How To Train the New Generation

The workforce is quickly being replaced by millennials. Training managers need to modify their teaching strategies and course delivery methods to rein in the potential and the learning styles of millennials.

Below, different strategies to train the next generations in companies are shown:

Non-formal learning

Non-formal learning includes various structured learning situations, which do not either have the level of curriculum, syllabus, accreditation and certification associated with 'formal learning', but have more structure than that associated with 'informal learning', which typically take place naturally and spontaneously as part of other activities. This type of learning may or may not be intentional or arranged by the organization, but is usually organized in some way, even if it is loosely organized. Usually, there are no formal credits or certification granted in non-formal learning situations.

Some examples of non formal learning:

  • Organizing seminars within the corporation that explain new approaches and organizational strategies.
  • Develop and launch workshops introducing new products of the company
  • Arrange creative workshops jointly with product development and involve senior experts to initiate ideas in to the workflow.
  • Set up “on the job” sessions, where seniors are teaching younger colleagues about the machines, showing them technical aspects they know.


Intergenerational learning

Intergenerational learning involves people of different generations becoming engaged in learning from each other and learning together. Intergenerational learning can be considered as the reciprocal exchange of knowledge between people of all ages so they can learn together, and learn from each other and from those in a variety of sectors, such as culture, environment, sociability, education, mediation, prevention, recreation, ICT, etc.

Different types of activities can be defined according to distinct principles, even if they overlap here and there or even share certain aspects:

  • arrange informal social gatherings,
  • transfer of experiences, knowledge, know-how and memories,
  • creative days (artistic, cultural or other),
  • corporate active solidarity towards those in difficulty.


Non-formal learning as a tool for knowledge transference and intergenerational learning

Non formal learning activities, as mentioned earlier, are learning occasions, courses, that do not provide certification, but so pass over knowledge on a specific topic. Non formal learning activities can include lectures, seminars or moderated group sessions. Non formal learning methods can be used to transfer knowledge and can also foster intergenerational learning.

Many companies rely on senior experts and leaders and try to set up multigenerational teams to allow the mixture of different approaches. In many cases, multigenerational teams are set up and are asked to work together on project basis. If a company’s HR strategy includes elements of intergenerational learning, a few basic facts need to be observed beforehand.

When setting up multigenerational teams and learning paths, the right setting needs to be provided for the participating members. If it is not planned and prepared wisely, it can easily cause internal conflicts and result in slowing down development processes.

What can these obstacles be?

Due to the differences in social backgrounds and age, many team members (seniors and younger colleagues) eventually face conflicts during the joint working period. More than a third of all employees say they have experienced intergenerational conflict in the workplace. (example of Communication problems, see UNIT13)

Employees from different age groups communicate differently. If you are apart of an intergenerational team, make sure to consider these differences and try to find the right channel to communicate with your colleague.

Main roots of conflicts in multigenerational teams:

  • Different views in work ethic
  • Different level of knowledge in technology
  • Different perspectives
  • Different views on authority
  • Different methods and approaches for effective communication
  • Different Leadership Styles

Multi-generational teams make members feel like they all have important contributions to make. The transfer of knowledge between retiring generations of veteran workers and newer entrants to the workforce is becoming increasingly more important. Building an “age-responsive” workplace supports real communication & understanding across all ages.

  • Younger workers learning from Seniors workers
    Involving seniors in the learning paths can raise their motivation and allow them to build a good relationship with other staff members within the corporation. By choosing topics, that they have expertise in, the experience and wide knowledge will build respect and will allow the self development of senior expert’s networks.
  • Younger workers teaching seniors
    Multigenerational team form, norm, perform, just as every team does. Seniors sometimes feel dishonoured, when a younger colleague tries to show them something new. The best way to resolve the uncomfortable stage is through teambuilding.
  • Learning with peers and teams
    Team-Based Learning (TBL) is a collaborative learning and teaching strategy that enables people to follow a structured process to enhance student engagement and the quality of student or trainee learning.  The term and concept was first popularized by Larry Michaelsen, the central figure in the development of the TBL method while at University of Oklahoma in the 1970s, as an educational strategy that he developed for use in academic settings. Team-based learning methodology can be used in any classroom or training sessions at school or in the workplace.

According to Michaelson & Richards, the implementation of TBL four underlying principles,

  1. Proper forming of the group structure is essential (have talented members in all groups)
  2. Make sure, all members feel the responsibility for their pre-learning and are active in teamwork.
  3. The chosen team assignments should promote learning and team development.
  4. Students must receive frequent and immediate feedback.

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