Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What is your learning style?

Sheryl Baumeister,
Human Resources Manager
With the next generation of funeral professionals slowly working their way into our offices, it can be difficult to work with the many differences in age groups. In the November issue of HR Magazine, I read an interesting article by Susan Milligan, a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. called, “Wisdom of the Ages.” In this article, she asks us to acknowledge the different styles of learning to help ease tensions among different age groups in our workplace by identifying the four generations of employees.

Traditionalists (born 1922-1945) – These individuals have lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They have strong ideas about loyalty and hard work. They prefer a structured environment and dislike “being singled out.” They link learning with overall goals.

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) – They were shaped by the Vietnam War, a time of great social change and uncertainty. Loyalty among this group is to the team, not the organization or manager. They prefer interactive and/or group learning, and need time to practice applying new skills.

Generation X (born 1965-1980) – This generation were often growing up in homes where both parents worked or were divorced. They fended for themselves, which made them used to working independently. They prefer just-in-time learning using technology and learn by doing or getting involved.

Millennials (born 1981-2000) – These individuals were lavishly praised. Parents went from “my children are the most important thing in my life” to “my children are the only thing in my life.” As a result, many have their first job ever right out of college. They prefer teamwork and technology with “edutainment” or any content designed to educate as well as entertain.

Even though these are generalizations, they can help us tailor our way of understanding our differences, and ways of learning. Perhaps if we have a better understanding of each other, we will be able to better tolerate each other and possibly defuse conflicts in the future.

This article originally appeared in Modern Memorialization, Trigard Memorials' weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/thursdays.

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