In part 1 of this article series, I sat down with Tanya Staples, VP of Product, Learning Content at LinkedIn and discussed the latest learning trends and the strategic value of learning for business leaders. Today we’ll discuss handling learning among the 5 generations that currently populate the workforce. To listen to the entire episode, click here.
Jim: Let’s talk about different generations in the workplace. It’s a big topic. We have, by some counts, as many as five generations, and meanwhile, virtually every job, as you mentioned, requires someone to be capable of using a computer and staying current with technology. Obviously, training is a huge part of that. What kinds of learning trends are you seeing among and between the generations?
Tanya: I mean, we’re definitely seeing that all generations rank self-directed learning as their preferred approach to learning. That’s something that we see, but it is highest in Gen Z, and it is highest among Millennials, which is 43% and 42%, respectively. Fifty-nine percent of Gen Zs don’t think their job will exist the same way it is 20 years from now, so they absolutely understand why it’s so important to have learning. We also see an increase of a desire for mobile learning, especially from Gen Z and Millennials, who have essentially grown up with a phone in their hand, right?
And so we definitely, definitely see those trends. Like I said, we hear across the broad landscape that everybody would like to see more self-directed learning. It’s hard to carve out 2 or 3 days to go to an in-person class, but we definitely see from Gen Z and Millennials a slightly higher desire to engage in online.
Jim: What about the older generations? All the studies show, especially diversity studies, that it’s really important that they stay engaged, that they don’t feel ostracized, and that people don’t participate in ageism, and I think there’s some real stereotyping that goes on with older people and their use of technology. How would you suggest HR managers make their training available and easy to use for everyone?
Tanya: I mean, I think number one, it’s a matter of having a broad-based library, right? So that everybody can find something that works. The second is to really make learning safe and allow it to be self-directed so that if I’m feeling a little insecure about my Excel skills, I can kind of do that in a self-directed way without publishing to the world or having some assessment that’s like telling everybody how well I did it. Right? So it’s respecting some confidentiality and privacy with the individual learners. And then, more than anything, it’s a matter of thinking like a marketer. It’s a matter of really understanding like, “OK, I have these different demographics in my organization, and how am I going to personalize something for different parts of the organization?”
Again, to me, it always comes down to, if you really focus on what the business is trying to accomplish, what teams are trying to accomplish, and what individuals need, this is where I think the role of, again, that partnership between the L&D pro and business leaders, especially when you get into first- and second-line managers, when you can really use them to help understand exactly what skills you need to get developed. Then I think it works really well.
But the most important thing is a solution that’s broad, that allows everybody, no matter what his or her job function is, what his or her job level is, or what his or her age is, to be able to engage in something that helps with whatever it is each is struggling with at any given moment in time. The biggest challenge is to develop a program that lets somebody over here figure out how to learn SEO and someone over here learn Python and someone over here learn collaboration—it’s pretty tricky to develop that many programs. So by being able to focus on something broad-based that has a lot of breadth and a lot of depth to it, you can self-serve a much broader audience.
Jim: Great points. You mentioned that Millennials and Generation Zs were the most likely to want to use self-training. What about their overall interest in training? Read more here…
Source: HR Daily Advisor