Millennials in the workplace? So what is a millennial anyway?

Well, there are about 76 million of them, they are between 15 and 30 years old and represent your workforce of the future. Millennials are whom you will be hiring over the next 10 years so it is important to understand them and how to best engage and motivate them.

When a millennial joins your team they arrive with different expectations and very different motivating factors than employees you’ve hired in the past.  Consider these important facts about millennials . . .

  • They are technically literate.  Technology has always been a part of their lives so they expect it to be a part of their new work life.
  • They learn best when they are also entertained.  Think video games and how quickly they master them. It’s exciting, entertaining and learning all at once.
  • Millennials like structure in their lives and their workplace.  These are the children of “helicopter parents” who had their day perfectly planned and organized with activities.
  • They grew up with computers and mobile devices that were constantly evolving so they were forced to adapt quickly to new programs, devices and methods- they are not afraid of change.
  • Job satisfaction is often more important than compensation.  They want to enjoy and feel good about their job and need to feel their employer cares about them as a person not just an employee.

Now what does this all mean to you as their employer?

As they join your team they will expect technology to be part of their work life and if you expose them to only traditional training methods they will quickly become bored and disengaged. Remember, they spent significant hours on the Internet and often much of their school work involved computers; so they have a strong connection between learning and computers.  When you tell them their training will be with Bob who has been doing this job for 20 years and they are to follow him around for the next 4 days, they will wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into.

It would be far more effective and engaging to provide online resources similar to what they have used at home and school for many years.  This will feel comfortable and familiar to them and make a quick and lasting connection with their new job.  Sure, Bob can show them how to do the job, the same way he’s done it for 20 years, but e-learning can engage them and excite them about their new role.

Recall the fact about millennials liking structure in their lives?  Well, training with Bob will often be fragmented and inconsistent because he still has his regular job to do, he’ll be interrupted by others, may not actually like the new person he’s training and even the best trainer cannot train exactly the same way every time.  E-learning provides consistent, structured training every time with no interruptions, is always upbeat and positive and never has a bad day.  As an employer you will never wonder how they are being trained or what message they are receiving because with e-learning you create the exact message and method you want them to hear.

Millennials want to have a connection with their employer, to feel that they matter to you. Because e-learning is presented in a comfortable and familiar format they will recognize it as an investment in them and their future with the company.  An employer who takes the time to build a training program that they can relate to, is presented in their style using video, animation, quizzes and hands on activities tells them this company is cutting edge and invests in it’s team members.  That’s a connection.

Millennials are fast paced, learn quickly and want to be interactive while they are learning, just like playing a video game or surfing the web.  Traditional methods of training will just not make the connection they need to quickly learn their new job. Sure, Bob can “show them the ropes” and they will eventually learn but with e-learning the training cycle is shorter, engagement is higher and connections are deeper.

In order to attract and retain the best employees, your training methods should evolve and match the needs and expectations of your new workforce.  Let KMI Learning help you design an effective and engaging training program.

Ted Stoecker

Ted Stoecker

Ted is an executive level leader in distribution, logistics and warehousing with over 30 years managing multi-site operations with over 2000 team members in 32 locations. He has installed a WMS and LMS (labor management system) for a $5 billion manufacturer/distributor and has improved all KPI’s through the use of enhanced learning and training programs. Ted was an early adopter of an e-learning system that helped train his team members on all aspects of warehouse functions including safety, quality, productivity, private fleet operations and regulatory compliance. He has over 8 years of experience with an LMS (Learning Management System) and has achieved consistent, positive results with customized training designed specifically for his team and his organization.

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