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How to Deliver Impactful Workplace Training for Millennials

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A new generation of learners requires a new approach to workplace training. These are the six elements needed to professionally develop your Millennial employees.

According to Bersin by Deloitte, a leading research and advisory services firm, talent management and development is the second biggest challenge facing HR executives in organizations today. Bersin estimates companies spend more than $130 billion per year on employee development, with leadership development as the single largest area of spending.

While effective training and development is an issue for all employees, this issue is magnified with Millennials.

Seventy-one percent of Millennials are likely to leave an organization within two years because they are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed. Sixty-nine percent of Millennials aspire to be leaders within the next five years and 60 percent of Millennials expect on-the-job training to develop their leadership skills.

Company perks, recruiting, customer service, and marketing are evolving to reach Millennials, so why is company training trailing so far behind?

With approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day and a devastating lack of professional development for our next generation of leaders, the question for organizations is who will replace the retiring leaders. It is no surprise that 89 percent of executives rate the need to strengthen, reengineer, and improve organizational leadership as a top priority.

The Solution for Training Millennials

Since they grew up with pervasive connectivity and evolving mobile technology, Millennials think and act differently. They approach problems fundamentally differently and they require an evolved learning approach.

Microlearning is a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts. The learners are in control of what and when they’re learning. Why has Microlearning blown up recently? (Pardon the pun) To answer this question, you have to take a look at who comprises a majority of learners. By 2025, Millennials alone will make up 75 percent of the workforce. The average attention span of the Millennial generation is 90 seconds.

Microlearning can deliver on-demand rich media content via desktop or a mobile device.

Millennials respond favorably to microlearning solutions for the following reasons:

1. Brief and Beautiful

There is more competing for the time and attention of the emerging workforce than ever before. The media Millennials consume is bite-sized thus the training they are likely to consume must be brief and succinct. Millennials also have a high expectation for technology to be simple, intuitive, and beautifully designed. If the training content doesn't mirror what Millennials consume on a regular basis, they will be less likely to engage and retain the information.

Microlearning requires a shorter attention span so there is less cognitive load on learners and information is easier to absorb, retain, and recall. Microlearning matches human brain processing capabilities (especially Millennials) which makes it a fit for today's fast-paced and hyperconnected workplace.

2. Agile and Accessible

The 21st-century employee is untethered. They are remote workers, bringing their own device or applications to work and finding new ways to execute work and structure their day. Training must be digitally native and mobile in order to be effective for the next generation of learners. Training must be agile and accessible to attract the Millennial learners.

Microlearning delivers training in short intervals where learners can easily insert the training in their day to day lives. How and when Millennials learn is more important than what they learn because the "what" won't matter if they never have the time or if accessing the training is over-complicated.

3. Instant and Intelligent

Information is being delivered instantly and intelligently. Why can't training take a similar form where you receive an intelligent notification about powerful public speaking tips instantly on your phone while walking to a meeting where you'll be presenting to a new client or customer.

Millennials will turn to their smartphone to find just-in-time answers to unexpected problems. Information and learning are being accessed differently today than in years past. Deploying intelligent learning via quick how-to articles, videos, or interactive infographics where learners can pull down the content for instant application makes microlearning ideal for your Millennial learner.

4. Collaborative and Communal

A majority of workplace learning happens via on-the-job interactions with team members, leaders, and in-house subject matter experts. Creating communities where Millennials can learn from experts, managers, and their peers while being given the opportunity to contribute their own experience or expertise is impactful and empowering.

When microlearning offers collaborative technology and a communal environment it helps to build relationships, diminish silos, shrink geographies, enhance personal influence, and promote sharing.

5. Relevant and Relatable

The accelerated change happening at work and in business means everyone organizations must make a commitment to continuous learning. This also means training has to be hyper-relevant to the specific and evolving challenges Millennials face at work. If the content isn't relevant and relatable for the learner, retention, and recall of the information will suffer.

The microscopic nature of microlearning content allows for quick creation of content and fast consumption by the learner. Creating training that addresses a relevant need and provides a solution or applications that are relatable for the learner is key for engagement.

6. Blend and Bind

For the digitally dependent Millennial generation, it's imperative that their training merge digital with real-world activities. Offline, in-person, or classroom training remains less impactful in today's digital age. A blended approach to training binds one's learning.

Microlearning platforms that prompt, encourage, and reward Millennial learners for real-world interaction and application is extremely effective for fortifying the learning.

In order to prompt development, sustain engagement, achieve transformation, and improve retention among your Millennial workforce, embrace the future with microlearning.

Sherri Elliott-Yeary, CEO of Generational Guru is an award-winning speaker, professional business consultant, and published author who energetically engages international audiences with her practical strategies for attracting, growing, and retaining top talent and loyal customers from every generation. Sherri brings over twenty years of hands-on experience to support you in designing generational solutions that address:

  • Cross-Generational Leadership Challenges

  • Generational Blind Spots in Sales

  • Effective Recruitment and Retention

  • Marketing to Millennials

For more information, please contact Sherri via email at or text/call her at 469-971-3663.

Consider Sherri Elliott-Yeary to be your next Millennial/Generation Y or Generation Z keynote speaker by clicking here...

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