Bridging the generational gaps in hospitality training

When technology in L&D is advancing at a rate of knots, I can’t help but wonder how hospitality operators are going to bridge the generational gaps in their training. Every generation brings with it new challenges – ways of working and processes that challenge those that came before.

I think it’s difficult to ever be fully prepared for the rate of progress that comes when new generations enter the workforce. But we’re going to have a good go here today.

Embrace the best of the generations you have

I think a key thing in this discussion is the importance of leaning into the positive characteristics of the people you have in your team, rather than fighting against them and trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

While it’s difficult to satisfy 100% of people 100% of the time, there are certainly ways you can cultivate a really positive attitude to learning that respects generational differences.

Generation X and baby boomers

For example, those of Generation X or even baby boomers, they may value more traditional learning methods including mentorship, hands on experiences and more structured learning approaches. Using their experience and knowledge to cultivate a mentorship program could not only be a useful training exercise, but help build bonds between the younger and older generations.


Millennials were the first generation to fully embrace technology and enter the working world expecting a more tech-savvy workplace.

They’ve also largely grown up with the evolution of video games so interactive elements are a welcome feature of their learning and development. They may enjoy a blend of in-person and online training, and increasingly look for flexibility when it comes to completing their learning.

Generation Z

Millennials are now having to learn the ways of the upcoming generation Z, and generation Alpha after them. Having never known life without mobile technology and the internet, Gen Z crave interactive, dynamic and often quick-fire learning experiences.

In addition, they’re heavily focused on personal development and want to know what they’re getting from their employer as well as what their employer can expect from them. Flexibility and work life balance are also high up on Gen Z/Gen A’s list of priorities.

A blended approach

When you look at these traits and characteristics, you can start to see how you can build a blended learning approach that caters to everyone within your operation in some way or another.

Operators need to consider how they can amalgamate more traditional methodologies with the cutting-edge technologies now available. By doing this, every member of a team can feel respected and included, no matter what generation they’re from.

For example, you may want to run some interactive workshops – something that brings your teams together and satisfies the older generation’s want for in-person, hands-on experiences. Following that, you may wish to consolidate everything discussed through a series of game-based mobile training – catering to the needs of your millennials and Gen Z.

Don’t underestimate the willingness to try something new

Something else I think is key to talk about here is how your organization’s learning culture can have a huge impact on people’s willingness to learn. Sometimes leadership can underestimate a person’s willingness to try new things because of preconceived ideas about someone’s age and mindset.

However, if you can create an environment where it’s okay to try new things and fail, you may be surprised at how much more open people of all ages are to experimenting with new technologies and learning techniques. When you look at the diagram below, you may actually be surprised to see the completion rate of those aged 40 and over compared to their younger counterparts.

From this perspective, we can see how important it is to train inclusive managers who can see past certain age stereotypes and build a learning environment where it’s safe for everyone.

Every generation brings with it new challenges, and I’m sure generation Alpha will be no different. But like every generation that came before them, I’m sure there will be plenty of positive traits to be added to the L&D roster and generations old and young can continue learning and growing together.

Are you ready to level up your training?

You might also be interested in

Emotion – the ultimate L&D game-changer?

Onboarding with excellence – the key to staff retention?

Travel agencies need to give seasonal staff a flying start with effective onboarding 

AI isn’t coming for hotelier jobs. It’s making them easier