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Text Messaging & Flexitime

Information that I gained from my readings today:

Will You Be Sending Learning Via Text Message?

Milleanials prefer sending text messages and the impact this could have on the future of learning and development, sending team updates or even knowledge updates.

According to Gartner (www.gartner.com) industries such as travel and tourism, food chains etc. are all preparing themselves for text message marketing as they see how their potential customers increasingly bank on their cell phones as a major mode of communication and who are always on the move.

Companies such as Ernst & Young are also incorporating texting into their new hire programs, where welcome notes are sent to the new recruits by the CEO or senior recruits.

Is Flextime Right for Your Organization?

Flexitime is an emerging trend at the workplace, and as most of us are aware it allows us to strike a work-life balance. Some who do not encourage Flexitime consider it to be a practice which deteriorates work standards or which gives some people the opportunity to do less work.

The benefits of Flexitime includes improved employee productivity and better employee morale as it takes into consideration the need of each individual employee. One example cited was, where a flextime employee could start work from 7:00am to 3:00pm and leave work early so that she can pick up her child early from a day care centre.

The potential downside of Flexitime highlighted staffing issues that managers had to take care of or challenges encountered while scheduling team meetings. However, this shortcoming can be solved by the use of technology such as web conferences. Flexitme employees should take such issues in to consideration and be available when needed.

It is likely that some employees recognize that Flexitime is not the right choice for them given the position they have. While other employees, who can take the advantage of Flexitime must also realize that it is an employee benefit and that they are trusted to complete their responsibilities on time.

Thus, companies should consider Flexitime as an option and see it if it is suitable for their organization.

Note: “A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report estimated that 30 percent of employees work under flexible hours.” (S.Pruitt, Is Flextime Right for Your Organization? ; http://www.hrworld.com)

References:

Cf: http://newlearningplaybook.com/blog/

Cf: http://www.hrworld.com/features/is-flextime-right-082008/

Workshop: Managing the Generation Mix

I recently attended a workshop on Managing the Generation Mix. We had a phenomenal Speaker and it was great to be with people from all different generations. The people from the diverse age groups brought in their perspectives on the current reality of the generational challenges experienced by them at their place of work. The following includes some of the important lessons learned from the above.

To begin with, the following table gives us a picture of the important generational differences. Please note that some authors do not distinguish between Generation Y and Millennials, and hence Gen Y is the same as the Millennials.

Image: Link given below

The Speaker at the workshop made us ponder on some of the TV shows, commercials, and/or news events that we remembered as kids and how they affect who we are today. The various responses from the audience actually made me think of how the past events/TV shows/news etc. have actually shaped and impacted our thinking and the persons we are today.

Next, she moved on to distinguish clearly between the terms ‘stereotypes’ and ‘generalizations’, and said how we can only generalize about a particular generation but not stereotype the individuals in each of the respective generations.

We were then introduced to the areas of generational differences at the workplace, which were as follows:

· Communication/Feedback

· Work Style

· Work/Life Balance

· Etiquette/Grooming

· Motivation & Rewards

· Respect & Loyalty

· Leadership

· Technology

Another interesting point made was how the generational mix actually impacts our workplaces on issues such as motivation, retention and conflict. The Speaker then mentioned that thus organizations should ask themselves if they feel the need to update their processes depending on their generational mix.

Finally, we saw the Do’s & Don’ts for each of the generations (information given to us by our Speaker), stated as follows:

Baby Boomers:

· Do’s: Honor the commitments made, build consensus and to direct by example

· Don’ts: Avoid being indifferent or untrustworthy

Gen X

· Do’s: Give them flexi time, be friendly and to challenge them in new ways.

· Don’ts: Be bureaucratic or micro manage

Gen Y/ Millenials:

· Do’s: Get to know them personally and show them recognition for their achievements

· Don’ts: To ignore their ideas because of their age and do not forget to say thank you

And finally, we were told about the Titanium Rule:

“Treat others how THEY want to be treated, NOT how YOU want to be treated.”

Links/Downloads:

Here’s a link to a Presentation that I found online on The Multigenerational Mix: saweb.memphis.edu/mimsac/downloads/Mulitgenerational%20Workplace.ppt, August 28th 2008

Here’s the second link to a video (series) on YouTube by Karen McCullough on Generation Mix. She highlights the characteristics of the different generations as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-LA9JPIsLo, August 28th 2008

The image above has been taken from the following online article: http://newlearningplaybook.com/blog/page/2/, August 28th 2008

Google Generation & A Learning Challenge

The article ‘Learning For the Google Generation’ by Jeanne C. Meister tells us about the Google Generation and draws attention to a key challenge organizations face to address the learning needs of this generation.

The ‘Google Generation’ includes all those young people born after 1993 and who grew up in a world dictated and lead by the Internet. These young people either have little or fail to have any idea of life before the web. They are also synonymously termed as ‘digital natives’, ‘the Net generation’ or the ‘millennials’.

According to Educause Review March/April 2006 this group of individuals has their own unique characteristics such as they prefer the keyboard than writing in a spiral book, or are happier to be reading from the computer screen than paper in hand etc. One of the key features of this group is constant connectivity; that is that they want to be in touch with family and friends at all times and from any place. Thus the ‘Google Generation’ differs in their expectations, attitudes and perceptions with regard to school, work and career development.

Organizations now are now struggling to find ways to best attract, develop and retain this generation as they enter the workforce. To develop a policy that allows access to social networking sites at work is one of the key challenges organizations face in this regard. Companies also find it challenging to retain their younger employees because their IT infrastructure fails to meet their standards. Thus, learning departments now study as to how to include the social networking needs of the millenials into the delivery mix.

The article then gives an example of Deliotte and shows how they cater to the social networking needs of its employees. It organizes an employee film festival where new employees make short films, creative videos, titled “What’s Your Deloitte?” Thereby it encourages their new hires to articulate their vision of the organizational culture and its values. The best of the short films are then uploaded on YouTube. In order to create networks for its recent hires Deloitte also uses Facebook.

Another example of social networking is the rise in the number of blogs of CEOs and other high ranked executives of publicly traded companies. Examples here are; Jonathan Schwartz, “Jonathan’s Blog” — CEO of Sun Microsystems and Bill Marriott, “Marriott on the Move” — CEO of Marriott International.

Thus learning departments should take this special need of the Google Generation into consideration because this generation will demand the use of same tools at work that they are habituated to in their private lives.

Reference:

Cf: http://www.clomedia.com/includes/printcontent.php?aid=2142; April 30th 2008

Blended Learning

As I listened to the Learning Trends for Leadership Development Webinar (HR.com) given by Susan Cullen, President of Quantum Learning Solutions; the term ‘blended learning’ was once again introduced to me. I decided to dig a little deeper into it; and here’s what I have come up with.

Definition Blended Learning: “… is the mixing and integration of different learning delivery approaches, including classroom, e-learning and learning support resources.”– Susan Cullen, President of Quantum Learning Solutions.

Definition Blended Learning 2: “BL = combining online and face-to-face instruction”– Reay, 2001; Rooney, 2003; Sands, 2002; Ward & LaBranche, 2003; Young, 2002

From the above definition (2) it is said that BL thus is the mix of two models namely; the traditional face to face (F2F) learning systems and the distributed learning systems.The above also highlights the role of computer-based technologies.

Blended Learning can thus include a combination of the traditional classroom, online instructor-led learning, self-paced learning, coaching and mentoring, assignments books, articles, EPSS systems, job aids etc. These are also known as media types.

It is said the Blended Learning (BL) is considered to be an evolution of e-learning which consists of an integrated program. This program is made up of the different media types and is applied to a business problem in the best possible way to resolve the problem.

There are two types of e-learning used for BL that we need to know here; Synchronous (conducted in live session with others in synchronous time) and Asynchronous (conducted so each individual can access it in the own time). – Susan Cullen, President of Quantum Learning Solutions.

While designing a BL program it is also important to consider the combination of the different media tools that are going to be used. It is essential to identify the right blend for the business challenge that is being addressed. Some questions that one may have to answer before deciding on the right mix include; what is the business goal, what is the learning problem that is attributing to the business problem, who is my audience and their characteristics?, will they have the time and connectivity; what should be the learning content, what kind and how much of measurement? etc.

One of the articles also underlined the fact that the technology barrier was a major obstacle that many organizations had to overcome. The article also highlighted the blended learning process as shown in the diagram below:

Image: CLOmedia.com / Chief Learning Officer Magazine – MediaTec Publishing , Chief Learning Officer Magazine; http://www.clomedia.com

Blended Learning Process does come along with several benefits that organizations enjoy, such as reaching a training program to more number of people at a time, it also has more learning effectiveness where learners can choose the learning program as per their learning needs etc.

While scanning through various articles and white papers, I realized that blended learning is used in different fields other than corporate training such as; the software industry, universities, libraries, etc.

The above information is taken from the following sources:

References:

http://www.hr.com/servlets/sfs?t=/CustomCode/webcasts/videoContainer&i=1116423256281&l=0&e=UTF- 8&videoLink=http://media.hr.com/webinarslibrary/HRLeadershipDevelopmentQuantum042108.swf ; (Membership to HR.com required)

http://www.publicationshare.com/graham_intro.pdf

http://www.clomedia.com/content/templates/clo_feature.asp?articleid=357&zoneid

http://www.centra.com/download/whitepapers/blendedlearning.pdf

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”…..Mahatma Gandhi

The above quotation by Gandhi emphasizes the significance of continuous learning ….and me, being a self learner and one who believes in life long learning; here I am starting my own learning blog 🙂 We all learn something almost everyday…that’s what I think…we have our everyday learnings may be at home, school, university, work or experiences that life has to offer 🙂 I plan and hope to capture learnings about topics I am passionate about and moments that get me thinking 😀

Thus, here I am today; an inspired soul and an active learner, starting my blog,……it’s all about my learnings for life 🙂

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