Designing learning for millennials

millennials“Millennials” is the corporate training buzzword we’ve been hearing a lot lately. According to PwC, by 2016, 80 percent of the workforce will be made up of millennials – the generation of people born between 1981 and 1999. As with any major culture shift, some companies are a little nervous, and understandably so – trainers know it could be significant but aren’t quite sure what to do about it.

What are some characteristics of workplace Millennials? Millennials rely more on email and social platforms rather than the phone and face-to-face communications to get work done. They also often like to use multiple mediums, for example switching between text, email or phone for a single topic as well.1 They are incredibly comfortable with technology, but let’s not forget that many industries employ older generations that have become just as comfortable with it. In fact, millennials are not unlike other audiences that training professionals have strived to engage.

So, how are millennial learners different?

According to a Pew Research study, they are motivated self-learners that can be self-directed employees. “Millennials seek transparency and real time feedback in their work environment. They have been accustomed to using innovative technologies for learning in their studies from K-12 to University education. It is a natural progression for them to use similar technologies for training in their work environments.”2

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Telecommuting vs ‘Telepresence’

There are countless articles all over the internet describing telecommuting and how that compares to “traditional” working in an office. However, most of them deal with the matter under the assumption that the employee is either self-employed, or has a flexible working schedule. That means, when comparing the two types of employment, one of the key advantages of telecommuting is presented to be the freedom in making use of your time in your own way.

This is not necessarily an advantage though. Under the light of recent developments, where Yahoo and now Best Buy are cancelling their flexible work programs, it would be interesting to present a third option: working from home, but in an office at the same time (for the sake of this post, let’s call this “telepresence”). This means that you get to work from the location of your choice but under the 40-hour schedule and availability obligations you would have if you were to work in an office (I have been working this way in our company for several years).

So, how does “telepresence” relationship compare to the other two extremes (and why is it better)?

You can find telecommuting vs office work comparisons all over the internet, so I’ll only present a list of “telepresence” advantages compared with telecommuting: Continue reading

Are you ready for the future workplace & the iWorker?

With globalization, the emergence of social technologies that democratize information and change the role of leadership, and the fact that by 2020 the workplace will include 5 generations – the life of a worker by that time will look quite different to now.

Increasingly, people want to have their work life look a lot like their home life – they want to use the same productivity tools (Wikipedia, Facebook, Google, etc.) and their own equipment (also referred to as “BYOT” or “bring your own technology”: Mac, iPhone, etc.). The “training department” is becoming obsolete as training becomes part of the job and learning just part of work – a given. Work is becoming part of life and the “work/life balance” is an outdated concept at a time where “work/life flexibility” and integration is more of an issue. Continue reading