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Millennials and Training

One thing that we know about Millennials is that they crave growth and development; and if they’re not learning, they’re not developing. But how do we train and develop a generation that have been brought up with information at their fingertips? Let’s first look at what we know about Millennials in the workplace.

Millennials have different expectations to their predecessors. Having a healthy work life balance is not optional for Millennials, who also want to feel like their role has purpose. They are tech savvy, curious and embrace diversity and change; they also want to see internal transfers over external hires. When interviewing Millennials and asking the question of what attracted them to the role, 95% of the time the first response is always ‘the company culture’, usually followed by ‘room for growth and development’. The tricky part in managing Millennials, is managing their expectations around their career growth; they are confident in asking for what they want and most only stay in a role for up to 3 years.

So how do we develop training programs that will not only engage our Millennial workforce, but also give them the feeling of contentment in their personal growth and development? 

1.     eLearning

Millennials have grown up with information at their fingertips; this drives their curiosity and desire to constantly learn. As employers we need to manage this expectation and ensure there is always something available to them. eLearning is a key focus for training and developing Millennials as they find this medium familiar, as opposed to seminars and large groups training sessions. They are visual creatures that have lived in 140 characters their entire lives; with this in mind, keeping the content visual and engaging is key. It is also important to use technologies and keep paragraphs short; videos are a great resource.

2.     Time is of the essence

While Millennials are curious by nature, they also have short attention spans. They are easily distracted, switching their attention between tasks at almost twice the rate of other generations. This means you need to capture their attention quickly and you will only have it for a short period of time. When developing training programs, think YouTube video, not feature film. Developing a series of programs instead of one large session is ideal.

3.     Keep it fun

Millennials expect to enjoy what they do. Gone are the days where employees will sit through hours of training programs with the ‘death by PowerPoint’ mentality. Millennials have a blurred line between personal and professional, with 70% having ‘friended’ their managers or co-workers on their social media; you need to find ways to bring the social aspect into your training and development. The use of clips from popular shows, or from social channels like Buzz Feed, to illustrate your point is a great way to engage and captivate your Millennials.


4.     Diversity

Millennials want more than just task-based learning – you need to diversify your training programs. Despite being known to have strong views and be headstrong, they crave personal development and need to be given the skills to harness their ambition and develop their strengths. Incorporating training programs on personal brand, effective communication and business skills, amongst others, are great ways to help Millennials feel fulfilled with their learning.

5.     Quick results

Millennials have grown up in a world of instant gratification. Feeling down? Post a selfie to get instant likes and compliments. This is their norm. As managers, trainers and mentors we need to recognise this and incorporate it into their development. Don’t wait a day or a week to deliver the results of their training programs; where possible deliver this instantly or the same day. Have a recognition program so that others can see their competencies and achievements – share and celebrate the small wins, not just the big ones.

I As a manager, you need to shake things up. Every new generation brings new challenges, allowing us to continually challenge ourselves. An important part of developing Millennials is realising that you need to adapt your approach to meet the demands of our future stars, not the other way around. Given that it is anticipated that by 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, it is important to realise that despite the somewhat negative reputation Millennials receive in the media, they have a lot to bring to the table; and it is our job to encourage and nurture their developmen

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Posted on February 22, 2020

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