Operations, Sara Bradley to discuss how she engages with Gen Z and Millennial employees to implement effective training. Sara has been with Dippin’ Dots for 8 years. She started as a team leader and has risen to the position she holds today. As a Millennial, Sara has an internal view on training best practices for the largest generation and the newest generation in the global workforce.

Sara emphasizes that the younger workforce is quick-minded, quick to catch on, and quick to lose interest. Millennials are amazing multitaskers. Sara suggests in order to keep their attention, provide your younger workforce with multiple things to do at a time. The Baby Boomers and Gen Xers shouldn’t be afraid to meet the new generations where they are. The training practices in place 30 years ago aren’t going to work anymore, people are different and the world is different. An example of this new world is microtraining. Microlearning can boost engagement to more than 50% [1].

Digital is the way of the future. Pen and paper are a way of the past. Sara showed us a giant printed manual she has on her desk that she updates every year.  She hopes in the next couple of years she’ll be able to transition this manual into a digital format. No more printing. In 2019, 86% of hospitality companies were found to use E-Learning solutions, up from 67% in 2017 [2].

As the digital age finally descends into the hospitality industry, Sara is adamant that the human aspect of these jobs is critical. “Dippin’ Dots is an experience. We ask most people that come in when and where their first experience was.” People create these moments and memories that live on with customers every day. The old way of training is “old and bland” as Sara likes to put it. Power points, paper handouts, checklists, and hard documents; these things are necessary for a business to run, but they can be digitized.

The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve states that employees forget 90% of what they’ve learned within the first month if their learning isn’t properly reinforced [3]. Sara sees this every day in her position. New hires are thrown an incredible amount of information in the beginning that it’s no shock things are forgotten. Retraining isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. With the influx of information, ever-changing health standard protocols, and the human aspect of forgetting, pieces of training should be evaluated consistently to ensure the program is as good as it can be.

Beyond training, Sara was given the advice early on to be everyone's cheerleader. Positive recognition is essential to building a healthy work culture. CHART Webinar “Culture Reset: Strengthening Your Business From the Inside Out - NRA Show + CHART", hosted by Braxton Luzier, discusses the need and the how-to for a healthy workplace culture [4].  "People have low self-esteem and depression and you don't know what somebody is going through. [Being their cheerleader] may have just helped them that day. It's honestly a life lesson, just be somebodies cheerleader."

Sara did leave us with some advice for future L&D professionals: Patience. Trainers, managers, and future directors will not understand everything right away. If you show other people patience, especially the younger workforce, they’ll be going to be patient with you too, it may just take more time for some than others.