The term 'millennial' has become a buzz-word amongst self-proclaimed thought-leaders, TED-talkers and now even L&D departments across the globe. From the moment Generation Y entered the workplace, Generation X have been selling books on the back of the disruption that digital natives have apparently caused:
"How do we train these snap-chatting, whats-apping Pokemon Go addicts? These spoon-fed, digitally addicted zombies need specialist treatment, and buying this book is the first step in harnessing the skills they possess." Stevo Simek - 'How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Making a Buck off the Youth of Today'
Because millennials were raised in a Brave New World and are associated with the rise of smart-technology, they are incorrectly credited with driving new work practices. In fact, the ubiquity of technology and the accelerated pace at which it has developed has shaped society as a whole.
Processes have been simplified, communications facilitated and a wealth of information is readily available at our fingertips. As a result, the way we do business has evolved into a whole new ball-game.
Corporate learning leaders should not assume that their target learner will be young; they should aim to devise learning solutions that target the modern employee, regardless of whether they are 25 or 55. Effective L&D content should be inclusive, flexible and easy to use, enabling different learning styles and preferences based on human psychology, not generational differences.
Harnessing the power of emerging technology to create meaningful learning experiences is something that organisations should be actively considering: not to "satisfy the needs of millennials," but to spark behavioural change and have a positive influence over workplace culture.
With millennials now the largest generation in the workforce, many organisations are concerned about how to cater to this group’s learning preferences. Within the field of enterprise L&D, almost every trade magazine, conference or blog provides guidance about specialised learning approaches to gain acceptance of millennials. Companies have been led to believe millennials need specialist treatment – or they will go elsewhere. Some accepted generalities about millennials include that they: Value collaboration over working alone Have a desire for meaningful work Place an emphasis on work-life balance and flexibility Are thirsty to build capabilities Prefer frequent feedback about their performance Aspire to grow in their career