Millennials get a bad rap in the workplace. A December headline about this generation, born between 1981 and 1997, asks, “Are Millennials too Spoiled for the Workplace?” while another study is bluntly titled, “America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future.”
What are American employers to do? Millennials make up our entire workforce under the age of 34, fully one-third of all workers. By 2025, they will represent seventy-five percent of Americans at work. It is not an option to just throw up our hands and give this generation up for lost.
On-the-job training is essential to both prepare Millennials to succeed in their careers and keeping them happy in their current jobs. Raises and promotions help too, but the sense of professional satisfaction that Millennials get from proper workplace training and support cannot be underestimated.
Consider these three workforce-training trends leading organizations are incorporating into training Millennials to ensure they take their rightful place in the American workplace.
A study by MTV, who knows a thing or two about Millennials, found that “almost six out of 10 said “#winning is the slogan of my generation.” No wonder gamification, incorporating elements from the world of games into training, is such an effective way to engage Millennials.
Overt elements of competition, reward and recognition pull trainees in and get them learning and doing. Although there is no better way to ignite passion in a room than to hand out prizes or hold a contest, prizes do not have to be substantial, valuable or even material. Instead, something as simple as certificates of achievement recognizing employees’ training accomplishments in a public way can have a positive impact.
2) Innovation and Creativity Training
Seventy percent of corporate hiring managers believe young workers today possess skills that previous generations lack, including adaptability, tech savvy and the ability to bring new ideas to the workplace. Fostering this creativity in order to spur innovation is vital to corporate survival today. Creativity training can help Millennials and your entire organization innovate more effectively.
The Five Faces of Genius approach to innovation, used by companies like Disney and Starbucks, trains employees to better understand their own creative style, and, even more importantly, teaches them how to work in a way that capitalizes on every team member’s unique strengths. Millennials, in particular, appreciate validation they get in more creative workplaces.
3) Varied Training Mediums
There are an array of new options for how to train employees, it’s difficult to determine which are best. The reality is that there is no one way that works for all employees, since what works for Baby Boomer employees might not work for Millennials. Most corporations today are successfully combining a mix of training forms to achieve their goals.
Washington, DC-area employer Discovery Communications, for example, keeps Millennials and other employees happy by using a diverse menu of training and development opportunities. Ranked #79 on Fortune’s 2014 List of 100 Best Companies to Work For, Discovery offers employees a global online learning management system with a library of more than 100 online courses, myriad live training opportunities and college tuition reimbursement of $5,000. By offering so many avenues to learn, it is no wonder employees give Discovery top marks.
As each new generation has entered the U.S. workforce, corporations adapted and changed. Fortunately, there’s an ongoing training and education revolution helping us use new strategies to teach, inspire and engage Millennial workers.
Noetic is a marketing consultancy specializing in brand strategy, research & training.
We are built upon an avid curiosity about varied businesses and their unique strategic challenges. We provide a fresh perspective and intelligent thinking without a rigid agenda that requires starting from scratch.
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