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L&D: Catering to multiple generations

By: | Feb, 27 2019
Sponsorship Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Employers find themselves in a unique situation.

For the first time, there is a five-generation workplace: the silent generation (born before World War II); baby boomers; Generation X, millennials; and Generation Z.

Each generation comes with its own preferences, desires and habits. This presents a challenge for learning and development, since there can’t be a one-size-fits-all program, according to Brainier’s new e-book.

There a four main challenges, the book says: tension, communication, delivery of learning programs and career-focused training.

Let’s break these down.

Tension can be caused by a lack of respect for values or simply by not understanding a generation. 

For learning and development, organizations must find good ways to communicate the relevance of learning opportunities as well as how to effectively market them to each generation. 

Then comes delivery. Obviously, younger workers thrive on quick and constant access to information, so digital delivery works best. But older employees prefer face-to-face training and education. 

The “silent” generation cares less about training, as they’re wrapping up their careers, while Gen Zers crave it. As such, learning should encompass a variety of skills and task development:  soft skills, managerial skills, data analysis skills and more focused on broader career development.

A multi-general workforce has resulted in various L&D trends. For example, collaborative learning offers online and in-person training. Groups work together to learn from each other and from programs. 

Personalized learning crosses generations by providing each individual with tailored experiences. 

Mobile learning, video learning and gamification – all emerging trends – provide greater challenges for older generations. 

“The key is HR flexibility,” Brainier says. “For example: You might offer a classroom learning on a new process. This typically might appeal to older generations who have learned that way at work for decades. Instead of stopping there, you might stream it and record it. Now younger generations can watch the video on mobile at a later date. Provide multiple options to reach each of the generations. 

“Managing how multiple generations learn isn’t easy, and many companies are struggling with it. But with a trusted LMS, meeting the different needs of all five generations becomes much easier.”

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