Millennials or Gen Y, commonly defined as a person born in the decade and a half commencing 1980-81. They currently comprise the largest component of the global workforce. Some studies project that for the US, this could well be around 75% by 2025. Trends in the demographic composition of the global labor force are unlikely to be any different. Providing this large proportion of the workforce with the right skill sets and competencies is paramount for businesses. Going wrong with this has serious implications for enterprise goals as they cannot afford to carry a majority of its employees ill-equipped and disengaged with their work.
To understand how best to utilize available training resources for optimal use amongst millennials, comprehending what makes them tick is fundamental. Some discernible characteristics, influenced by the socio-economic milieu they have been brought up in, that mark out this cohort of 24/25 to 40/41 years old are:
Unlike the previous generation, technology advancements do not faze them. They quickly adapt to new developments.
They set themselves well-defined goals and are determined to achieve them through available ways and means.
They want to be winners and successful. They have a great competitive spirit and drive to rise to higher levels.
They value their me-time and leisure as much as their work. They prefer flexibility in work schedules. Enterprises that do not meet this need of theirs do not engage their interest.
When working with millennials keeping these particular traits in mind helps in determining the right means and methods to make them a contributory and collaborative set of employees. To make training effective and impactful for millennials, it has to employ the current technology. Applying programs that utilize their sense of achievement and desire to win is another effective training method. Offering innovative learning opportunities with great ease of use will find better acceptance and be more aligned to the expectations of this generation.
In 2009, Dr. Christy Price, EdD, Professor of Psychology, Dalton State College, gave much food for thought to the educator community when she expounded her 5 R (Research, Relevance, Rationale, Relaxed, and Rapport) approach of engaging the millennial learners. These revolve around the behavioral patterns and characteristics typically observed in this techno-centric age group.
A broader look at these will help businesses get an insight into the training strategies they can successfully deploy for engaging their millennial employees.
This is the internet and Google generation having ready access to search engines. For the Gen Y learners, this implies that they will accept only deeply researched inputs delivered via appealing media. Information is available at the fingertips, and the proliferation of the mobile has facilitated knowledge accretion as an effortless exercise. Collaborative and interactive personalized content with extensive multimedia usage delivered over mobile devices is the key to engaging the millennial learner.
Millennials desire precise and to-the-point information with which they can identify. This generation of employees wants pertinent information which can be applied to their real-life situations. Solutions to real-life work and other problems are what appeals to them. The knowledge that does not do this is deemed irrelevant and discarded. Interactions that revolve around case studies that highlight actual work-related problems. Moreover, information that suggests the resolution is better than generalized theoretical inputs that are considered unlinked to their ground reality. Contextual connectedness to learning is an important motivator.
Learning is greatly enhanced for the millennial learner when he is provided with the underlying reasoning of the imparted information. Understanding the Why carries weight with Gen Y.
Millennials prefer a stress-free or low-stress way of living. The learning environment has to be conducive to this style with less demanding and lighter versions of teaching. Heavy loads and pressure do not suit their psyche. They prefer flexible approaches with control vesting with them so that they can learn at their convenience, pace and time. With a low degree of attention span, microlearning and chunky bits are strategic ways of skilling and getting across to the millennials.
Gen Y employees believe in nurturing relationships and networking. Their preference is for a one-to-one personalized teaching method. Content should appear customized to the needs of this category. Peer-to-peer and collaborative group learning and social learning, in which relations take precedence, are good choices for knowledge sharing and retention.
Here are 5 ways how an enterprise’s training strategy can incorporate the requirements of the millennial workforce and keep them engaged.
Traditional training methods no longer find resonance with Gen Y. In fact, offsite working has made e-learning and online teaching imperative. Deploy the latest technology and cloud-based learning management systems as part of the training strategy. This is not only cost-effective but is a preferred choice. Anytime, anywhere on the go, learning with rich and engaging content delivered over mobile devices is feasible only through current technology.
As per a recent Fortune report 83% of millennials play video games on smartphones, gaming consoles, and computers at least weekly, if not daily. As per the authors of the report, "Games are interactive, they offer rewarding challenges, and they're increasingly social." A 2019 report by Nielsen states that, on average, millennials watch nearly six hours of video content each week. This trend can be leveraged in training to engage the millennial worker through the use of gamification techniques in learning. Gamification through online quizzes, competitions, games, etc., is a great way to boost learning and, more importantly, retention while adding to the fun, the spirit of winning, and participative engagement.
Microlearning is providing meaningful content with the way the millennial worker would like to consume. Small chunks of relevant information, key points, and takeaways are preferred over long-drawn modules. Bite-sized and small doses of knowledge compel the learner to focus on the pertinent and grab attention. Supported with videos, infographics, and visually appealing rich media, microlearning gives more in less.
Training should incorporate technology and methodologies that aid in collaboration and interaction amongst learners. These encourage team building and communication. Some examples include communication technology like chat forums, conferencing technology like shared digital whiteboards, coordination tools like e-calendars, and scheduling systems.
Millennials' penchant for apps and comfort with technology should be leveraged to implement the best featured and suited cloud-based learning management system (LMS), that will help provide a one-stop integrated solution to address all the trading requirements which the millennials wish for.
In sum, well-thought-out and researched inputs that are practical and realistic, provided with the rationale of its relevance and presented in small chunks, in a medium of choice in a personalized and creative way, is what will keep the millennial employee engaged. Gyrus has the expertise to bring this to reality. Their feature-rich LMS is future-ready to empower and engage the millennial workforce and optimize their competence. Do get in touch.