By giving millennials the learning opportunities they want, businesses can be better at retaining employees.
It was once thought that people only go to work to earn money. We’ve known for some time that this isn’t always the case. Maslow’s celebrated hierarchy identified layers of our human needs that help us to recognize that people have sophisticated needs above and beyond just surviving. These needs include acquiring a sense of achievement and self-fulfilment.
We see this especially with the generation of workers known as millennials. Born between 1980 and 2000, they are enthusiastic and keen to make a difference in the world through their work. They’re also eager to learn as research from Manpower Group tells us – a huge 93 percent see ongoing skills development as important in their future careers.
This thirst for development, training and ongoing learning influences the decisions that millennials make when it comes to employment, so much so, that excellent training and development programmes ranked third in a PwC list of things that make an organisation attractive to the millennial (behind only opportunities for career progression and competitive wages/other financial incentives).
Impatience is a virtue
Each generation has its own characteristics and for the millennial, technology has played a significant role in shaping the way they live and work and their expectations around accessing and consuming information. They want to learn, but they expect to do it in a certain way. Being used to having ready access to the vast resources of the internet, millennials don’t necessarily expect to wait while a face to face training schedule is put in place.
They are digital-savvy, having lived their lives in a connected world with information available at the touch of a button or click of a mouse. They increasingly expect this immediacy in their working life.
Being so used to and comfortable with technology, it is not surprising that, according to a PwC study, 41 per cent of millennials would rather communicate electronically than in person or on the phone and that 78 percent believe access to the technology they like to use makes them more effective at work.
This is a generation used to having the world at its fingertips; a generation where impatience isn’t necessarily a weakness but instead a drive for quick answers. If there’s a knowledge or skills gap to fill, they’ll want to rapidly take information on board so that they can quickly begin applying it.
Inspiring millennial employees
Technology-based learning gives employees the independence to pursue training inside and outside the workplace, to engage with a wide variety of content, including videos, online resources, and to collaborate through social media. It enables them to take full advantage of the capabilities of smart devices to learn when and where it suits them.
For the company, meeting an expectation for technology-based learning can help to inspire millennial employees in their learning efforts and boost employee engagement. Through online learning platforms, companies can engage and motivate modern-day digital learners.
Learning and development in the workplace is important to the generation known as millennials. Companies that provide it can expect more choice in candidate selection through attracting more applicants. By providing the tools and learning opportunities that millennials want, businesses will be better placed to meet training goals and to retain upskilled and engaged employees.