How to attract millennial workers – and keep them

Alex Rivas gives TJ advice on appealing to the fastest growing generation in the workforce.

Millennials make up the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, with over one-in-three American workers today falling into this demographic. They also happen to be the most likely to explore their options when it comes to their careers — in fact, 21% of millennials admit to changing jobs within the last year.

And with 75% of the global workforce expected to be made up of millennials by the year 2025, businesses are increasingly asking themselves how they can recruit and retain workers within this growing pool of talent. Luckily, the answer might not be as complicated as you’d expect.

According to a majority of millennial workers who have left a company within two years, the reason is because they felt that their leadership skills were not being adequately developed.

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given that many businesses still offer outdated training options featuring content and methodology that’s no longer relevant to today’s digital and on-demand working environment.

Transitioning to a technology-based way of learning is the best way to meet the needs of millennial workers and lay the foundation for a system that’s capable of growing the next generation of tech-savvy employees.

Below are three considerations to keep in mind when transitioning your training program into the digital age:

Training should be accessible 24/7

Millennials value flexibility and easy-access, largely because they’ve grown up surrounded by evolving technology. As a result, millennials often embody a very innovative and entrepreneurial spirit which training should aim to enhance.

Offering training opportunities that are digital allows employees to pave their own way when it comes to learning

In supplying on-demand learning that is continuously available and can be accessed on a range of platforms, businesses will be able to fulfil millennials’ desire for quick and efficient experiences while offering them the tangible opportunities for development that they crave.

Providing on-demand training also offers employees the option to learn remotely, as opposed to attending lengthy in-person sessions.

Offering training opportunities that are digital allows employees to pave their own way when it comes to learning, which is especially beneficial to millennials who are used to multitasking and are far more inclined to consume mobile trainings while on-the-go.

Developing elearning opportunities helps businesses seamlessly insert training into the lives of their employees in a way that suits their needs, versus forcing them to adhere to a one-size-fits all approach to learning.

A great way to incorporate flexible training is through mobile, social and blended-learning technologies like MOOCs which allow employees to take courses and complete assignments from anywhere, at any time.

Beyond giving employees the benefit of being able to customise their training schedules, this form of online learning also helps employees across the company engage with one another through forums, threads and discussion boards.

This type of cross-communication encourages employees that might be located in different offices — maybe even in different countries — to collaborate and feel part of a larger network.

Gaming can increase engagement

Millennials have been raised on computers and video games — why not take advantage of this accustoming to enhance their learning experiences? Especially given that applying gamification to learning programs is thought to boost engagement by up to 60%.

Gamification in training applies the traditional tactics of gaming to a learning curriculum, which is not necessarily competitive in nature but focuses more on the aspect of winning and moving forward. The main objective of gamification is to instill motivation in employees that will ultimately lead to faster adoption of new skills.

Gaming can easily be incorporated into digital learning through inserting rewards such as praise, grades and prizes at the end of courses. Doing so not only provides learners with immediate feedback, but encourages engagement and teamwork among staff.


What’s more, this approach to learning helps remove some of the stress and pressure that’s often associated with traditional training and gives employees the opportunity to feel accomplished and motivated in a way that standard training often can’t.

Customisation is key

Millennials have grown accustomed to receiving information in 140 characters or less, and because of this, it’s imperative that your training is aligned with their desire for bite-sized content (micro and nano learning).

In other words, simplicity is often far more impactful – packaging training information in a way that reflects the type of media millennials are used to consuming will make it far more likely that they’ll engage with and retain the information presented to them.  

With that, it’s also important to ensure that this content translates to a variety of platforms from mobile to tablet to desktop. Allowing access to these courses on a range of platforms allows employees to quickly sift through available trainings and identify courses that apply to either their role or answer a specific question.

For example, if an employee has a question related to Excel that they need to address before their next meeting, they could feasibly pull up a relevant training on their mobile and get answers on-the-go. Giving employees access to this type of instant learning gives them the 24/7 support they need that senior leadership alone can’t offer.

Ultimately, the best way to truly create effective customised experiences is to seek feedback from the learners themselves. Adding surveys at the end of training programs is a great way to determine how the courses are being received and identify specific improvements that can be made to enhance the learning experience.

When it comes to addressing millennial employee turnover, businesses need to take a closer look at their training tactics, content and delivery platforms to ensure that they are advancing alongside developments in technology and pedagogy that will continue to impact the way we work.


About the author

Alex Rivas is marketing manager of Learning Tribes




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