Generation Y, or millennials (those born roughly between 1981 and 1996) are fast becoming the dominant generation in the United States. In fact, this age group is forecast to represent 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
The catch? Only 29% of millennials feel engaged at work. Chances are, this feeling of detachment extends to training and learning, too. So, how can companies train this important segment of the workforce in ways that will inspire and motivate them?
Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Use mobile-friendly training
With mobile-friendly training, you can train millennial employees at their convenience on a device, they’re rarely without—their smartphone; according to the Pew Research Center, more than nine-in-ten millennials own one. With mobile learning, employees can get access to training whenever and wherever they want. Whether they are on the go, on a break, visiting a site, or working in a factory, all they need is a mobile device, and they can begin their training.
2. Leverage microlearning
As the name suggests, microlearning consists of basing training on short forms of content such as brief videos that employees can consume in bits and pieces. You can even set up pop-ups for microtraining that will remind employees about their courses. This format is reminiscent of the content found on popular sites like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok that millennials are very familiar with, as research published on Statista shows: “As of 2020, Snapchat was the most popular social media platform among Gen Z and Millennials in the United States to connect to others. TikTok and Youtube ranked second and third, with respective shares of 91 percent and 87 percent of respondents using these social networks to connect to others.”
3. Favor peer-driven learning
You can give your employees the option to collaborate and chat with their colleagues through peer-to-peer learning. They can discuss training topics, give and take feedback, and motivate each other as they go. Also, when employees share their understanding with their peers, it becomes easier for them to retain their knowledge.
4. Introduce gamification
Including gamification in employee training can go a long way to boost the engagement of millennial employees. Apart from making training fun and easy, it also improves information retention and promotes teamwork. For instance, if you want to train your employees on compliance, you can introduce exciting quizzes and quests to understand topics like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and more.
5. Provide mentors
According to a survey by Deloitte, 61% of millennial employees benefit from a mentor who helps them develop leadership skills. Those who intend to stay more than five years at their organization are twice as likely to have a mentor. In other words, providing millennials with this type of guidance is becoming more and more expected and can be beneficial to employee loyalty and retention rates, with 79% of millennials believe mentoring from the right people is crucial for career success.
Training Gen Y employees comes with its share of challenges, too. Here are some of the worst ways of training millennials that you should avoid.
1. Not providing enough learning opportunities
Millennials are ambitious and have a desire to keep learning—in fact, according to a recent PwC study, personal learning and development is their first choice benefit from employers. You might lose them in the long run if you don’t provide enough learning opportunities; make sure their work contributes to real progress in your organization, and make room for their career progression aspirations.
2. Not providing feedback on their performance
Did you know that 64% of millennials prefer being recognized for personal accomplishments rather than team accomplishments? The worst thing you can do is avoid giving them feedback; if they put effort into a task, they expect you to tell them how they performed so they can learn from this experience.
3. Not Showing How Their Training Aligns With The Company’s Goals
You must familiarize millennial employees with their contributions to short-term and long-term company goals, and the wider vision of the organization. Many millennials insist they prefer purpose-driven jobs, so much so that one study claims they even prefer it over a higher paycheck. Frequent one-on-one meetings ensure that managers and employees are on the same page. In short, regular interaction can help millennials clear their doubts and confusion, thereby helping them fulfill the organization’s goals better.
From introducing gamification and using mobile-friendly training to providing mentorship from industry leaders, suitable training methods can increase your millennial employees’ productivity. However, limiting their learning opportunities, not appreciating them for their excellent work, and not giving them an idea of how their training can help the organization succeed can adversely affect their efficiency. When in doubt? Send out a survey to gauge your millennial employees’ needs, and start with a bottom-up approach to identifying training needs.