How to Build a Millennial-Friendly Employee Training Program

By Carolyn Kick - Director of Marketing at Launchways

Today’s workforce continues to transform as Baby Boomers retire and Millennials take their place. In fact, projections estimate that Millennials will make up over 50% of the global workforce by 2020. Changing workforce composition has led to unique challenges for HR leaders. Research by Deloitte indicates that pinpointing the most effective strategies to develop talent is the second largest challenge facing human resources leaders today.

When it comes to Millennials in the workplace, talent development is key. According to Gallup, 60% of millennials say that the opportunity to learn and grow on the job is extremely important. To this point, 71% of Millennials who are likely to leave a company within two years are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed. The Millennial generation is naturally curious and has a strong desire for knowledge and development.

Companies that prioritize developing effective methods to train their Millennial team members will excel at engaging and retaining a modern workforce. However, Millennials have unique needs and expectations when it comes to training. In order to get the maximum impact from talent development efforts, it’s important to tailor your training program to the preferences of Gen Y.

In this post we’ll explore several methods you can leverage to build a Millennial-friendly employee training program. The strategies we’ll cover include:

  • Technology
  • Mentoring
  • Microlearning
  • Collaboration
  • Gamification

Technology

Millennials grew up using smartphones, laptops, and social media so technology is second nature to them. This generation does not only embrace technology as a core component of the training process, they expect it. Dense training manuals or archaic PowerPoint presentations will do little to impact your Millennial teammates. Instead, you should aim to integrate technology in every stage of your employee training.

Leveraging online e-learning platforms or mobile learning applications are great ways to build a technology-driven training program. However, it’s important to note that Millennials don’t simply expect technology-driven development programs, they also expect that technology to be simple, intuitive, and well-designed. If training technology isn’t user friendly, Millennials are unlikely to take to the programs.

Mentoring

Integrating Millennial-friendly mentoring into your employee training program is essential. Millennials see mentoring as an invaluable career development tool and are much more likely to stay at companies that offer dedicated mentoring programs. According to the 2016 Deloitte Millenial survey, 44% of Millennials expect to leave their current job within 2 years and only 27% expect to stay for more than 5 years. Millenials intending to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%).

Even with all of the benefits of providing mentorship, sustaining mentorship programs can be difficult due to scheduling logistics and time requirements. Fortunately, there are now technology tools that can facilitate mentorship remotely via video calling tools like Zoom or at scale on people’s own time via recorded video / audio insights & updates from leaders recorded from their phones.

Microlearning

Microlearning is the process of providing knowledge in small doses. Whereas a standard online learning course may be an hour or several hours of material, microlearning occurs in 2-15 minute sessions. These shorter sessions are more in-line with the learning preferences of Millennials. Having grown up on technology and surrounded by social media, many Millennials have a significantly shorter attention span than their Baby Boomer counterparts.

Microlearning breaks down larger topics into smaller, easy to comprehend chunks. Microlearning has been proven to make information easier to absorb, retain, and recall. Breaking down traditional training programs into incremental microlearning programs is a great way to appeal to your Millennial team members.

Collaboration

When it comes to training Millennials, integrating opportunities for collaboration is key. Research by PwC indicates that Millennials are innately collaborative and learn particularly well in team or group settings. A great way to bring collaboration to your training program is to build knowledge sharing communities. These are online groups of coworkers, managers, and/or subject matter experts that participate in ongoing discussions and share best practices. Unlike traditional e-learning which is independent, knowledge sharing forums are highly social and foster candid discussions.

There are entire technology tools dedicated to creating a place for online knowledge sharing at your business. However, it could be as simple as creating a Slack channel or LinkedIn Group where employees are encouraged to sharing learning moments and best practices.

Gamification

Gamification is the integration of game-like elements into businesses processes. These game-like elements might include scoring points or badges, advancing through various levels, competing with fellow coworkers, or rewards for completing tasks. The idea behind gamification is that it provides employees with incentives to complete tasks on time. Gamification also creates a much more engaging, fun learning process for employees.

Key Takeaways

In this post we discussed the unique needs of Millennials and provided some strategies to create a Millennial-friendly employee training program. Some key takeaways include:

  • Millennials demand technology-driven training programs
  • Mentoring is an essential component of any Millennial-talent development program
  • Breaking down larger topics into shorter, micro learning sessions can make information easier to retain and recall
  • Millennials enjoy learning in collaborative environments
  • The integration of game-like elements such as competitions, scoring points, or rewards, is a great way to create a more engaging employee training program

About the author

Carolyn Kick is the Director of Marketing at Launchways. Launchways helps growing businesses better approach the people side of their business through strategic solutions for human resources, employee benefits, and business insurance.