Millennials have grown up in a society that is very different from any group before them. They have different characteristics and values and are looking for companies that offer tangible benefits and perks that match these unique values.
Unfortunately, most companies simply aren’t offering them and are suffering retention issues as a result. According to a recent Gallup report on the millennial generation, 21 percent of millennials have changed jobs within the past year. This number is three times higher than the percentage of non-millennials who changed jobs during the same period. The financial impact to the U.S. economy is a startling $30.5 billion annually.
You can make an immediate impact to alter these statistics in your company. According to a recent study conducted by PwC, training and development is millennials’ top ranked benefit. Combine this thirst for learning with the competition to entice and retain millennial talent, and you have the perfect recipe for learning and development teams to shine and be the heroes of your organization.
Millennials grew up with instant access to information using technology. Their approach to solving problems is fundamentally different because of their ready access to information; thus, they require an evolved learning approach. It’s time to realign your learning strategies to meet the needs of this generation. Implementing these eight strategies will create an ideal learning environment for millennials in your company:
1. Personalized Learning
One size doesn’t fit all. Every employee has individual learning needs and styles. The key to creating a successful personal learning path strategy is to develop a plan that seamlessly blends the content with the needs and wants of each learner. In addition to the individualized goals and objectives they set for themselves, employees also must walk away from the experience with knowledge of the essential subject matter.
Bite-sized nuggets of focused information enable learners to grasp specific, actionable objectives. These nuggets provide opportunities for them to select and use the most relevant assets for their current upskilling needs. Microlearning works best with content that can easily be broken into smaller pieces. It can assist you in creating a personalized learning experience by enabling learners to control what and when they learn.
Millennials were raised with an emphasis on structure, measurements, coaching and feedback. Is it any wonder that they crave them in their workplace training? A study conducted by SuccessFactors found that millennials want feedback 50 percent more than other generations in the workforce. Training programs that offer constant, frequent feedback enable learners to take corrective action immediately while avoiding imprinting the incorrect information.
Adding game-like elements to learning enables you to increase engagement and entertainment for your learners. Gamification provides opportunities to earn rewards as concepts are mastered, which is a great way to provide the instant feedback that millennials desire. Keep in mind that for gamification to be effective, it must be relevant to the behavior or task being taught.
5. Training With a Purpose
Relevancy is very important to millennials. Training works best when the learner can immediately see its application. Millennials seek the ability to apply knowledge right away. While theory and ideas have a place, corporate training may not be that place. Be sure to connect real-life application to the learning experience.
Millennials are not looking for a quick certificate of accomplishment. Training for this generation is an opportunity to try something new – to stretch themselves. Providing real-world challenges in a safe training environment allows learners the opportunity to solve problems and achieve new skills quickly.
In a 2016 survey by ttcInnovations, millennials identified “other people” to be their top learning resource. They crave human interaction and immediate feedback, and they enjoy collaborating and sharing ideas with fellow training participants, coaches, mentors and managers. So, while it’s great to provide online opportunities to introduce concepts, follow up that online learning with collaborative discussions.
8. Learning Styles
Consider offering multiple learning styles in your next learning project. Provide text options for visual learners, audio options for auditory learners and hands-on experiences for kinesthetic learners. While it may take slightly longer to build training this way, you will be meeting a wider variety of learners’ needs, and the overall time to conquer the skill may be dramatically shorter.
The idea of realigning learning strategies due to changing needs of employees isn’t a new concept; learning philosophies have shifted over the years as we’ve gained a better understanding of our learners. It’s time to implement this realignment process into our current learning and development strategy to meet the needs of our emerging workforce.