How to keep training relevant

How to keep training relevantEngaging younger staff members can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Our training team gives a few handy tips on how to reach the new generation.

A recent article on Harpers, titled Mind the gap: on-trade wine training hitting buffers with non-wine drinking millennials, painted a gloomy picture of the millennial generation. It concluded that “a lack of familiarity with and interest in wine among young staff is presenting a challenge to the on-trade”.

Bibendum Wine Educator, Emily Humphreys, believes that this paints a one-sided picture. “I meet plenty of younger people on a daily basis who are really engaged and passionate about wine, as well as plenty of older people who couldn’t give two hoots. The cry of ‘This wine tastes like vinegar!’ can (and does) just as easily come from a 50 year old as a 20 year old.

“Being born in the mid-eighties, I am technically a millennial, but having grown up in a time when my friends and I recorded the Radio 1 Top 40 to cassette every week and when my first mobile phone resembled a brick with an antenna, I have little in common with twenty-something “millennials” and the tech-led lifestyles they supposedly represent,” Emily says.

“I suspect that most twenty-somethings don’t define themselves by their ability to use the latest technology, or particularly wish to ascribe themselves to a stereotype that groups over 80 million people together based solely on age.

“So if you want to engage with so-called millennials in your workplace, I suggest to stop calling them that. Forget the label, or their age for that matter, and start thinking about your staff as individuals. When you start to think of them individually and get to know them and what makes them tick, you’ll stand a much better chance of engaging with them.”

Keep training relevant

It’s important to make training short, succinct and to the point. Emily suggests, “In an era of multimedia and multitasking, the average attention span has fallen from 12 to 8 seconds over the last 15 years – compared to goldfish, with an attention span of 9 seconds... So stick to the main facts – what do you want them to be able to do, and what do they need to know to get there?”

Paint a picture

“Bring the wine to life. Staff and customers alike love a good story – they want to know that the wine was made by Bob and Sue, or that it was named after their pet pig,” Emily says. “If your staff aren’t wine drinkers themselves, then these stories are more relatable to them than what is inside the bottle. Similarly customers want to know that what they’re buying is unique.”

Think mobile

“Whether to define them by it or not, this is a generation of tech users and those seeking to educate should embrace that. Technology has gone mobile and so has learning – apps, podcasts and YouTube videos are all useful tools to build engagement and create fun around learning,” she says.

Give them a voice (and listen to it)

“Don’t just tell your younger staff members what you want them to know or think. Twenty-somethings are constantly being talked at and told what to do, whether that’s in life generally or in the workplace,” Emily explains.

“It’s also condescending to think that you might need to learn to ‘speak millennial’. At the end of the day, everyone wants the same thing – to be valued for who they are and to make a contribution. So give them the big picture, a seat at the table and see what happens – you might just be surprised...”

Contact us to speak to a member of our Training Team, or visit the training page for more on our different courses.


2nd November 2016

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