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College Affordability and Preparedness

Business Training: Keeping Your Millennial Workforce On-Board

Photo: Courtesy of Brooke Cagle

Millennials born between 1980 and 2000 now represent more than 1 in 3 American workers—surpassing Generation X to become the largest share of the workforce, according to Pew Research Center. By 2025, millennials will comprise 75 percent of the global workplace.

The new norm

These young employees have different expectations than their predecessors. They might be known for seeking job perks, such as in-house massages or unlimited vacations, but millennials also seek greater avenues to professional development.

“It isn’t a work-hard, play-hard atmosphere anymore,” says Joshua Backer, co-founder and president of advertising at Unified, a marketing and analytics company. “Working hard is playing hard. To hire the best talent, you need to invest in them with more than just a paycheck.” 

Keeping up

Despite an employee pool that’s hungry for professional development, some hiring executives lament they have difficulty courting and keeping them. Outdated and tedious training could be leaving employees unimpressed and disengaged. “Millennials prefer short bursts of information that they can access and apply as needed on a variety of platforms,” explains David Campeas, CEO of PrincetonOne, a recruitment services provider.

Alex Khurgin, director of learning innovation at Grovo, a workplace learning technology company, agrees his generation requires new training solutions. “Because millennials have grown up on the Internet with this personalized, on-demand technology, we expect it in every part of our lives,” he explains, “including training.”

What’s working

For many, support comes from microlearning materials where employees can access videos or other tools at any time to train on everything from soft to technical skills. Using these platforms results in lower turnover and higher engagement, which ultimately is a better use of time.

WeWork, a fast-growing provider of shared office spaces, says a flexible learning and development program has been critical, especially as the company zoomed from 250 employees to 1,200 in just 10 months. “It has been one of our most important people functions as far as attracting talent and continuing to develop them,” says Soo Hong, WeWork’s chief human resources officer. WeWork uses Grovo’s learning solution to onboard employees around the world.

But companies are finding when they curate for millennials there is a halo effect on all employees. “Millennial is a mindset,” says Hong. “People all want to learn how to do jobs better.” Khurgin at Grovo adds, “The kind of training millennials are clamoring for are what previous generations wanted and deserved. No one wants to sit through long, boring lectures.”

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