Designing a Training Program for Millennials

Joe Senior, a baby boomer, started his first “real” job at a business in downtown Indianapolis in the 1970s. On his first day, he received a dense employee handbook full of information. Joe didn’t even read it—he tossed in the back of his closet. There was some formal training, but it was minimal at best and focused on policies and rules rather than Joe’s specific job. He was headed to work to get paid and simply learned best practices on the job from his coworkers.

Joe Junior is a talented young professional who is looking for his first job. As a modern millennial worker, his expectations and hopes for work are drastically different than Joe Senior’s. Today, millennials like Joe Junior are taking the workplace by storm. Baby boomers are retiring and millennials are on track to take their place, representing an astounding 50% of the global workforce by 2020. However, this large and dynamic millennial generation is not satisfied with the same company culture and training as the generation before them. These ideas are drastically changing the modern understanding of work.

Millennials have different expectations

Unlike their predecessors, millennials don’t just work for a paycheck—they want a purpose. They want to work for organizations with a mission and purpose that they identify with and support. This might sound pie-in-the-sky for an older generation, but it’s front-of-mind for millennials. Additionally, millennials want their day-to-day work to have clear meaning; They want to understand how their role fits into the bigger picture before they invest attention and time to a specific task.

Most millennials don’t care about ping pong tables, coffee machines, and state-of-the-art cafeterias. Those might be nice perks, but young, talented workers are pursuing companies that offer development opportunities. According to Gallup, 60% of millennials say that the opportunity to learn and grow on the job is extremely important. In contrast, only 40% of baby boomers feel the same way.

In their quest for growth, millennials want to change roles regularly. On average, millennials stay at a  job role for less than years. Comparatively, more than 40% of baby boomers have stayed with the same employer for more than 20 years. With a heightened ability to network and connect online—paired with a desire to lead—it’s not surprising that millennials quickly become hungry for the next challenge.

Learning and training engage millennials

Millennials are known as a job-hopping generation—so enticing them through the door at a new company is just the beginning—they must feel engaged. However, Gallup reports that only 29% of employed millennials feel engaged at work. To ensure millennials are motivated and engaged, employers need to design workplaces that champion a culture of learning that address their wants and needs.

Curiosity and the desire for knowledge are common themes among millennials Companies that prioritize meaningful learning opportunities and create engaging training programs will thrive in the new world of talent.

Use our free training plan builder to identify the top three core functions of millennial roles to determine essential skills that you should provide training on.

Here are four tips when designing a training program for millennials:

Brevity is best

Trying to present lengthy paragraphs of information to a generation who consumes info in 140 characters (or less) is incredibly ineffective. Instead, deliver job-specific knowledge to millennials in bite-sized pieces, and consider using interactive digital experiences to do so. Repeatedly reaching small goals and checkpoints will foster deeper engagement and more regular learning.

Online isn’t optional

As the first ‘always connected’ generation, millennials are two times more likely to adopt new technology than earlier generations. They’re used to having information at their fingertips, so access to on-demand knowledge is key for any modern training strategy. Online training programs are perfect for this tech-savvy generation, providing flexible and easy access to helpful content. Online training can also incorporate more engaging elements such as video and quizzes that improve the learning experience and increase retention.

Mentoring is a must

A training program fit for millennials should also include intentional mentoring and coaching from their managers and other senior leaders.Gallup found that 60% of millennials believe the quality of their manager is extremely important—managers out of Office Space won’t cut it. A culture of coaching helps employees grow, and fosters healthy relationships between them and their managers.Introducing other mentorship opportunities early on to learn from veteran talent shows millennials that their company is willing to invest time and effort in their development.

Goals are good

Millennials tend to disengage quickly if they feel stuck in a dead-end job. Managers can keep their millennials motivated and engaged by providing a personalized career development plan that clearly defines their career path. Millennials like to feel confident in themselves and their jobs, so outlining reachable goals to work towards keeps millennials working hard and actively developing their skills.

Training drives productivity and retention

Designing an effective training program that features online learning, mentoring & coaching, and opportunities for development is an investment in an empowered young workforce. Engaged millennials have a heightened degree of commitment and loyalty: They truly want to see their team and company succeed. This deep dedication results in increased productivity and lower risk of employee turnover—meaning more revenue and less money invested in recruiting and training new employees. When companies make the effort to train millennials, the result is efficient, productive, and loyal employees who will push the business onward to long-run success.

Turn your millennial training plan into business results with Lessonly

Lessonly works with hundreds of teams, across a variety of industries, as they design their employee learning plans. Our modern training software translates important work knowledge from your training plan into lessons that engage team members, develop skills, and accelerate productivity. Take a tour today and learn how Lessonly empowers teams to do better work.

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