Managing training and development of a multi-generational team
There is a dire need for the organizations to be generation inclusive in their learning and development because these generations vary widely in the way they learn and their motivations to development. Especially since recent years, training has shifted focus to become more trainee-focused. Learning has become exploratory in nature and aims at mastery. The learning and development strategy of an organization needs to accommodate the learning abilities of the different generations.
Training and development of baby boomers
A baby boomer can be well suited to traditional classroom teaching. Most of them do not exhibit natural affiliation towards tech-based dynamic learning. Despite this, Baby boomers show exceptional learning curves for technology-based learning solutions. Thus, an organization-wide tech-based learning program should be complemented with proper tech training for the Baby Boomers - to ensure their participation in it.
The longer attention span of this generation can be an advantage to design training programs that can have lengthier sessions and content.
Training and development of Gen-X
Gen-Xers highly appreciate organizational efforts on Training and Development. They are flexible to adapt to any form of learning - traditional or electronic, but the real focus of the organization in developing their people is a great driver for this group. Leadership and management training could prove vital in acceleration programs for Gen X since, in comparison to Baby Boomers, they tend to focus less on training themselves for leadership roles.
Training and development of Gen-Y
Millennials demand active learning that demonstrates real-life scenarios. Career advancement and promotional opportunities are most significant for this generation and is an essential indicator of growth. Since instant gratification is essential for them, their development timeline needs to be divided into frequent milestones.
Gen Yers are known to adapt to new age training and development processes quickly. Since millennials form the most significant chunk of the working population, it is inevitable for organizations to adapt tech-enabled dynamic learning processes swiftly.
Training and development of Gen-Z
Gen Z is seen to be using social media, digital meeting places, and digital content significantly for their learning. However, researchers state that younger generations like Gen Z would require additional training on how best to communicate face-to-face. Thus, especially for roles that are customer- facing, it is imperative to get them trained on selling and communication techniques.
The training methodologies need to be less directive, un-supervised and digital because they are well equipped with dynamic learning and enablement using technology.
The generations are more alike than different.
J. Mencl and S W Lester investigated similarities and differences in the characteristics of the workplace generations in their 2014 study. They figured that all generations placed equal importance on 7 out of the 10 workplace factors that they were trying to evaluate - thus coining that ‘generations are more alike than different’.
Despite this, generations are subject to blatant stereotyping and prejudices. Thus utmost care needs to be taken while incorporating this on to organizational strategies.
The best way to accommodate these generational differences and still not bring upon any form of stereotyping is by opening the options up for the employees to choose from. For instance, while designing a training and development program, offer utmost flexibility to the employees to choose from all forms of learning methodologies available - be it the Baby boomer preferred ‘classroom’ mode or the Gen Z preferred ‘dynamic’ mode.
Each cohort, through their unique differences, brings unique strengths, perspective, skills and challenges to the table. Being inclusive of these differences allows an organization to engage and manage their workforce efficiently.
This is part 3 of the three-part article series which intends to address how multi-generational insights can help in different HR functions to synergize a cross-generational workforce.