For Generation Y different authors gave different starting and ending dates but generally they framed this category between late ‘70’s and late ‘90’s where one of the most relevant time frame is between 1979 and 1994 (Loughlin & Barling, 2001). Important is that, in the forming of this category a crucial role was played by the generation that preceded them, namely Generation X, a cluster framed between early ‘60’s and late ‘70’s. The influence lies in the fact that “Generation Y represents a sharp break from generation X” refusing to imitate the old generation and turning against its values (Huntley, 2006). In a more recent study concentrating on the students studying hospitality management in United States and United Kingdom (Josiam, Reynolds, Thozhur, Crutsinger, Baum, & Devine, 2008) can be found some major characteristics of Generation Y. First of all, very important to be known in regard with training them, they think visually, secondly they prefer fun and excitement in their job, furthermore they value personal creativity and want immediate gratification, they also show more flexibility though they are more loyal to their lifestyle than to their jobs. Additionally other features of Generation Y named also Millenials are being described in literature and all of them should be considered when putting together a training addressed to this category of employees. The Millenials are considered to have a low tolerance for boredom which makes them very selective in the way they receive the information by being attracted of an interactive approach in the learning process (Goman, 2006). Another significant feature is that due to the fact that they were raised in a less competitive environment where the focus was not on finishing first but on participation, the subjects of this generation are used of being praised for their efforts in achieving something and less on the results they have got (Hill, 2002). Furthermore the Millenials don’t cope too well with the work that implies a repetitive process (Saba, 2006) being in a constant seeking for new challenges in their work (Martin, 2005).
One important factor to be considered when giving trainings is using the appropriate method of teaching, according to the characteristics of the employee to be taught. Lately the changes occurring in employee dynamics happens at a high pace and consequently the way of giving trainings should evolve as such, mostly regarding the change in learning styles. It is the Millenial generation the one to be identified with technology generally, and requiring technological learning tools and more group interaction. Older employees show less experience in regard to new technologies, they are in the situation of adapting to these new technologies while the young employees have grown up surrounded by the technology (Sanders, 2011). In consequence the training process should be tailor made on the category to which the employees belong and here it is of a great importance to consider the needs and the characteristics of the employee (Namasivayam & Zhao, 2009).
Part of the trainings landscape is also the technological aspect. Lectures in a classroom are no longer very motivating for the younger employees (Harris & West, 1993). Millennials, in comparison with generation X or with Baby Boomers consider social media tools more helpful regarding work and learning (Ketter & Ellis, 2010). They grew up using on daily basis internet, video games and generally the computer. This is the reason why these technologies should be used as means to enhance the learning process (Berta, 2001).
Regarding generation Y some authors studied in depth their characteristics and gave advice how to deal with them in order to enhance their learning capabilities. As they are generally multi-taskers, is recommended to get their attention by delivering short instructions and when they are writing SMS’s does not mean that they are not listening. They have a strong sense of fairness requesting to be treated equally when it comes about issues like homework for example. They are used to get individual attention by calling them on the first name or by knowing what each of them considers important and, as mentioned above, they need to be praised. Millenials are definitely tech savvy and recommendation is to use as much as possible online post or pre- courses, online quizzes and Internet searches by using web links. Another advice is that whatever is being taught to Generation Y should be customized by asking ahead what they prefer to learn (Galagan, 2010). Furthermore there were identified in a Mercer study the top three priorities for generation Y as: receiving compensations, a work schedule flexible and to have the opportunity of making a difference at work. Very close behind were appreciated also the trustworthiness of company’s leadership and the opportunity to develop professionally (Nekuda, 2012). At the same time it is emphasized the fact that Millenials ranked professional development and learning opportunities among top five priorities which will make them decide to stay with a certain employer or to leave it.
It is also interesting to know the fact that Millenials are getting along the best with the baby boomers as they have some common characteristics (Burnett, 2006). The most obvious are the strong work ethic; both show discontent in regard with the notion of “institution” and are trying to save the world. Also both generations are fighting against hierarchical systems and they show openly their anti-establishment attitude.