By the year 2020, nearly half (46 percent) of all U.S. workers will be millennials. With this surge of new, young workers comes the need to train them. But what’s the best way to do that as this powerful and misunderstood generation moves into positions once held by the older Gen X generation?
Highlight the significance of training
Research shows that 89% of millennials believe it is important to consistently learn in their jobs. But this training must be applicable to new employees just learning the ropes, as well as employees focused on long-term career development. “Businesses can’t just look at the reaction to training, and it can’t just be about learning,” explains Paul DePalma, CEO of Adept Performance Systems. “The training needs to have an application.”
In addition, millennials perform better if they see how their training can benefit them from the very beginning. “In order for their training to have an impact, it has to be tied to relevance and practicality,” says DePalma. “Millennials want to know how it’s going to impact them and their career and also, altruistically, society in general.”
Provide constant feedback and recognition
About eight out of 10 millennials want regular feedback from their boss. In addition, eight out of 10 think they deserve to be recognized more for their work. So what’s the takeaway? Millennials have a strong desire to contribute to an organization—and they also want a pat on the back when they do a good job.
Results from the Gen Y Workplace Expectation study show that 53 percent of millennial's believe that a mentor would help them become a better and more productive employee.
“For millennial's, there is a desire to be the best and anything that falls short of that is a huge failure,” says DePalma. “Coaching and mentor-ship can help trainees learn that progress can’t come immediately and they won’t sit in a corner office on their second day of work.”
Mentoring is great for any organization as it increases self-confidence and self-esteem, promotes professional career growth, enhances skills and problem analysis, and provides a focused attention on training and development.
Incorporate immediate assessments
A University of North Carolina study found that 88 percent of millennial's would rather receive feedback in real time—not to mention frequent in-person check-ins on progress.
With this in mind, organizations should incorporate assessment and feedback throughout all training. This allows managers to address any issues immediately, which in turn, maximizes the learning process. A critical part of learning and development, assessments determine whether or not education goals are being met. And this information is helpful sooner versus later.
Provide accessible training with integrated technology
Millennials in this country are glued to their devices. In fact, they check their smartphones about 45 times a day. This is no surprise for a generation that is obsessed with connecting and communicating. Training should reflect this obsession by featuring integrated technology that is accessible anywhere, anytime.
The learning and training style of millennials is extremely different from their predecessors. As a result, understanding how they live, learn, think, work and feel is the key to engaging and training the next—and largest—generation of workers.