Millennials are slowly but surely taking over the workforce, causing companies to confront decades-old training programs that are outdated, overpriced, and ineffective.
Workers’ demands are changing, and companies must evolve their employee development programs to keep up. After all, training is one of the best retention tools out there, and millennials more than any other generation look for jobs they can grow in. A survey by Deloitte found that millennials will go so far as to leave their current employer if they do not see an opportunity for leadership skill development.
So, if you want to keep your new millennials hires around for a while, try some of these fresh training ideas.
Concentrate on leadership
Consider this: nearly 70% of millennials are motivated to take on leadership roles in the next five years. Likewise, 60% of millennials want training to develop their leadership skills. The stats are clear. With mountains of student debt and an idealistic penchant for changing the world, millennials have specific career needs. When younger workers see no opportunity to grow into a higher-paying role with more responsibility, they’ll abandon ship.
What does great leadership training look like? The best training programs start with an assessment tool to see the areas where an employee is strongest and weakest. It also means giving your younger employees more challenging projects soon after then come onboard. Not only will you start giving them room to grow, but your company might actually benefit. Harvard Business Review found that leaders under the age of 30 were two to three times as likely to be effective at both bottom-line results and engagement than older employees. Start with hands-on training sooner, rather than later.
We’ve all been subjected to compliance or onboarding training that seems to go on endlessly. When training takes place annually, lasts for lengthy sessions, or minimizes employee participation, they’re nearly guaranteed to fail.
A happy alternative? Microlearning, or training in small units developed for immediate use. With this fresh training program, content is distributed in modules that are usually 2-15 minutes in length. All humans have short attention spans, and this format helps millennials get up to speed on your company’s material more efficiently. Plus, many microlearning programs are built to be consumed on mobile devices, a serious plus for millennials on-the-go. Microlearning forces you to simplify your training to make it easily consumable – cutting down on unnecessary detail.
Likewise, microlearning offers the opportunity to let millennial workers train at their own pace. High-performers hungry for success will be satisfied by the opportunity to constantly grow, and you’ll be able to identify who is less engaged and adjust their workflow accordingly.
Gamify your training program
As it turns out, recognition and rewards are the top two motivators of performance in the workplace. Yes, employees can be bribed to do better.
Using a little bit of psychology, gamification can be a powerful way to get your training program into the brains of millennials. Reward millennial workers for completing your small training modules with points, prizes, and recognition in the form of a leaderboard. Millennials love well-designed training platforms and aren’t shy about sharing their information online. Stop making training feel like a punishment by adding a little friendly competition (and great prizes) into the mix.
Not only is gamification a great motivator, but it also improves learning retention. When designed properly, gamed training is both fun and leads to a significant improvement in employee performance. Studies have found that when a user is absorbed in the training game, they are better able to apply their learning and meet performance expectations than if they are subjected to long training sessions by Powerpoint. It’s a win-win for your company and your millennial workers.
Combine training with mentorship
Invest in your millennial employees and you’ll win their loyalty for life (probably). Training programs don’t have to be overt: mentorship is an informal variation on training that shows you’re helping your team learn and grow. Pair up millennial workers with individuals who match their goals, strengths, and interests.
Not enough mentors to go around? Provide hands-on training with a job rotation program: doing is always better than seeing. Set up a job shadowing program so your millennials can experience a separate department or job role. They’ll get a chance to network with others in your organization, as well as to see what it takes to do a different job each day. And no, having your programmer sit in with a customer service rep probably won’t further their technical skills. But, it can lead to an exchange in leadership, accountability, and start to build a team environment.
About the author: This article is written by Emily Heaslip from ClickTime.