According to the Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, a millennial is defined as a person who was born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s; a member of Generation Y. If you look around you in the workplace, they outnumber all other generations and they are expected to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte.
What are the personality traits that describe millennials best? Well, they are unlike any other generation. They are passionate about technology and they have integrated it into almost every part of their lives. They are usually multitasking, but this also comes with a challenge: as multitasking as they might be, they are also easily distracted. They have been exposed so much to advertising, that they no longer want any other form of communication that is not straightforward, so authenticity is the key to talk to them. And how do you capitalize on these traits in order to develop training strategies?
The training strategies that used to be effective with other generations are definitely outdated now, when it comes to people who work and learn differently, which means that the learning programs should be orientated towards other values, such as social learning, collaboration, learning flexibility and accessibility to technology.
Taking them step by step, what do we do with their need for collaborative learning and their passion for social media channels? Well, we make the most of both of them and we come up with a tool that enhances them, such as communities of practice. This means that they have the feeling of belonging to a group while gaining knowledge, and they communicate through a digital platform, as they are used to talking with their peers anyways.
Also, most of them are video game fans, and a report by Nielsen shows that they spend around 6 hours each week watching video game content. Thus, we take something millennials like and turn it into a learning tool: gamification. You can use games and quizzes to keep them engaged in the learning process and you can even involve them in the designing part, as they have quite some good insights in this field.
Moreover, mentorship and connectivity are important to them, so assigning mentors at the beginning of their career is a smart move, as it fulfils the need of connectivity, while also keeping them motivated. According to a Deloitte survey, "millennials with a mentor are receiving good advice and feel somebody is interested in their professional development", which is something really important to them. Also, they should be provided with the opportunity to ask questions, as they are mostly curious about everything that happens around them, and with the possibility of discussing career options, as professional growth really matters to them.
But, besides everything else, millennials need to have opportunities to gain knowledge, to grow, to develop, and the training and development specialists play a huge role in this. According to another survey conducted by Deloitte, where “millennials are most satisfied with their learning opportunities and professional development programs they are also likely to stay longer”. Thus, the more you invest in their development, the less chances of turnover you encounter.
Some (final) thoughts
This article is part of a bigger topic called: