Learning Preferences & Differences at Workplaces in India: Baby Boomers, Generation X & Millennials
Research Scholar, Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur
The new age workplace has multiple demographic changes challenging organizations to upskill/ upgrade their employees across career stages and develop them based on the organizations key goals and developmental areas for all the generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y/ Millennials) presently available at workplace. Different learning and development activities with technology integrated methods can be of great help to address the same in a short span of time. However, types of trainings, interventions that might benefit intergenerational groups needs to be identified based on respective generations’ characteristics, learning styles and technology cohesiveness for technology integrated learning methodologies. Relevance, Feasibility and Learning Impact to an individual and the organization are important parameters to designing and delivering different interventions.
Over a span of 3 months, we conducted 30 interviews in metro cities in India (Bangalore, Hyderabad & Delhi) involving working professionals belonging to Millennials (22 to 35 years), Generation X (36 to 48 years) and Baby Boomers (more than 48 years) cohorts of various IT & ITES companies/ organizations. Our findings show that both generations possess distinct characteristics, learning preferences and technology friendliness/ cohesiveness.
We integrate these into a framework to form a conceptual model that learning and development practitioners can use to improvise their learning strategies in their respective organizations in a form that suits the needs of the organization.
In organizations today, generational phenomena may manifest in many ways and have varied consequences (Joshi, Dencker, Franz, & Martocchio, 2010). Research has focused on the behavioural characteristics commonly demonstrated by the Millennials and other generations (Eddy, Schweitzer, & Lyons, 2010) (Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). However, changes in learning styles, preferences and mechanisms and technology friendliness/ cohesiveness of each of the generations at workplace today have not been extensively researched. Developing this insight is critical for learning and development professionals and instructional designers. This will help practitioners in creating effective training modules and programs to enable employees from across generations be successful at the workplace.
Current Age (youngest)
Typical Characteristics/ Behavioral Patterns
1945 & before
Veterans, Silent, Radio Boomers, The Forgotten Generation
Conformers, Dedication, Sacrifice, Duty before pleasure, Discipline, Patience, Loyalty
1946 to 1964
Moral Authority, “Me” Generation
Anti-government, Equal Opportunities & Rights, Personal Gratification,
1965 to 1981
The Doers, Post Boomers
Balance, Diversity, Entrepreneurial, Fun, Highly Educated
1982 to 2000
Gen Y, Gen Next, Echo Boomers
Self-confident, Sociability, Diversity, Extreme fun, Extremely techno savvy, Extremely spiritual, Now!