Millennials. The generation almost everyone born before the '80s loves to hate. I can't blame them, really. Millennials demand a raise after three full days of work; they think they deserve it. They got trophies just for showing up. They are narcissistic whiny brats who think the world turns around their needs and they can arrive late at work because their dog had an appointment at the barber shop. Also, they have a Kangoo Jumps class at seven, so the work schedule must be organized around that.
How condescending! What manager has time for this nonsense? Well... Don't fire them just yet.
Millennials inherited the economy at its worst — perhaps Gen Xers and Baby Boomers would also have demanded fast raises if their rents swallowed up to 80% of their income! Millennials are great at multitasking, socializing and networking and can use a laptop, a tablet and two smartphones at the same time. And what's wrong with pursuing a healthy work-life balance?
Apart from the bad examples — which, let's face it, every generation has — millennials are hard working, are never satisfied with the status quo, are hungry for continuous learning, and they need to connect work with a greater purpose. They may even use the bike to go to work, because they care about the environment. Even when they procrastinate at work (or pro-cat-stinate, meaning watching cat videos), they are actually mentally preparing to tackle tough tasks afterward. It's science!
And the best argument for not firing them just yet? Your business won't survive without them. Millennials are the largest living generation AND they provide the largest labor force in the US. If you stick only to an aging workforce, you shouldn't be surprised when your competition gets ahead of you thanks to the innovative ideas of head-in-the-clouds millennials.
Millennials + video
If cool people in the '90s were blogging, millennials are vlogging now. Who has time for writing when you can talk faster? Video is the new text. If they don't know how to do something, they turn to their smart devices in their pockets for instant results to whatever questions they have. Between pages of written words and a video, what do you think will win their attention? The video, no doubt.
There are great chances that millennials are at work when they need to learn something and turn to YouTube. Professional learning and development is a hot topic, according to this year's Global Human Capital Trends Report by Deloitte, with more than eight in ten executives viewing learning as an important or very important issue and employees at all levels expecting dynamic, personalized, self-directed, continuous learning opportunities from their employers.
Millennials + Videos = Love
That's a kind of love you actually want to happen at work.
Video learning is probably the most efficient way of online training. Videos are rarely longer than 20 minutes, they spark interest and they keep more eyeballs on the screen. The human brain responds better to movement than to still blocks of text. Add an interactive touch, and your millennial workforce will love to be trained.
Even if you keep things simple, videos will get higher engagement rates than any other method of delivering information (except for a one to one session, maybe). Whether we're talking about new employee training, how to work with a new CRM, fire safety at the workplace, benefits or compensation programs, videos will stick to the trainees' brains and will make them better remember all the new things they learn.
All you have to do next is to put all videos in one place (a centralized LMS perhaps) and make sure everyone in your office has easy access to all of them. Being able to watch the right video more than once can help with developing skill mastery.
You can't ask millennials to live and breathe your company values and give nothing in return. Speak their language and work for your relationship. Recognition for a good job does miracles for self confidence. So does having trust in their ways of doing things. Because between a cat video and an Instagram post there can be a tutorial on how to create extended reports in SalesForce or any other video related to a tough task everyone else avoids to do.
Over to you! What's your opinion about millennials' approach to work and their ways of learning?
Disclaimer: I am a millennial.
Another disclaimer: I am a cat owner.