Learning Re-Imagined

Skillsoft Blog

Debunking Millennial Myths and Empowering the Modern Learner

By Kieran King and Jared Buckley

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There are over 80 million Millennials. And there are around 80 million different adjectives used to describe them. It is the most written about generation ever and conceivably could take a millennium to read everything that has been written about them.

But who has the time to sift through all the articles, the research, and when faced with contradictory data, who do you believe?

Enter Jared Buckley, The Millennial Skills Coach and creator of 5-Tool Pro, who for the past 10 years has coached hundreds of millennials and has written extensively on the subject for The Huffington Post, Lifehack, and Addicted2Success.  He and I are presenting a few webinar, “Debunking Millennial Myths and Empowering the Modern Learner” on March 2.

I always love talking with Jared. And to get people thinking about this hot topic, I asked him to share some of his thoughts on everything Gen Y. Here are some of his ideas – of which he has many!

What is the biggest myth around millennials you want to see debunked?

JB: The idea that millennials are disloyal. Many business owners and managers have tagged millennials as disloyal because the millennials they hire keep leaving. This is not a generational descriptor, but usually business specific matter. Millennials won’t be loyal just for the sake of being loyal, they need a reason. When businesses give them a reason, millennials are almost loyal to a fault.

I feel very strongly about some of the inaccuracies employers associate with Millennials. Soon they will make up 50% of the working population so it is imperative that companies recognize the phenomenal talent that Generation Y represents.

JB: I couldn’t agree more. I want to help businesses see where the workforce is going so they will be better prepared to raise up young leaders. I love when I can help businesses no longer see what is wrong with the millennial generation, but see what value they bring to the business, teams, and growth potential.

It has always bugged me that marketers have made inordinate amounts of money from distinguishing millennials from other generations. Highlighting perceived differences in groups and promising insights is highly lucrative, but is misleading and causing unnecessary problems/challenges for both employers and employees.

JB: I first studied these myths in 2000 when the research was more on speculation than actual facts. Every generation has dealt with their share of myths, but the internet and social media has allowed those myths to linger. Today, it seems like everyone has an opinion about millennials and when its wrong it can be very dangerous.

We also hear/talk a lot about the ‘modern learner’ and how technology, while on the one hand can be a bit overwhelming, is also very freeing.

JB: The modern learner is multi-generational and uses all different types of variations to learning. They are thirsty to grow and develop. Although they have access to nearly any type of information they can learn about, that can work to their disadvantage. The more information that is accessible, the more confusing it gets for the modern learner to know what information is best. The direction where the modern learner is headed is customization. Putting together a customized plan to learn, grow, and develop will be the future of learning.

When you categorize generations in broad terms, you miss out on so much. Leveraging a learning and talent development approach that is personalized is best.

JB: The workforce must get back to understanding people for who they are. Multi-generational workplaces do not work if they stay segregated. The best way to knock down those segregations is through respect. Millennials and now Gen Z, need to respect the wisdom from the older generations, and the older generations need to respect the tenacity and passion of younger employees. It all comes down to knowing and respecting people, no matter their age.

To help with this understanding it is essential employers use data analytics to determine patterns which will then help develop learning programs.

JB: Every business needs to have analytics on their employees. We won’t only talk about learning data, but also people analytics. This information is crucial to knowing how people want to learn, grow, and develop.

 

Kieran King is Vice President of Global Enablement, Customer Insight and Field Marketing at Skillsoft. Jared Buckley is the Millennial Skills Coach, growing millennial’s soft skills.

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