Government's 'Working with Millennials' webinar faces criticism

'Public service managers need to prioritize treating all employees the same, regardless of age'

Government's 'Working with Millennials' webinar faces criticism

The Senate of Canada is offering a course to help staff members better understand millennials in the workplace – and some groups aren’t happy about it.

With the "Working with Millennials” training course, the institution is hoping to get older workers to face their stereotypes about millennials who are stereotyped as "entitled praise-seekers who are easily distracted by technology," reports CBC.

The senate hopes this will help stop "negative stereotyping in multi-generational teams.”

Senate human resources pitched the course as a way for employees and managers to deal with "an evolution of work environments" as workers returned to the office, says the CBC report.

Sixty-eight per cent of 2,000 workers aged 18 to 38 say that opportunities to progress within an organization must be “plentiful and diverse” when considering an employer, according to a previous report.

Wrong message?

But the course – offered as recently as last month – sends the wrong message to young staff, says Joel Thiessen, a professor of sociology at Ambrose University in Calgary, in the CBC report.

It also perpetuates the "ageist" myth that millennials are uniquely difficult to work with compared to earlier generations, he says.

"There's a perception out there that millennials are lazy or entitled or don't want to work hard. That's not accurate at all.”

Meanwhile, Jennifer Chan, an employment lawyer at JTC Litigation in Toronto, finds it "a bit odd” that the senate HR singled out millennials since they have been in the workplace now for quite some time, according to the CBC.

"They're the sandwich generation, in between the upcoming gen Z and gen X. It's not clear to me why millennials are the focus," she says.

The senate does not offer course about working with gen Z, gen X or baby boomers, who the course refers to as "risk-averse, inflexible or lacking in enthusiasm," reports CBC.

While 84 per cent of U.S. employers feel they are offering opportunities, work arrangements and training and tools needed for employees of all ages to be successful, only 65 per cent of workers agree, according to a previous report.

Workers of different generations have differing ways of working, and this must be recognized by their employer, one expert previously told Canadian HR Reporter.

Latest stories