Which side of the millennial fence are you on?
Do you consider them spoiled trophy kids whose job-hopping tendencies make them poor candidates for long-term development? Or tech-savvy, civic-minded individuals capable of making lasting contributions to your organization with the right support?
Polarizing as they are, there’s one thing we all can agree on about millennials: they’re different from any generation that’s come before. And if we want to engage them at work, we need to rethink the way we approach organizational learning. Here are 7 powerful tips to get you started.
- Onboard like you mean it.
We’re all hungry for meaning. But millennials put a premium on doing work that matters. When onboarding new hires, don’t just drop a company handbook on their desks. Invest time, resources, and media in extensively educating employees about your company’s policies, practices, history, mission, and vision. The better they understand where you’re looking to go, the more motivated they’ll be to help you get there.
- Get role-specific.
Millennials are extremely focused on advancing their individual skills. In fact, training and development is the #1 perk they seek in an employer. Show young employers that you understand their desire to become better performers by creating trainings that reflect and evolve with their unique roles—not just blanket content that serves the whole organization.
- Make learning mobile.
Too much L&D is still taking place on clunky, disjointed systems that are inconvenient to access. The millennial generation won’t stand for terrible technology. Not only that, but their lives are largely lived within their phones. If they can’t access your learning on the go, it may as well not exist.
- Invest in quality content.
The web is loaded with high-quality, engaging content. That’s what your learning program is competing with 24/7. If your content is boring, dated, or poorly executed, not only will it fail to resonate with a millennial audience, but it also says something about your company—that you’re not relevant. And the last thing any millennial wants to be is behind the times.
- Be as flexible as possible.
Though millennials are often seen as self-indulgent, the flip side is that they’re quite motivated to improve—they just want to do it their way. That’s why the more you structure your learning program for learners to engage at their own pace, or at the point of need, the higher your engagement will be—and the greater your employee satisfaction.
- Help them learn by doing.
As digital natives, millennials are used to learning something online quickly, and immediately putting it into action. That’s why it’s important to build in practice activities and assessments to your content. It gives learners the instant context and gratification they desire, plus it increases the likelihood that they’ll actually retain and apply what they’ve learned.
- Keep the learning coming.
It’s important to take a proactive approach to learning instead of a reactive one. Don’t just create trainings around problems—encourage learners to continually advance their skillsets. Not only will you develop happier, more fulfilled employees, but their ability to contribute to your organization will constantly improve.
Whether you consider millennials fascinating, frustrating, or somewhere in between, they’re here to stay. Employ these strategies and you’ll be well on your way to developing passionate, productive 21st century employees who are proud to be a part of your company.
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