By Evan Hackel

Energize Millennial Workers
1 September 2017 | 10:06 am

Do you want to get much more from the millennial employees you hire . . . and do you hope that they will continue to work for you for the long, not the short, term? If those are your hopes, it is essential to bear in mind that millennial employees’ attitudes and beliefs about working differ dramatically from those held by baby boomers and members of other age groups.

Consider these findings from How Millennials Want to Work and Live, a recent study from Gallup:

    • Millennials value learning – 60% of them say that the opportunity to learn and grow on the job is extremely important. The study found that only 40% of baby boomers feel the same way.
    • Millennials view many jobs as stepping stones  21% of them have changed jobs within the last year. Only 50% plan to remain in their jobs for at least the next year, compared to 60% of members of all other groups.
    • Millennials expect to advance in their jobs 50% of them say advancement is extremely important, vs. 40% of boomers.

Learning and Training Retain Millennials and Maximize their Productivity

In the companies that I have led, I have seen the realities that underlie statistics like those. I have also seen first-hand that training is the key to reducing millennial turnover and increasing their productivity.

And here are some of the reasons why:

    • Millennials like to feel capable and confident in their jobs. When I was their age, I was happy to learn the skills I needed on the fly. Millennials do not feel that way. They want to look good and feel confident from the first day they arrive on the job. Training is what makes that happen.
    • Millennials welcome training. They like to apply the learning skills they built while they were in school. To them, learning feels as natural as eating three meals a day. As the Gallup study finds, they are eager to learn. In contrast, many baby boomers tend to view training as a burden that they have to endure.
    • Modern training technologies speaks to millennials. Most of them love to be trained on their mobile phones and tablets, which are the most powerful training options available to many companies today. The result is better knowledge transfer, even to groups of employees who work in multiple locations.
    • Millennials welcome mentoring relationships with their managers. The Gallup study found that 60% of millennials feel that the quality of the people who manage them is extremely important. Your training is an ideal place to set up expectations that millennials will enjoy close, collaborative relationships with their supervisors. With that in mind, your training for new employees can establish mentoring, not reporting, relationships.
    • Millennials love independence, but they love teams too. This is a contradiction, but millennials think of themselves as both rugged individuals and eager team players. So letting millennials get to know their teammates during training, and fostering a sense of team/group identity, helps convince them that they have joined an organization where they belong.
    • Millennials are career-oriented. Do they love to hop from job to job? Yes, they do. But only if they sense that their opportunities to advance are blocked. That is why I believe in creating a personalized career development plan for each new employee. (The exception being seasonal or other short-term employees who will probably not remain in your employ for long.) One example? Enroll new employees in management training programs from their first days on the job. Millennials like to know their next steps as they advance in your organization, and training is the best place to explain them.

In summary . . .

I firmly believe that millennials are the most energized, skilled and capable generation ever to enter the workforce. How do you unlock their potential and make sure they remain in your employ for the long term? You do it with great training.

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