Huffington Post: CGS's Take on Training Boomers for Success
Training and learning have become major topics of discussions within corporations across industries, and one area of focus has been the vast differences in workplace learning needs between baby boomers and millennials. While it is true that a large number of people in the baby boomer generation are exiting the workforce, there are still a large number that are still employed. This number has a bad rap for seemingly being slow to adapting cutting edge technology.
Training Baby Boomers for the Future
The Huffington Post interviewed CGS's Senior VP of Learning, Doug Stephen to get his take on training the baby boomer and millennial generations. Doug works very closely in the development of training programs targeted to employees of all ages. He feels that the baby boomers supposed struggle with modern technology is only a myth and individual personality difference are more of an issue than generational gaps.
Very recently, gamification has been the new concept introduced to facilitate learning amongst the boomer generation. Many people hear gamification and think video games but that is not exactly correct. The concept explores the collaborative and competitive aspects of video gaming to develop learning and team-based skills.
Training with Technology
Doug believes that training the generations together is key. He believes that boomers see technology as something that must be learned to gain knowledge while younger generations use technology to go right to the knowledge; not much learning required. Other than the difference in learning (or not learning) a technology, boomers and younger generations ability to learn and train is on an individual level. At CGS, Doug is responsible for creating a core learning module, then develop a set of different tactics around the module so that each trainee can learn and interact with it in their own way. He hammers home the point that generational differences play a very small role in determining success.
Many people in the learning community are starting to see similarities in the way that boomers and millennials learn. Because of this, many companies are teaching and training across generation. Doug points out that if differences in learning do exist between the generations, bringing them together is the way to solve them. This togetherness also promotes a cohesive, team-like mentality that has been proven to generate good results.
All news is not good news for boomers, however. There are two major points that every boomer needs to consider before stepping up their learning tactics:
1. Be better "self advocates."
While millennials are known as entitled, many boomers tend to navigate their own way through a situation; often afraid to ask for what they want. Millennials want their supervisors to tell them exactly what is expected of them and how to go about achieving this goal. Many believe that boomer can learn from millennials about advocating for themselves. This is even more evident in a fast-paced, constantly changing workplace where teamwork is more valued than ever.
2. Learning is a Lifetime Commitment
Learning is continuous; something that many boomers have yet to consider. Today, things are quickly and continuously changing and new skills are always required. Boomers need to take advantage of the abundance of online and offline learning and training options and to be more willing to increase their capacity of knowledge and skills.
In order to be successful, boomers must be willing to adapt to a new learning environment in order to become essential assets. They also bring their experience and expertise to their business environment; something that younger generations can learn from.