Scratching your head about how to develop your learning programs to engage millennials? Relax, they put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us! That being said, this younger generation, rapidly becoming the bulk of the labor force, do have some quirks that all leaders in your organization should be aware of. Scheduling an expert, a classroom and an overhead projector just isn't going to cut it anymore! So what are the things leaders need to consider when developing training programs?
1. Provide the Right Tools for the Job.
The first thing your learning program must do is provide millennials with the correct tools for the job. In the largest global generational study ever conducted, PWC found that compared to older generations, millennials have greater demands for support from their organizations. They simply won't go out of their way to complete training that isn't set up for their success. A little preparation goes a long way and will make the learning process seamless. Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Does your learning software make learning easier? Or harder?
- If online training, is it easy to access and have you provided the right hardware, correct URLs, access privileges, etc.?
- Consider tools like video to improve your learning programs
- Provide a tablet or even a smartphone for workers who don't have access to mobile devices
2. Give Them Flexibility
Millennials are famous for heavily favoring non-standard work schedules, the ability to work from home and other arrangements that older workers might not even consider. What is the underlying theme here? They want flexibility! And this desire for flexibility goes toward how they are learning.
- Let them learn at their own pace. According to PWC, a significant number of employees from all generations feel so strongly about wanting a flexible work schedule that they would be willing to give up pay and delay promotions in order to get it. Give specific deadlines but let them decide if they're going to do the lesson all at once, or spread out over their lunch breaks. Consider "micro" lessons of 10 minutes or less. Obviously this is easier with online tools but it can be planned for in-person training as well. Break the training down into digestible chunks and schedule multiple sessions across different days.
Give millennials a say in the curriculum. Adam Henderson of Millennial Mindset found that roughly 40 percent of millennials want self-directed learning or their choice of training courses. Put programs in place to help millennials clearly understand their own weaknesses and goals, and they will be the best ones to come up with their training needs. Saba Learning is the perfect tool to help millennials do this.
3.. Provide Leadership Training
One learning topic that millennials tend to yearn for is leadership training. In fact, according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, millennials would like to increase the time devoted to leadership skills development from 2.7 to 4.5 hours a week-an increase of two-thirds. This held true across multiple job functions, countries and cultures. It makes sense: millennials are the current and future leaders of the workforce, and they know it. They want to be set up for success in leadership positions, and you should want the same thing! Besides, even if your millennials aren't going to be in leadership positions anytime soon, leadership is the one skill needed at all levels of your organization.
4. Seek Feedback and Iterate
Employers serious about employee engagement will also take feedback seriously. Whether it's an hour of safety training or a week of sales training, seek feedback during and after the training. Millennials will give you honest feedback, which will allow you to improve your training program. Seeking constant improvement in your training program is key to both engaging and retaining millennials. Deloitte's study found that when millennials are most satisfied with their learning opportunities and professional development programs, they are also likely to stay longer. Therefore, continually improving your training programs isn't just about making your workforce better, it's key to keeping your workforce loyal as well. In fact, we believe getting feedback is so important, we built Saba Pulse 360 to make this a cinch!
With some preparation, your learning team can maximize the effectiveness of your programs with millennial learners. Give them the tools they need, the flexibility they desire, the leadership training they deserve and the responsibility to help you improve your learning programs for their peers. Truth be told, these tips will benefit your entire workforce, not just millennials.