Apr 15, 2014
As a father to four sons who are growing up as part of the millennial generation (those born from 1981 to 2000), you can imagine that I sometimes have opinions and experiences that differ from theirs. One glaring difference surfaced while discussing my oldest son’s first few weeks on his first job out of college. The topic of discussion around the dinner table one evening was about his new hire training and how it contrasts to training opportunities during my early career. With tablet in hand, he excitedly launched his talent portal and provided a glimpse into some new hire and project management eLearning modules he was working through earlier in the day. From that same tablet, he’ll also collaborate with others in group discussions and communicate with and receive feedback from his manager. Today, I too utilize the same technology as I manage my career but it wasn’t always that way…
Are you in or out (of the classroom)?
While developing my career in the 80s and 90s, learning was delivered mainly in a classroom setting, with note taking and a machine humming away projecting the syllabus on a screen. And yes, we even had small placards strategically placed on the desks to make it easier for the instructor and fellow students to remember our names.
In contrast, Millennial folks have grown up with technology at their fingertips. Being able to “Google it” for research and connect with the world on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms extends the reach and collaborative learning opportunities to an unprecedented level. This technically savvy generation has hastened the demand and development for innovative approaches to delivering formal and informal learning in a manner consistent with the needs of today’s workplace. Delivering the right content to the right people at the right time in the right format can be the most effective way to attract, engage, and develop your workforce.
The multi-generational workplace of today
A United Nations article describes today’s workplace which, for the first time, includes four generations, spanning the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials. This last group is the largest, and this shift in demographics, coupled with advances in technology, are demanding new and innovative ways to attract talent as well as engage and continually develop employees, effectively reinventing workplace learning.
To illustrate the how and why of managing millenials, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill put together an infographic which outlines some key points about managing millenials in the workplace. Some observations I gleaned include:
- They are social and want to collaborate
- They prefer recognition and frequent feedback
- They value training and professional development opportunities
- They are technically savvy
This is quite an impressive group of individuals entering the workplace and if engaged, motivated, and developed in the right way, can lead to positive results for your organization.
“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction”- Winston Churchill
How is your company changing its direction for learning in the workplace? Here are some additional insights for you to consider.
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