Training strategy for the Millennial Learner

June 21, 2016

A recent survey identified that the Millennial generation has just surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest group in the workforce today.  Therefore, it will become increasingly important to structure training to accommodate this newer generation of learner.

Tools for training

Let’s discuss tools that can be provided to keep Millennial learners engaged and moving towards the common goal of knowledge transfer.

Social Media

Use of social media tools have become one of the most widely used technologies by Millennials.  Social media allows users to engage with others who share the same interest, and Talent Management systems are now including the social aspect within training programs. The HCM technology market has realized that social media is an important tool for today’s learner, but corporations are slow to adopt the social aspects.  If you ask the newer workforce, their answer would be that corporations must adapt.   We are beginning to see some movement in this area.

Creating a social environment is not only beneficial for the learner, but also a helpful knowledge transfer tool.  It allows users to interact and share multitudes of information.  Previously, when an issue or situation arose in the workplace and someone else may have experienced a similar situation, you sent an email or picked up the phone to gain insight from the appropriate individual. E-mails and phone calls are great methods of communication and are still valuable today, but today’s generation of learners are more likely to send an IM or chat with someone for real time responses.

How will Corporations deal with this from a learning perspective?  They can start with a plan of how to incorporate the social aspect of learning.  Designate a group to head up a discussion board that creates discussion topic categories based on your corporation’s learning catalog and allow some controlled interaction to take place.  By monitoring the social platform, you can designate a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to answer questions that are not being answered in a timely fashion.  This will provide an immediate response and avoid this generation from searching elsewhere.

 Course Ratings

This is a useful tool that allows the learner to place a “grading, popularity rating or tip” as to whether or not the training was worth the time to complete.  Learners are the best judge of content quality, and if the learner is working on a set amount of time to train, they will welcome a method that will allow them to quickly determine if a training is going to give them the desired results.

Course ratings are also a useful tool for the content creator, as it allows the filtering of items that have low ratings, which can then be reviewed to discover a better method to construct the low-rated training. Let’s face it, there are some items that will always rate low.  Sometimes, it is simply the nature of the content that must be incorporated in the training; compliance is a good example.

Mobile Access

We have mentioned before, the Millennial learners are very mobile and want information that is readily available.  Making sure learning and talent management systems can support mobile applications will pay handsomely in the long run.  Learners already possess and incorporate mobility in their daily lives, so the mobile delivery of training allows them the versatility to take trainings as they are out and about.  Mobile will also allow managers the flexibility to work on items that need attention and the freedom to complete these tasks during non-normal working conditions.  The world is moving fast and we are all mobile.  Placing training where it can be consumed at any time is a great tool to present to all generations of learner.

 Coaching and mentoring

These are two areas that have always been around and have recently surfaced as a preferred method of training for the Millennial population.  In the past, this was considered “on the job training” (OJT), but take this a step further to incorporate this into the talent and learning management systems.

So what are the tools that can be used to document coaching and mentoring?  Observation checklists come to mind for the coach and/or mentor and can be incorporated to document what is expected and the outcome of the observations.  This approach needs both planning and forethought, as we must ensure the correct information is captured for the subject at hand.  Once a devised template has been created for use, capture and record what needs to occur during the training and what the outcome of the session provides in terms of knowledge transfer.

 Graphical interfaces and hyperlinking

Surveys and observations have shown that users seldom read instructions!  Even if they read the instructions, they do not quite follow the directions, no matter how detailed.  To remove this barrier, site designers have taken the next step and are incorporating graphical interfaces with underlying hyperlinks to specific areas of training and interest.  Since the next generation of learner is accustomed to visual representations, incorporating this functionality into the learning/talent system makes for better time efficiency and drives the user to specified areas of the application.

 The future of training

Millennials have adapted to technology and use these tools to better their education in the workforce. Millennials are very accustomed to and understand that learning is a means to better their position in their profession.  They represent a unique group of learners that have grown up with technology and use it daily to stay in touch with trends and to become much better at their profession.

Understanding that in a fast moving environment, they will need to seek knowledge wherever they can to achieve their goals.  Millennials expect to be rewarded and move to the next step.  They will pursue whatever avenue will get them to their goal.  Structuring training to excite them about learning, providing the technological tools, keeping their social aspect alive, and making sure training is exciting using graphical representation, will pay dividends in the long run

Today’s workforce is presenting challenges to the structure of learning.  The usage of Talent and Learning management systems to keep the workforce trained has been growing the last decade at a steady pace.  This trend has begun to shift from the traditional Training Department driving the incorporation of such systems, to more of the HR department making these recommendations.  Since the new generation of learners are expecting, even demanding, more from training and talent management systems, reworking of deliverable content must come to the forefront of this drive.  By making learning more intuitive, interactive, and allowing collaborative application usage to entice feedback on how to make learning better, will pay dividends for training today’s diverse audience.

HRchitect can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the next trends in the use of Talent Management and Training technology.  We can provide you with outstanding selection and implementation assistance if you are looking upgrade your current systems or add new systems.  HRchitect can also assess your current systems and provided optimization assistance which will enhance your technology investment.