Millennials are considered continuous learners. Keeping in mind that looking at generational trends is not intended to be stereotyping, Millennials are likely to agree with this statement. Some reasons Millennials see themselves as continuous learners are that they recognize they don’t know it all, they are always looking for ways to learn new things, and they view learning as an opportunity or reward, not as a task or punishment. Millennials are often looking for ways to improve at whatever they are doing.
That doesn’t, however, mean that people in other generational groups don’t like to learn new things. As a Baby Boomer, I can’t help remembering that my generation started the self-improvement fad. Baby Boomers were responsible for both writing and purchasing all those self-help books of the Seventies. Those how-to books and many more of those old improve yourself books are still around. Self-help has moved into the areas of leadership development and more business-focused topics but is still in demand. Training was something Baby Boomers usually did on their own time unless the job required additional training that was provided by the company.
Generation X is known to respect knowledge and learning, perhaps in a more formal way. This generation is usually looking for the expert on a topic. Training is viewed as more of a necessity than a reward by this group, something that must be completed as a way to gain the knowledge required to get ahead at work.
The newest group to join the workforce, Generation Z, is known as the digital generation and they are most likely learning something all the time in their digital world. Like all generations, Gen Z enters the work force not knowing what it doesn’t know. But like their predecessors, the Millennials, they prefer experiential learning and realize learning is an evolutionary process. Members of this generation are more likely to want informal training in the workplace and expect to have real-time access to the information they need to know, since they have grown up in a world where they have instantaneous access to information.
When we look across all the generations in the workforce, they all have a desire to learn new things but may have very different approaches to how and when they want to learn or expect to have access to the information they need to know.
Read more in Millennials Taking the Lead: The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace https://www.amazon.com/dp/1631831526