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Shonette Laffy


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Millenials: Do you notice the difference?


'Millenial' seems to be the latest buzzword across business, but as someone who falls into that loosely-defined generation, I'm not sure that besides being slightly more internet native (which surely other generations in the workplace can catch up on if they have the inclination/need to do so) that there really are as many differences between the generations as stated. 

We're told that millenials are more hungry for personal development, need more feedback and have shorter attention spans - but have you found that to be the case?

Do you notice a difference between generations of learners? If so, how do you tailor to the different styles and needs?

5 Responses

  1. “millenials are more hungry
    “millenials are more hungry for personal development, need more feedback and have shorter attention spans – but have you found that to be the case?”
    Interestingly a study by Ashridge found that millennials, whilst benefitting hugely from positive feedback don’t take criticism well.
    With regard to personal development, it depends on the topic and the method- generally millennials are not strong at analysis judgement and risk assessment but at the same time can (understandably) see little benefit in rote learning things they can easily look up/’google’…
    However, in line with the rest of the human race they are not homogenous in regard to their respect, loyalty, attention span, motivation, creativity, teamwork or communication skills!

    1. Thanks Russ; that’s
      Thanks Russ; that’s interesting about the feedback – although I often wonder if the stats cited about millenials could have applied to any generation when they were of a certain age and level of workplace experience.
      Have you found much of a difference in learning attitudes between the generations?

  2. purely from my experience, I
    purely from my experience, I would say that they are more sensitive, (that might feed into Rus’ comment about criticism), more easily distracted and have shorter attention spans. They dislike old hierarchical ways of doing things, (command & control) and are more aware of their rights. This may or may not manifest itself in a L & D sense but just some observations.

    1. Thanks Clive – I find the
      Thanks Clive – I find the various studies & reports interesting but not sure how much the research stacks up with real life experience, so was keen to see if you all noticed a difference in your learners and their needs/demands. Interesting to know!

  3. Hi Shonette
    Hi Shonette
    I’m afraid I don’t notice a significant difference amongst ‘millenials’.

    Two issues here:
    1 – it is a generalisation and all generalisations are inaccurate (including this one) to paraphrase Oscar Wilde. This particular generalisations also suffers from a lack of definition. Are we discussing those born since 2000 or those entering the workforce since 2000 or some other group altogether?
    2 – The term millennial is loaded. It seems to encompass not just a digital skill set (and I would argue that at 54 I am as tech skilled as my children aged between 23 and 32) but also an attitude to work and to career. Using the sample of the millenials in my own family – children, nieces and nephews – there are few if any defining traits which they all share even through they have come from a specific ethnic and socio-economic group. If widen this to encompass those of different backgrounds I think the whole millennial definition idea is flawed. It is also flawed by putting other age groups, or other socio-economic groups or other races and religions in to boxes. The best that can be said of millennial inspired interventions form an L&D perspective is tat it more evidence of extremely sloppy thinking.

    So, if anyone reading this is using the term millennial and expecting it to mean anything – stop it! All it does is mark you out as someone reliant on simplistic and empty stereotypes.

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Shonette Laffy

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