In today’s workforce, it is very common to have coworkers in multiple generations. The four generations that are currently in the workforce are the Traditionals, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Currently, the Baby Boomers and Generation Y make up the majority of employees in the workforce. There is great diversity between the generations in terms of what motivates them to perform well at work, attitudes about work, causes of conflict in the workplace, and communication in the workplace. Another aspect of the generations that has great diversity is the way in which they learn in the workplace. Because of this, employers have to provide training and development opportunities that cater to each generation. Baby Boomers typically prefer traditional classroom training, while Generation Y prefers online, self-paced training.
The reason why each generation prefers a particular type of training is a result of their upbringing and the method of learning used in school as they were growing up. For example, the millennial generation grew up using computers in school settings. Rather than using televisions and VCRs to watch videos as a way to supplement learning, they used computers, as computers and the internet made information available at any time. By 1994, 35% of schools provided access to the Internet. By 2003, close to 100% of teenagers used the Internet for research on school assignments, and about 80 % used the internet for all school work (Schullery, 2013).
Additionally, the upbringing of trainers influences how they teach, which in turn influences how students in their courses learn. Baby Boomers grew up with traditional classroom training, so that is the method of training most common, and comfortable...
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Kapoor, C., Solomon, N., Understanding and Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace, Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp 308-318, 2011.
Lancaster, L., & Stillman, D. (2010). The m-factor: How the Millennial generation is rocking the workplace. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Schullery, N., Workplace Engagement and Generational Differences in Values, Business Communication Quarterly, 76(2) 252–265. 2013.
Spiro, C. (2006), Generation Y in the workplace, Defense AT&L, pp. 16-19.
Stevens, R., Managing Human Capital: How to Use Knowledge Management to Transfer Knowledge in Today’s Multi-Generational Workforce, International Business Research Vol. 3, No. 3; July 2010.
Tolbize, A., Generational Differences in the Workplace, Research and Training Center on Community Living, University of Minnesota, 2008, pp 1-25.
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