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Let's Stop Obsessing About Millennials

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 12/2/15 11:18 AM

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IPeople Together-2.jpg just read an article in HR Dive that reported on "The top learning trends for 2016 and beyond" written by Kathryn MoodyThe last trend cited in the article was the focus on Millennials in the workplace.  I don't disagree that it is a trend, but I do believe we've gone completely over the top with it. 

We humans have a strong need to see patterns and to organize the world around us that seems so chaotic at times.  That said, we have more data than ever about each individual and live in an age where we can use our new technologies (and good common sense) to customize learning to each person.  

Why would we ever settle for big sweeping statements about "our workforce" to guide our principles of design and delivery?  I'm certainly not saying that sociological divisions don't have value in forecasting (as used in Ms. Moody's article), but I am saying it's time to stop some of the stereotyping insanity.  As training developers and learning professionals, let’s stop with quotes like “They rely heavily on technology”. These are true, but are they uniquely true to millennials?

The modern age hasn’t brought about a generation of people who behave differently – it makes everyone act Working Hard-2.jpgdifferently. What’s most interesting about new technology are the new behaviors it brings about. We’re all a bit more impatient, demanding, and with shorter attention spans. We live in an age where technology is making new things possible.  Let's use that technology to improve our focus on individuals, not further gross generalizations based on age groups.

I know this may be somewhat controversial when every conference seems to have a “what millennials think and do” kind of topic on their agenda.  I’m really interested in my colleague’s opinion on this subject, so please weigh in with a comment.

Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Trainers and Facilitators, HR Executives

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