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Simple solutions for training millennials (Part I)

Millennials are about to take over the world. Well, the workplace at least. With baby boomers approaching retirement, millennials are on track to take their place as the dominant generation.

Businesses need to come up with solid strategies of attracting, developing and retaining millennial employees if they want to prosper in the future. Traditional HR policies cannot satisfy this new generation's needs unless they become more digitalized. Millennials grew up surrounded by mobile phones, the internet and other technological advances, so they are surprised when they wake up in a business world still using Internet Explorer as the main browser.

Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends survey states that millennials want to work for organizations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills, and make a positive contribution to society. The same study puts an emphasis on the gap between millennials' demand for learning and development programs and companies' readiness to provide these.

Training solutions for millennials

Corporate training programs need to keep up with this new generation of employees because they are the ones who need to keep up with the only constant in today's business world: change. E-learning fits perfectly in this setup, as it can be adapted and customized at a high level.

Here are a few strategies to hold millennials' attention and take advantage of their unique talents for as long as possible through online training:

Adapt the orientation program. Your new hires will put an equal sign between the first learning experience and your entire company. It's up to you and your company's LMS to make the difference between a dull and outdated scheme, with a tremendous number of slides, outdated videos and boring lectures and an easy-to-follow e-learning system with a beautiful interface and updated features. Remember, millennials grew up with smartphones; don't try to impress them with a dial-up phone.

Define goals with gamification. Millennials need to know what tasks they should ace and what criteria are used for the evaluation of their performance. A great way to help millennial employees to have an outstanding performance is to define clear expectations from the beginning and include gaming principles in the design of your corporate e-learning. Gamification creates a fun and competitive way of learning and increases engagement.

Set the framework, but don't micromanage. Businesses need innovative thinking for developing and coming up with new products. Having 100 rules to follow and fixed deadlines for assignments is not only counterproductive for employees, but also creates a hostile environment for creativity. Let your millennial employees learn at their own pace and encourage new ideas as they emerge.

Make your training relevant. Millennials demand a personalized digital learning experience and don't like outdated training technologies. They are not interested in training that is not relevant for their role and will not positively contribute to their professional development. Make sure your e-learning content covers what they need to know and how it impacts them directly.

Go mobile. Use HTML5 to make sure your training has a responsive design and shows up well on all screen sizes. When millennials encounter a problem at work, more often than not they find the solution through the use of their smartphones. Being able to access your training materials on their mobile devices only improves their efficiency and contributes to a great learning experience.

Why bother with training millennials?

Working 9 to 5 in a cubicle, yearly performance reviews, getting a promotion after 5 years and retiring after 30 years in the same company are strange concepts for millennials. They need flexible working hours, the possibility to work from home or any other place that is not an office, instant feedback over their work and getting promoted based on their performance. They made a reputation for having no reservation about seeking out another job if the current one does not satisfy their needs and businesses should prepare to meet these needs. Why? Because millennials will be the largest generation of the workplace in five years time and their presence will only grow afterwards.

Professional learning is critical for increasing skills, improving the leadership pipeline, and enhancing employee engagement. As millennials transform the workplace we have known for the past decades, it is essential for businesses big and smal to assess their current learning environment and strive to build a learning experience that is customized for every employee. They are the future, after all.


Check out the second part of this article, where we'll explore another 5 training solutions for the millennial generation.

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