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Millennials Shaking Up Corporate Training

President Of TrainSmart, Inc.

By 2015, Millennials are expected to represent nearly 39% of the U.S. workforce. By 2020, that number jumps to nearly half of all U.S. workers.  At the same time, a record number of baby boomers are eligible to retire, creating a leadership gap in many organizations.

Because of this, Millennials will not have to wait very long for career advancement opportunities. With that opportunity, however, corporations will need to provide these young workers with leadership training.

According to a 2013 ASTD White Paper on Leadership Development for Millennials, their findings indicate the majority of executives believe that this generation definitely needs specialized training particularly in  diplomacy, communication, listening, patience, and relationship building.

However, Millennials are not shy about sharing their dissatisfaction with traditional corporate training programs. According to a 2011 survey by Workplace Options:

  •  75% of Millenials said they would find training programs more valuable if they could be available remotely through hand-held mobile devices. Just 40% of respondents age 30-45 and 26% of respondents age 46-65 agreed.
  • 63% of young workers said they’d find workplace training sessions more valuable if they were less time-consuming. Overall, 39% of respondents said this.
  • 95% of young employees said they would be more comfortable talking to supervisors if internal communications training were provided. 67% of respondents age 30-45 and 66% of workers age 46-65 agreed.
  • 70% of younger workers said the availability of personal or professional development training is an important employee perk.

In addition to creating mobile-friendly training and microlearning training sessions, what other changes need to be made in corporate training delivery?

One of the key characteristics that define this generation is their desire to know where they stand, at all times. Millennials love metrics. They want to know if they are meeting expectations, and if they are not, they want feedback on how to improve.

In developing a training program, it’s very important to demonstrate how this particular training directly relates to their jobs Specifically, how taking this training will be beneficial for their job performance reviews.

Think about adding a coaching element to the training.  In a classroom situation, this may mean utilizing a Leaders Teaching Leaders format for a portion of the training. If it’s an online course, consider implementing an “ask the expert” which would allow participants to talk to senior executives about the issues in the course.