Millennials are a major concern for most modern businesses. From hiring pipelines to workplace policies, organizations across the country are pivoting internal operations to meet the needs of twenty- and thirty-something job seekers. It’s easy to understand why. According to Pew Research Center, Americans aged 18 to 34 make up more than 50 percent of the total workforce in the U.S. As Baby Boomers and members of Generation X continue to exit the working population, this group will only strengthen its hold on the business world.
“They will be the most high maintenance workforce in the history of the world, but they may also be the most high performing,” Bruce Tulgan, an author and business consultant, told Fortune.
Of course, simply hiring millennial workers isn’t enough. You must also work to keep them engaged through carefully conceived employee training programs that leverage their collective generational quirks. If you fail to foster meaningful professional development, millennial employees will surely walk. In fact, many take positions – even fulfilling ones – with preconceived plans to leave, reported Business Insider. One-third of millennials hired in 2016 intend to move on to another position by 2020. The main reason? Lack of professional development opportunities, most notably leadership training. According to a survey of millennial employees conducted by Deloitte, 63 percent of respondents said they intended to leave their current positions due to a lack of such training.
So, before you reshuffle your training schemes to accommodate this generation of workers, review a couple essential guidelines for developing millennials.
Make training meaningful
Unlike the generations before them, millennials don’t concern themselves with the concept of work-life balance, reported The Harvard Business Review. For most, work and life are intertwined. As a result, they expect more out of employers and, when it comes time for training, they aren’t looking to dive into a workbook on overly general client management strategies or rarely used soft skills. Millennials yearn for meaning, so give it to them. Make sure to design training sessions that address specific pain points that regularly arise. And, if you do decide to touch on soft skills, ensure that they have a meaningful application within the workplace.
Most importantly, don’t forget to offer leadership training. This is big concern for millennials and, as you’ve read previously, a deal breaker for many. The best methodology for administering this training is mentorship. You could configure a traditional model or dive into reverse mentorship, a technique in which junior workers are assigned to instruct senior staff on skills they lack. Burson-Marsteller, a public relations firm based in New York, uses such a program.
“It’s difficult not to slip into our traditional roles,” Michele Chase, director of human resources at the organization, said in an interview with The Harvard Business Review. “But this arrangement is building relationships. The mentors are getting access to more senior people, and they get to go behind the scenes, so to speak, to see how leaders think and offer insights.”
Leverage attention spans, technology
Millennials are known for their technological fluency and brief attentions spans. According to a study conducted by Time Inc., most twenty- or thirty-somethings switch between content-delivery devices 27 different times over the course of one non-working hour. In traditional training settings, this tendency would surely present a challenge. So, employ microlearning. Develop truncated sessions that get right to the point and don’t waste time. Also, leave behind the poster board charts and workbooks, and go with a digital delivery method.
“This generation is interested in connecting and communicating everything they’re doing on Facebook and online, so it’s important that training programs can relate to that,” Paul DePalma, CEO of Adept Performance Systems, a management consulting firm based in Orlando, Florida, told Forbes.
According to the Pew Research Center, around 97 percent of millennials use mobile devices. Businesses should keep this mind when considering an online training solution. To develop an effective mobile training program employees should first review their policy on devices, reported eLearning Industry. Consider adopting a “bring-your-own-device” rule so that millennials can access training materials with their own devices. You won’t be an outlier. By 2017, more than half of employers will operate with a BYOD policy, reported Gartner.
The benefits are obvious. You save money on supplying devices while your employees maximize their productivity by working with familiar smartphones or tablets.
Of course, to get your millennial-focused training program started, you’re going to need some web-based instructional materials. MasteryTCN can help. We can connect you with the content you need in our Training Content Network.