Ashley White with TrainingFolks shares the following tips for training the millennial workforce:
In today’s workplace training consultants from various training companies see three common generations when doing content development:
1) Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
2) Generation X (1965-1979)
3) Millennials (1980-1996)
Generation X is half as big as the Baby Boomer generation. Why does this present a problem?
As Baby Boomers retire, there will only be “seasoned” employees available to fill half of those positions. This means the millennial generation will have promotion opportunities faster, and this will require more learning to support them through this transition.
The millennial generation possesses unique qualities, and it helps to know what training solutions work best to support them through this transition. Here are some facts and techniques to position the millennials for success.
Who are the millennials?
- 70% have “friended” their managers and/or co-workers on Facebook. (Cisco)
- Over 63% of millennials that work have a Bachelor’s Degree
- The average member of the millennial generation carries $45,000 in debt.
- By next year, millennials will account for 36% of the U.S. workforce and by 2025, they will account for 75% of the workplace. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics/ The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation)
- 69% of millennials believe office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis (Cisco).
- 92% believe that business success should be measured by more than profit
Training solutions for the millennial generation
1) Be tech-savvy
One of the greatest strengths of the millennial generation is their sound knowledge of technology. Technology is one of the best ways to engage millennials. One solution may be using Twitter or other chats to have groups share the result of a small-group discussion or designing custom eLearning that learners can access on their laptop, iPad, or other mobile device. Our content development services always take this into consideration.
2) Be Visual
Most of the training companies all agree, the more comprehensive your corporate training program is, the more equipped your millennial employee should be once they’re performing their job. Most millennials respond well to training based around visual stimuli, like information that is easily absorbed through infographics or presentations. You might want to use custom eLearning courses to cover the fundamentals and inform them of company policies. This should shorten the learning curve and better prepare them for their position.
3) Be Flexible
Younger people often have different strengths than their elders. To get the most out of a millennial employee, it’s best to be flexible enough that their natural talents can shine through. Being too rigid and expecting them to do things the way they’ve always been done or the way you do them can be an obstruction to progress. Offering some flexibility will channel employee growth.
4) Be in favor of ongoing training
The millennial generation is far from being complacent. They feel an urgency to acquire new skills through ongoing learning. This can help to improve their work satisfaction. Regular training equips them with the knowledge and skills that they require to carry out their tasks efficiently. Organizations are more likely to see a low employee turnover rate if millennials are engaged with ongoing training. This is likely to spike their productivity which will translate into higher profits for your company.
5) Be prepared to keep content short
To train millennials effectively it is even more imperative to keep the content short. Millennials are self-motivated and have been taught to be digitally resourceful. This creates opportunities to allocate the time that was once spent on training on specific material, which may not ever be used by an individual, or may be forgotten, by the time it is needed instead teach and direct learners on where to locate and how to use job tools. Short how-to videos or task relevant, scenario based games that can be accessed during down time in work environments is proven to be successful.
6) Be clear with your expectations
Unlike Baby Boomers and Generation X managers, millennials have only been part of the workforce for a short time. Most will have experience with entry-level positions, but they may not be experienced in leading others. They will want to know how you are evaluating their performance as a manager and the criteria you will use. Conveying clear expectations throughout the training process should minimize miscommunications due to generation gaps. Custom management training can develop millennials for organizational success as well.
7) Be sure to make training relevant
Gen Y has zero tolerance for irrelevant content. Think about it instructional designers when doing you custom development: they have instant, on-demand access to billions of articles, videos, blog posts and images at almost no cost. Technology has trained them to skip whatever seems boring and irrelevant. Ensure the content covers what they need to know, and that they clearly see how it impacts them directly.
8) Be ready to add gamification to training
Millennials grew up playing games. Gamify their learning experience. Allow trainees to unlock badges as they make progress, rank everyone on a public leader board and in some cases, and consider offering some real prizes like gift cards, tablets or e-readers to acknowledge exceptional performance. Keep the focus on competition, not assessment. Millennials sees competition as a fun road to personal development.