The average tenure for a millennial employee is estimated at just two years, compared to more than 15 years for a baby boomer. Millennials are a major part of the workforce, and also the least likely to compromise on anything that does not suit their interests. They know their worth and they also know that there’s no shortage of job options.

As the latest cloud-based business software opens up more remote working options, millennials are just not comfortable with the age-old paradigm of the 9-5 drudgery. Even if organizations have successfully managed to hire the best talent from this lot, retaining them requires them to understand the needs and aspirations of this major part of the workforce and devise a strategy accordingly. After all, millennials are the biggest job-hopping generation. According to a Gallup report, 21% of millennial workers had left their jobs in the last year to do something else. Millennials apparently find it difficult to get jobs that can keep them engaged for the longer run. The same report reveals that only 29% of employed millennials are engaged at work.

The Global Human Capital Trends report 2016 says that four percent of senior executives feel that their organization is effectively engaging millennials in the workplace. This employee engagement deficit means that companies are losing out on the significant majority of output that could have potentially been derived from the top talent that they invested so much in to hire at the first place.

If this is not solved, organizations will have to incur huge turnover costs. According to the Centre for American Progress, it costs businesses about one-fifth of a worker’s salary to replace that worker. For businesses that experience a high level of turnover, this cost could be a massive amount.

Career growth and mentorship sit at the top of the list of things that millennials want from their jobs. So, if career growth is key to this generation, shouldn’t this genuine thirst for knowledge be harnessed by organizations in a way that helps them retain their millennial workforce? One of the best ways to offer this to them is through training (which millennials are reportedly prepared to pay for themselves). Training that not only focuses on achieving numbers, but training that is created by keeping the needs of this generation in mind.

Another craving of millennials is coaching and feedback. Organizations need to build a roadmap for their employees that matches their aspirations. This can also be achieved through training. Performance on assessments post training can be discussed with managers, who in turn can give them honest feedback to help them grow and do better with time. Millennials are hungry for knowledge and want to be problem solvers. Using the right kind of technology that can help incorporate real time feedback on ongoing projects can also serve as a source of great motivation and inspiration.

According to Paul DePalma, CEO of Adept Performance Systems:

“This generation has higher expectations for training. It is important for organizations to adapt for their people, and one of the keys in adapting training to the millennial generation is suiting it to their learning style. Millennials want to know how it’s going to impact them and their career and also, altruistically, society in general.”

Here is what an effective employee training program should include in order to engage millennials in your workplace:

1. Invest in learning opportunities

The Global Human Capital Trends Report, 2016 reveals that 30% of executives see learning as the primary driver of employee development. Professional growth within the company is possible through customized and blended training programs, which allow employees to learn at their own pace and time.

Studies have shown that millennials are likely to move elsewhere if their employers do not offer them any kind of learning opportunities. What is also important to consider here is that learning should not be forced by pushing millennials to accepting traditional classroom methodologies. Instead, learning should be fun and engaging, with microlearning being the key element here. After all, we are talking of a generation that loves exploiting the power of technology and mobile devices, and learning programs should be aligned to these wants. The content needs to be optimum and carefully crafted, and also the way the training can be relevant to the millennials growth needs to be explained well.

Millennials are hungry for knowledge and they want to experience as much training as possible. Organizations need to provide this to them by building effective training programs, which are not only engaging, but the effectiveness of which can also be measured. Mentoring programs should also be made a part of training, to keep the audience motivated and inspired. A lot of technological innovations have come up that have helped organizations train their staff as well as measure the effectiveness of their training programs. For instance, Capabiliti by Qustn is an award winning platform that has helped learning professionals connect learning to their business goals.

2. Go digital with training

One in five millennials access the internet exclusively through their mobile devices. This generation has grown in a self-directed learning environment and has been exposed to the internet from a very early age. They get most of the information that they need from mobile devices and they are also highly active on social media.

Millennials also want flexible options as 77 percent of them wish to have greater mobile connectivity, such as via tablets and smartphones.. For the love of remote working, which 75 percent of millennials share, training needs to ensure that distributed and remote workforce are not ignored. If organizations work around providing such options to millennials, it will definitely increase their levels of satisfaction and boost productivity.

(Source – Global Human Capital Trends Report, 2016).

3. Feedback, feedback and more feedback

The biggest reason for disengagement amongst millennials is the lack of feedback from their managers. According to Gallup, 21 percent of millennials reported dissatisfaction by saying that they meet their managers only on a weekly basis, which does not let them know how they are doing at work. Regular meetings, along with frequent feedback can lead to more engagement, enhanced productivity and better retention levels too.

Employee training programs can have assessments, or practical application tests of what has been learned. The performance should be tracked and feedback given accordingly by the concerned managers. This will not only foster an increase in interest among the workforce, but also help them understand what they need to work upon, and feel wanted and genuinely cared for by their management.


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About the author:

Bhaswati Bhattacharyya is a Product Specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about Economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her ‘me time’ she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less traveled places on the world map. Follow her on Twitter at @Bhaswatibh.

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