An article in New York magazine recently set off a bit of an online shouting match between 20-something Gen Yers and representatives of the smaller and less intensely examined generation a decade or so older than them. (And if that’s not complicated enough for you, the conversation spurred those caught in the middle to declare that they’re entitled to their own label as well -- hello, "Generation Catalano!")
What is the one thing you can be sure your youngest employees straight out of school know how to do? Anecdotal horror stories suggest that sometimes their knowledge of corporate culture isn’t up to snuff. Certainly they won’t be subject matter experts on your firm’s processes and proprietary tech, and a few might not even have honed basic work skills like communicating professionally in writing. But there is one thing they clearly couldn’t have gotten this far without – knowing how to learn.
As a trainer, it’s pretty intuitive to understand your role as an imparter of knowledge. Your students’ brains, in this common sense understanding of learning, are like buckets into which you dump key facts and concepts. Keeping those facts stuck there is simply a matter of will and hard work on the part of learners. If trainees want to retain what you have to teach them, it’s time for them to break out the highlighter pen and trusty notebook and hit the books.
It’s rough out there for recent college grads. With the group experiencing sky-high unemployment and even more rampant underemployment, those lucky few young people with a career track job are probably feeling pretty lucky. And a bit scared.
When the parents of so-called Gen Y (aka the Millennials) graduated from college or high school, they knew exactly what to do: Get a job. Their employers may have changed periodically as they climbed the proverbially career ladder, but the basic concept that adults had full-time jobs with single employers over periods of years was pretty much a given.
Gen Y employees get a bad rap as listless, entitled, attention span challenged and in need of constant praise. But perhaps the problem isn’t with their attitude, but with the way their work has been presented to them.
The reality and underlying causes of the gender pay gap may be much debated, but another striking difference between women and men at work is just as widely perceived but much less discussed – the competitiveness gap.
For as long as there have been generations, there have been clashes between them. After all, Aristophanes was complaining about spoiled, disrespectful children four centuries before Christ. Despite this long history of generational conflict, the current moment seems particularly rich in animosity between the old and the young -- at least if the accusations flying around the media recently are anything to go on.
On the Mindflash blog before we’ve pointed out there’s plenty of evidence for a training crisis in American business, with various experts and surveys bemoaning a "sink or swim" approach to on-boarding new employees. But is one group in particular especially underserved by current approaches to training?