The Millennial is one of the most elusive and misunderstood generations in the workforce right now, yet they are also one of the most important. These young people grew up in a different world than anyone before them, particularly as it pertains to the reliance on technology.
All of the differences that make this generation unique are important to understanding how to implement effective learning and development training.
The old methods simply do not work, and that leaves some employers scrambling for answers.
The Need for Specialized Training
If there is one thing a majority of organizations agree on, it is the fact Millennials require specialized training, particularly as it pertains to leadership and development.
ASTD created a white paper on the subject of Millennial leadership development, and found in their research that 60 percent of survey respondents felt Millennials require specialized training in the workplace. Yet there was a disconnect between what respondents felt was necessary, and what they were actually implementing. Only 15 percent of responding companies said they were incorporating this type of specialized Millennial training, and 25 percent said they were considering doing so.
Where to Focus eLearning Efforts
It is, basically, universally agreed that eLearning is the best way to train Millennials in your organization, whether it is basic regulatory training, or leadership training. The reason is because of how comfortable Millennials feel with technology—they respond well to any form of technology and feel completely at ease and empowered with this type of learning.
With that being said, where should your Millennial L&D eLearning efforts be focused?
The number one thing you should focus on is communication skills and style.
Despite the fact Millennials are constantly communicating and never out of touch with friends or family members, they may not be doing so in the traditional way which is most conducive to the corporate environment.
Some Millennials may lack face-to-face communication skills that allow them to become leaders in the workplace, and they may also lack the knowledge and know-how of professional communication. This is primarily because of their reliance on technology—they rarely communicate in-person and, when they do, the casual texting and email-based language tends to dominate.
Employers can utilize eLearning to train Millennials on proper corporate communication skills through scenario-based learning, which is something this generation is particularly receptive to. Additionally, it is important to train Millennials on other soft skills they may be lacking in, such as building personal connections, which is pivotal to leadership.
Other Things to Consider with Millennial Leadership Training
As well as a primary focus on soft skills, Millennial L&D training is most effective when it incorporates some of the following components:
- Socialization: Millennials are a generation which is very much focused on a sense of the collective “we” along with dependence on collaboration and teamwork. Building social aspects into Millennial leadership eLearning satisfies this need to work together, and makes material more salient. Socialization can appear in the form of interactive discussions and the ability to share content.
- Gamification is one of the best ways to educate Millennials on leadership in the workforce. They are already so accustomed and acclimated to gameplay that this is a method which completely appeals to their sensibilities. Millennials tend to be especially receptive to leadership training gamification when the focus is on competition, as opposed to assessment.
- Empower Millennials to make their own decisions within eLearning, which are then more likely to translate to the real world. Millennials are more motivated to learn when they feel like they are in control of the situation, and they are happier when they have the opportunity to take a risk and choose or develop the solution they think is best in a particular situation.
Many corporations are stuck on the idea Millennials cannot be trained to make effective leaders, but it is becoming increasingly more common to understand that Millennials do have untapped leadership potential—they just require a different approach when it comes to learning and development. As employers continue to see the benefits of training Millennials through eLearning, the opportunities will also continue to grow for both employers and their Millennial employees.