In the war for workplace talent, creating a millennial-friendly learning program can be a company’s secret weapon.
The war for workplace talent is on and millennial employees are the prize. The problem is, they’re hard to pin down.
The largest living generation in the U.S., millennials are entering the workforce en masse, making up the better part of the employee talent pools—they’re already the biggest generation in both the American and Canadian workforces.
The problem for companies is that millennials are habitual job hoppers. According to a recent report from Gallup, they’re the generation most likely to job hop, with 21% of Millennial workers having left their job in the last year to do something else.
To be competitive, companies need to offer millennials opportunities that align with their needs and life goals. According to Gallup, what most millennials look for in jobs is the opportunity to learn and grow. That means training and development programs can be a key differentiator for companies looking to attract and retain millennial talent.
Here are some best practices companies can use to create a millennial-friendly learning environment:
Make workplace learning fun by incorporating continuous informal learning
Start by doing an honest assessment of your organization’s current approach to learning and look at whether you need to invest more in informal learning.
Formal learning mostly involves stand-up teaching, informal learning involves incorporating things like video, mobile, micro and social learning, e-learning, gamification, coaching and mentoring with regular feedback. These tools can deliver “just-in-time knowledge” and encourage social sharing through things like discussion boards, mobile discussions via apps, activity feeds and social networks.
If you can harness employees’ tacit, experiential knowledge by allowing them to collaborate through social learning opportunities, it creates a much better learning experience. Also look to develop plans and deploy systems that leverage video and support mobile learning.
Millennials are most engaged by informal learning, so a key priority is to leverage informal learning as part of workplace and employee engagement.
Also, consider rebranding your learning offering. Come up with a unique name for the overall learning experience. Market it. Make it fun. Make it sizzle.
These things are all part-and-parcel of the kind of modern learning experience that creates a much more fun learning environment—just the kind of learning environment millennials are looking for.
Leverage learning content, especially video
Millennials crave meaningful job-relevant content. On top of basic courses, things like simulations are particularly beneficial to the learning experience and have a high payback as they allow for demonstrations of skill and knowledge. Making content available online allows you to train a lot of people at the same time, scaling knowledge delivery, and making it much faster.
Video content can have an especially high impact on employee learning. According to Aragon Research, video will replace text documents as the leading form of digital content by the end of 2018. You should use it to:
- Create custom video tutorials and training sessions;
- Record stand-up teaching sessions and augment them with different learning aids and rich content;
- Provide customer support for service technicians;
- Encouraging social assessment.
- Capture employees’ experiential knowledge and deliver it to their peers by recording them talking about what they do in their roles and how.
Also, consider investing in licensing off the shelf video courses. Make sure to look at the courses people would actually take, and make sure that they’re current and interesting.
Deal with legacy content – retire or go mobile
Do an inventory of your legacy courseware and retire or upgrade your old legacy content and make it mobile friendly. Don’t let your legacy content impact the perception of your organization. Get rid of it, or convert it, or create new informal, mobile-optimized learning content.
The process could look like this:
- Conduct a course assessment – usage and demand
- Pick tools for mobile course development
- Storyboard the course – what does the app or course do?
- Prototype review – does it have the right screens?
- Launch and go – look at integration with a learning management system (LMS).
- Make the process continuous – regularly update your content.
Embrace the future of work
The future workspace is increasingly a virtual-physical hybrid, where workspaces are more open, inviting and well-designed with fewer offices, and where social sharing is encouraged and facilitated. Video is the new learning platform and real-time cloud computing allows for more connections between people, devices, and offices. Learning needs to be experiential and informal and content needs to offer quick “just-in-time” knowledge.
This is the framework of what millennials are looking for: a great place to work, that allows them to keep skills up to date and have fun at the same time.