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Learning and Development for Millennials

12 August 2016

The young and tech-savvy generations of ‘Millennials’ or ‘Generation Z’ may be very different from ‘Baby Boomers’ or ‘Traditionalists’ as they have grown up in very different environments. There has been a tendency to judge the Netflix-watching, Snapchatting, instantly connected Millennial as seeking immediate gratification. This can lead to stereotypes of millennials being ‘job hoppers’ or, even worse, as ‘lazy’ and ‘entitled’ as the digital age gives them all the answers they need.

However, there are two sides to every coin and studies have shown that ‘job-hopping’ millennials aren’t just getting bored easily, but are seeking progression and development. As such, it is key to make sure Millennials or Generation Z are engaged in their learning and development. It is also important to remember that there are a range of people in these generations: at the older end you may have people in their 30s who are looking to move into roles of responsibility or managerial positions while at the younger end will be recent graduates just starting their careers. For some businesses, there will even be members of Generation Z entering their workforces as apprentices or school-leavers. All of these people will need very different types of training – tailored to their own progression.

If you are looking at how to manage learning and development for millennials in your business check out our top tips:

  1. Encourage connections

Millennials and young people have grown up with social media, something you can use in the workplace. Encourage using connections through existing sites like LinkedIn or use an internal site where employees can connect with each other. Use this to encourage collaboration on work rather than competition to get the most out of millennial employees

  1. Pay attention to trends

While sometimes trends are passing, often there is a reason for why something is popular. Thinking about the growth of live video on social media or recent mobile gaming trends shows that video and interactive entertainment is the most engaging, and so it is also likely to be the most effective learning tool.

  1.  Give feedback

Millennials like to work towards goals and know they are on the right track - so feedback is key. Offering this immediately, or as soon as possible, will help them know how to change and develop while it is still relevant.

  1. Allow them freedom

When encouraging learning and development Millennials prefer to use their own initiative and discover things for themselves. A structured course can still be used if it offers them the chance to think, learn and discover for themselves as well.

  1. Use coaching

Where management focuses much more on allocating tasks and workloads, coaching offers much more scope for personal development. It helps the individual reach their goal themselves, rather than simply being pushed towards it. This is key for a generation focused more on their development than high-flying jobs. 

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