Just a few years ago, nobody expected that the issue of employee retention would become so global. Today, more than 35% of the American workforce consists of millennials. This generation dictates its own standards, changing the game, and forcing HR managers and recruiters to reconsider their traditional approaches. Millennials earned a reputation as people who switch jobs more often than any other generation of employees. They are very picky in everything about work, so companies need to adjust the working environment to their lifestyle.
Why do millennials switch jobs so often? There are many reasons for that, however, there is one reason which looks especially dangerous — millennials are not engaged in their jobs. According to the statistics, the majority of millennial employees plan to leave their current companies by 2020. In 2015, about 50% of American employees were not engaged. Obviously, many companies don't want to accept such a situation, which is a reason why they introduce new strategies of corporate training, and eLearning offers countless opportunities for any organization that wants to train and to engage its workforce at the same time.
Millennial employees: who are they?
The efficiency of your training and retaining strategies depends on your understanding of this generation and its traits. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are people born during the period from the late 80s to the early 2000s. This is the first generation that faced the quick development of digital technologies so they are technologically savvy. In addition, most of them are well-educated, self-confident, and ready for multi-tasking. They have enough energy and like teamwork. They are not afraid of challenges but realize the importance of the work-life balance. Such employees are used to getting any information with a few taps on the display so they also want to see the results of their work immediately.
This is the biggest generation since baby boomers, and their share in the American workforce steadily increased over the last 20 years. They work differently than other employees. Although they rely on technologies and can find answers to even the most complicated questions by using Wikipedia and Google, the social factor is also very important to them, especially when it comes to digital communication. They are creative and not afraid of tackling extraordinary problems, searching for creative solutions.
Challenges of training millennial employees
First of all, they demand advanced technologies. Millennials' dependency on technologies has already become a sort of cliché, yet being the undeniable truth. Instead of talking personally, they prefer to write text messages, which are quicker and allow them to get more information during a limited period of time. They don't want to sit still for hours, digging through lots of details. That's where eLearning comes in handy. These employees learn faster if they can access training materials through their smartphones and learn small amounts of new information on-the-go.
Millennials also want to learn at their own pace. The same applies to work as well: They want to use their time productively and choose remote work over the standard office employment models. For millennials, work is an integral part of their everyday lives, and if they like their job, they are willing to devote more time to work. They don't want their productivity to be measured by the amount of time they were sitting in the classroom. Thus, companies need to improve their training tactics focusing on flexibility and accessibility.
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Examples of corporate eLearning solutions
Even though millennials learn fast and efficiently, their desire to get information fast has its drawbacks. The attention span of a millennial is less than that of a goldfish. Fortunately, there is such a thing as micro-learning — a method that is characterized by its interactivity and active use of media content. Micro-learning also implies quick exercises that reinforce new knowledge. Unlike traditional training sessions with huge amounts of information, micro-learning is focused on bite-sized lessons that can be immediately used in practice. People can access training materials using their tablets and smartphones, regardless of the types of their platforms.
Millennials are also looking for instant rewards. They need to feel a sense of accomplishment, which motivates them to keep learning and to demonstrate better results. In this case, gamification is a great approach that allows them to receive virtual rewards, like points, badges, or currencies. Unlike traditional learning methods, active learning doesn't make them bored. In addition, the use of multimedia, gamification, virtual and augmented reality technologies allows them to learn small amounts of information fast, involving visual images and encouraging collaboration with the colleagues.
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How to design corporate eLearning solutions to train millennials
1. Focus on multimedia
You need to adjust your learning management system (LMS) to use more media content. Millennials like creative content, and there's nothing else that would make them more engaged. Use any sorts of media that fit the format of the training course. We suggest using videos that are less than 5 minutes long, taking into account the short attention span. Any graphics, captions, and music are great, just don't forget to clearly indicate the objectives of a certain lesson.
2. Personalize the learning process
Micro-learning allows you to divide massive blocks of information into small lessons and make learning more personalized. If there are several employees who work on the same material, you can encourage them to participate in discussions on various online platforms and discussion boards. The more they share information with each other, the more engaged they are.
3. Use gamification
Millennials love games, that's why so many of them want to combine gaming and working. Not only does such an approach make the learning process more interesting, but it also allows employees to receive instant rewards. For example, you can create gamified portals that explain the company's policies and allow employees to learn about available benefits in a fun way. Such courses can be story-based so that learners will go from one level to another. Such an approach encourages competition and makes learners want to come back.
Related article: How to Use the Power of Gamification in e-Learning
4. Use social media
According to the statistics, 88% of millennials are more interested in connecting than competing. In addition, this generation spends most of the time on social media, so you must use it if you want them to be more involved in the learning process. Thanks to social media, learners can collaborate and share new knowledge. We suggest integrating social media platforms into your LMS to ensure the maximum efficiency of learning.
The millennial generation is the future of the workforce so companies need to take into account its demands, developing new training strategies that will help make these employees more engaged in order to retain them.
On one hand, millennials create many challenges for classic HR management. On the other hand, the development of technologies and new training methods lead to long-lasting results. eLearning allows companies to use social media, gamification, and other effective tools to make the learning process interesting and interactive, which will be appreciated by any generation of employees.
This is a guest post by Berta Melder. Berta is a brand manager and co-founder of the Masterra Professional Content Writers. She cooperates with different education courses and helps participants develop the brand management skills. Being passionate about her job, Berta writes on a broad range of digital topics. Follow her on Twitter.