C-Suite Network™

How to Create Better Training Programs for Younger Millennial Workers

The so-called millennial generation (also called “Generation Y”) includes people born between 1980 and 1998.  Many older millennials, now in their early to mid-30s, are already established in their careers. Chances are that many of them are already working throughout the ranks of your organization. They have taken part in your training, maybe even designed parts of your training, and chances are very good that you already understand their learning preferences well.

Let’s take a closer look at younger working millennials – people born between about 1990 and 1995. These are the younger workers who might be applying for their first “real” post-college jobs with your organization right now.  They’re young and fresh-faced, yet if you’re a a generation or two older than they are, chances are that you’ve hit some roadblocks when creating training programs that work well for them.

Key Traits of Younger Millennials

Although generalizations tend to be flawed, here are some attitudes that we have found to be shared by significant members of this cohort.

  • An entrepreneurial mindset – They want to stake out a business identity and space for themselves – even in larger companies.
  • Risk tolerance – Many are self-confident and are willing to help their employers take risks.
  • A love of technology – They tend to be highly mobile and like to access information and training on smartphones and tablets.
  • Social consciousness – They tend to be compassionate and respond positively to working for companies that embrace and support social causes and “doing good in the world.”
  • Openness – Many welcome being part of diverse workforces. Furthermore, they are more welcoming of alternative lifestyles than preceding generations were.
  • Career mobility – Many do not have a lot of company loyalty – they will change jobs often as a way to achieve personal goals and success.

Critical Steps to Take when Training Millennials

As you develop and improve your training programs, here are some ways to make them more compelling and effective with younger millennial workers:

  • Keep it short – Present learning lessons and modules in small “digestible” chunks that millennials can absorb quickly. They are a fast-moving cohort and often become uninterested as soon as training seems irrelevant.
  • Use animations, WAV files and other moving images to deliver key concepts. They work better than words or text to convey big concepts to millennials.
  • Deliver training on platforms that millennials prefer and already use, including smartphones and tablets. They are the mobile-friendly generation.
  • Ask for their ideas and suggestions during training, because millennials think like entrepreneurs, value autonomy, and like to shape the content of their jobs.
  • Express your company values in your training. You can explain, for example, that your organization is trying not just to generate profits, but to support employees and do good in the world. When younger millennials see that their work supports those objectives, they are more likely to believe in company leaders and initiatives – and more likely to experience levels of satisfaction that make them want to continue working for you in the long term.

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