You’re building a team of passionate, committed employees in an awesome company culture. Your work environment is spot on, and every team member is engaged, enthused and ready to produce great work- or so you thought. Despite all the positive efforts your company is taking to create an ideal workplace, you’re continuing to lose great employees somewhere between the recruitment and “settling in” stages. So, what gives?
Before taking the losses personally, it’s important to step back and identify the generation your employees are coming from. Chances are, you’re losing millennials- and more than likely, it’s because your company training isn’t relative to them at all.
First off, what Millennial characteristics affect their learning?
- Short attention spans. Millennials have always had to dig through cluttered landscapes to find value- they tend to seek information in short bursts and ignore “noise”.
- Technology is a Millennials’ best friend. Technology and mobility are inherent in the life of a Millennial.
- Prefer collaborative/social spaces. This generation loves collaboration, feedback, interactivity and they’re socially driven.
- Value and task oriented. They have strong values and parallel them to many aspects of life, especially work and learning. In addition, they have a task oriented disposition, rather than time oriented. Time doesn’t dictate their workday- projects do.
Why should your company change training for just one group?
Why? Well, simply put, they are your company’s future workforce. By 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers globally will be Millennials.
Traditional training tactics get a Millennial spin
Here are some examples of a few classic training techniques, why they aren’t reaching your Millennial employees and what to do about it:
1. Lectures: Does anybody like these anymore? Well one thing is for sure, Millennials don’t. They’re disengaging, boring and most importantly, lacking a feeling of “purpose”. They don’t offer any real examples or scenarios, they’re just old-fashioned.
According to an article from Forbes, “Millennials often despise educational and work environments based on passively absorbing knowledge and regurgitating it later.”
Give that lecture a Millennial facelift: Try to liven your lectures by including time for interactivity- questions, debate, discussions. Set aside time for practice and assessments, too. This brings the purpose back to the material.
2. Planned Readings: In a world of technology and mobility, planning time for reading during training is counterintuitive for your Millennials.
According to the same article from Forbes, “The truth is that Millennials prefer to learn at their own pace and schedule rather than go through lectures and overly structured training.”
Revamp those readings: Try assigning a certain amount of reading to a Millennial before it’s actually needed during in-person training sessions. This allows them to read when they want, then actually apply the reading to an activity, discussion or assessment. Again, exposing the nucleus of Millennial training criteria: purpose.
3. Role Playing: While this does require more interactivity than the other two examples, it’s typically not an effective training technique for Millennials. Mostly because it can be awkward, uncomfortable and leaves the trainee missing the message entirely.
“And as for your training material, video clips under three minutes long are ideal because they will fit within the attention span of your audience. Just set a clear deadline for completing training and let them do the rest.” [Forbes]
Redo the role play: Think of ways to “gamify” your training content without making it painfully awkward. Incentivize trainees with things like points, badges, or leaderboards in team dynamics for applying training materials. Use visuals and provide feedback and praise along the way.
Reaching Millennials with your training can seem daunting, and completely changing your training guide even more so, but really it simply requires seeing things from their perspective and providing them with the purpose to help them succeed.
Attributions: Kathy Caprino, Forbes' Article "Quit Trying to Engage Millennials"; Ryan Jenkins, Next Generation Catalyst's Blogpost "22 Shocking Stats About Millennials to Help You Chart Tomorrow's Change"