Millennials already comprise the largest share of workers in the U.S. workforce, and while the energy of these young employees is bringing new talent and skills, it’s also creating its fair share of challenges.
Brought up as technology natives, Millennials are fluent in many of the game-changing tools and applications that are reshaping the competitive landscape. It’s not surprising that HR departments are competing for the same talent in their teams and to fill the roles for their hiring managers.
Unfortunately, for all their beneficial skills, Millennials can be less loyal to companies than other generations. The median tenure for a millennial employee is estimated at just two years, compared to seven years for a baby boomer.
Building loyalty and keeping Millennials engaged has quickly become a top organizational priority.
According to a Deloitte survey on Global Human Capital Trends, only 4% 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 from the top talent that they worked so hard to find and hire.
One of the most important ways to keep Millennial employees engaged is during employee onboarding and training programs.
By developing a clear roadmap for the employee that matches the young hires’ aspirations, companies have a much better chance of keeping them engaged for the long term.
Here are three methods that you can use to develop an effective employee training program for Millennials.
1. Invest in their Professional Development
Many organizations’ senior position holders may complain that Millennials aren’t team players.
However, However, these are likely problems that the Managers and Human Resources teams are co-creating by failing to convince the young employees why they should want to be part of the team.
So, why don’t they want to grow with the team?
It may be because they don’t feel that the position aligned with their expectations during the hiring process of their long-term professional development goals.
The idea behind a successful employee training program is to give a new hire the tools they need to achieve maximum success in their role at the company.
52% of millennials believe opportunities for career progression over financial incentives is their top determining factor when choosing a job.
Another 35% said that excellent training and development programs were another top factor they use to determine whether the job offer was attractive or not.
To accommodate these millennial aspirations, it becomes critical that HR departments focus on developing top-notch employee onboarding and training programs.
A big part of developing a professional career is gaining the expertise necessary to rise through the ranks and land the position you want in the long term. This means that employee training programs should focus on developing adaptable skill sets that the employee can use to further develop their careers.
It’s a good idea to understand where your younger employees want to be in five years, and incorporate skill milestones into the employee training program. This will ensure that they learn the skills they need to level-up later on in their career.
2. Leverage the Right Technology
Technology is your ally when training Millennials.
They are used to having access to information within a few seconds after doing a quick Google search on their mobile or tablet.
To engage Millennial hires in employee training programs, L&D teams should create programs that incorporate the basic eLearning principles, and ensure content is accessible across multiple devices.
The first major mistake you can make with Millennial employee training materials is giving them a pile of unwieldy binders, full of heavy content that’s difficult to access and easy to forget.
Curate your training material in an open environment (or intranet) and make sure that it’s easy to reference with basic search.
Not only is this is the way that Millennials are used to accessing what they need, but it’s also a much more effective method for storing and sharing information for everybody in the organization.
Millennials are also accustomed to interactive learning from multimedia, such as YouTube. More importantly, it has been shown that memory retention is significantly improved by incorporating this type of training content into lesson plans.
If companies have the right resources available, developing custom training videos that deliver lessons on specific company topics can be a highly effective way to engage Millennial employees.
Micro-learning is an increasingly popular method for employee training because it’s well-adapted to our brains that have been wired through constant distractions - it is a teaching technique that delivers content in small, specific bursts.
Micro-learning is popular with Millennials because it doesn’t require a long attention span, and works great for delivering lessons over mobile devices.
Finally, milestone-based approaches that deliver the right information at the right time can make training feel more tailored to employee needs and reduce early employee anxiety.
Lesson modules that can be completed, indexed and then accessed on-demand at a later point can go a long way. The training will feel as natural to the Millennial employee as remembering how to cook chicken and mushroom risotto through a quick Google search.
HR and People departments should seek to collect data on the results and employee engagement in training programs, then use this data to analyze the training program itself to see if there are areas that could be improved.
3. Open Up The Lines of Communication
Millennials thrive on communication and feedback.
In addition to regular employee training programs, it is important to develop a roadmap that will encourage new employees’ personal development and show them the options available to further integrate themselves into the company down the line.
Throughout the employee training process, HR managers should be coordinating feedback for the new hire to let them know if they’re meeting benchmarks or areas they should seek to improve.
A clear and transparent channel of communication set during this employee onboarding process will support employees to feel that they’re being incorporated into the company in a meaningful way.
Employee onboarding is the first step where management and HR teams can align the development expectations and career trajectory of employees.
Communication of the roadmap – whether in more senior roles, different departments, or new initiatives – can support company loyalty and increases chances of long term employee success.
Putting the Training into Action
The key for an effective employee training program aimed at Millennials is to engage them early and ensure they are prepared with all the skills they need to reach their full potential.
Millennial employees value training programs, not only for the joy of learning, but because they see it as a path to longer term improvement and stronger career prospects.
Developing employee training programs to accommodate Millennials isn’t an overnight process; it requires long-term focus.
Stay patient when developing a new program, as implementing new technologies and changing old habits takes time.
Think about employee training in terms of geometric progression - small gains build and multiple on each other, and accelerate the rate of employee development and success.
Before you know it, you will have changed the trajectory of your organization.
Incorporating training into your Employee Onboarding programs can go a long way towards continued company success. Want to learn more about building better connected, more engaged, and higher performing teams?
Download the Sapling Guide to Employee Onboarding Success, or sign up for a product demo today.