3 Ways to Maximize Your Investment in Millennial Training and Development

When 87 percent of Millennials say professional growth and development opportunities are important to them, organizations need to respond.

According to Pew Research Center, more than one in three American workers today are Millennials (the group of individuals born between 1980 and 1999). This statistic holds true in workforces around the world, and these numbers will only continue to grow, further challenging the current business landscape. This is not only because of sheer numbers, but because of the influence any group of this size can have.

So what do Millennials value? In the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, it was found that Millennials hold employee satisfaction, ethics/integrity, and customer focus to be most highly valued, and these are the elements they believe will make organizations succeed in the long term. Moreover, this is a generation that highly prioritizes personal and professional development, with 22 percent saying that training and development is their most valued benefit from employers (more valued than flexible working hours and cash bonuses).

As an increasing number of Millennials take on people management, it will be imperative that your training and development strategy is one that fits the values of this generation. Consider the following three ways to maximize your investment:

  1. Make It Personalized

Existing skills and talents, previous experience, current role, and future career goals are just a few elements that influence what training and development Millennial employees need. Millennials will appreciate the results of personalized training and development, making them more inclined to apply what is learned, because they can clearly see its value and its tangible results.

How to Do It: Individual Training and Development Plans

Millennials value growth and consistent progression, both personally and professionally. By participating in individual training and development plans that address career goals and skills gaps, Millennials will be constantly improving, thus maximizing your investment in their training. Treat these plans as living documents, and revisit them as milestones and goals are achieved. This allows you to ensure the skills employees are learning match what you most need to gain a competitive edge in today’s marketplace.

  1. Make It Relevant

While it is important for Millennials to relate to the training content, it is significant to the long-term success of training that it is tied to results that matter to them. Training for Millennials needs to promote collaboration, teamwork, and communication; these are all traits these digital natives are familiar with but need to learn how to apply on the job. This training must target the areas of growth organizations need from their Millennial employees, in a relevant format that resonates with them. Ultimately, this will maximize its effectiveness.

How to Do It: Experiential Learning

When it comes to training Millennials, traditional training methods need to take a back seat. Millennials require a variety of delivery techniques and formats that reflect how they have grown up learning. Enter experiential learning, where participants learn by doing. Through immersive activities that mimic real-world challenges, the training is universally engaging (regardless of learning style) and connected to life on the job in actionable, attainable ways. All of this has been proven to drive results.

  1. Make It an Opportunity to Grow

Practicality is the name of the game. Today’s Millennials crave a clear line of sight to how training will help them develop, and they require opportunities to see that growth through. Providing coaching and mentoring that supports their training and development, as well as the tools to help retain what’s been taught, will be key to maximizing your investment.

How to Do It: Mentoring and Coaching Programs

Mentoring and coaching programs provide an important development opportunity where corporate knowledge is transferred, questions get asked and answered, and advice is sought. Keep in mind that these programs are most effective when they begin immediately after training in order to reinforce what was learned. More than 90 percent of surveyed Millennials with mentors say the quality of advice they receive is good, and 83 percent say they are satisfied with this aspect of their life at work. For the organization, these programs can relieve multigenerational differences as relationships are built, company loyalty is strengthened, and retention is promoted, all of which maximize the return on investment. A true win-win.

When 87 percent of Millennials say professional growth and development opportunities are important to them, organizations need to respond. Building a training and development strategy that supports the needs and values of this generation is a promising investment for all involved. Organizations develop the employees they need to succeed in both the short and long term, while Millennial employees are personally and professionally developed to unleash their full potential. That’s maximizing the investment.

As Chief Operating Officer of Eagle’s Flight, Sue Wigston’s extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Wigston has more than 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom-designed solutions for Eagle’s Flight. Founded in 1988, Eagle's Flight is a global leader in the development and delivery of business-relevant, experiential learning programs that achieve specific training objectives and lasting behavior change. For more information, visit http://www.eaglesflight.com.

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