The Changing Face of Millennial Learning Habits

Millennials have grown up with technology, and expect more than ever compared to their predecessors – we explain how to engage the modern learner in the workplace, to increase staff satisfaction and retention rates

Why should I be aware of millennial learning habits within my company?

Millennials are those born between 1982 and 2004, making them part of either Generation X or Y. They are the largest cohort since the Baby Boomers generation, and are expected to make up 75% of the global work force by 2025. This makes them a very significant population to your company, and should not be dismissed lightly.

Millennials are proven to have different priorities to that of their predecessors, motivated largely by company cultures and their development. The average millennial will only stay with an employer for a maximum of three years, making them appear distinctly disloyal in comparison to previous generations, who were advocates for “climbing the career ladder” within one organisation. Social media has replaced this with the ability to network with well-connected individuals, allowing employees to hop across into other roles and organisations.

My employees are leaving!

83% of employees actively seek opportunities in which they can gain new skills in the workplace1. If you are not providing your workforce with these opportunities, in both professional skills and soft skills, they may begin to start looking elsewhere. This can be a deciding factor if your employee is considering leaving or approached by a competitor company.

Worryingly, 70% of leavers cite a lack of leadership training as a reason to leave a business1– millennials are showing all the signs of wanting to remain loyal to companies and grow their careers within the same organisation, but feel forced out through lack of development.

Millennial learning

If millennials are so fickle, why should I invest in their training and development?

Studies have shown that engaged employees are more loyal employees – it is recognised that millennials prioritise development over their take-home salary. 69% of workers want to be able to do their job better or faster1, so harness this desire by engaging your employees to utilise the power of learning and development.

On a purely financial scale, it is estimated to cost between 150% - 200% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them1. Retaining staff prevents recruitment costs that could be easily avoided. Furthermore, individuals that decide to leave your organisation will frequently stay within the industry, meaning that not only will they take their valuable talent and potential with them – they may take themselves to your competitor.

Millennials are the future leaders of the business world and economy, and should be respected as such. If you provide them with the means to learn and develop, your employees will reward you with loyalty.

We’ve offered learning, training and development but they refuse to engage, or belittle what is offered

A common miscommunication between millennials and HR departments is the feeling of not being listened to. Millennials have grown up with technology at their fingertips, and outdated systems can be subject to ridicule.

The frustration threshold of the millennial is lower than ever, and expectations are higher. With only 10 seconds to gain their employees’ attention, HR departments need to work even harder to ensure that they are engaging effectively with the workforce. Even then, once attention is gained, there is no guarantee of the employees’ remaining engaged.

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How can I understand millennial learning habits, and adapt my training to their needs?

Firstly, it is important to remember that millennials have had years of experience of being able to access information immediately – if the information is not immediately and obviously available, they’re likely to disengage.

Millennials are increasingly short on time, balancing their professional life, social life, family life and relationships. One in four learners stated that they were unable to find the information that they required whilst using their current Learning Management System, resulting in fruitless searching, frustration and left without the information that they required.

Furthermore, it is worth reminding yourself that millennials don’t just want to develop their professional lives – soft skills training that can transfer through to their personal lives is as much appreciated. With the rise of hygge (individuals seeking an inner-peace and contentment), work can contribute a great deal of stress and individuals are seeking to move away from this – soft skills can help aid this.

To provide the best learning and development experience for your millennial workforce, the learning process must be designed in such a way that they can feel that it is rewarding in the short-term, worthwhile in the long-term, and deliverable and accessible.

Well thought out Learning Management Systems are responsive to all devices, ensuring that its users can learn on the move. Studies have shown that 61% of learners want to be able to learn on the move1, with 38% wanting to be able to use their own mobile device1. Company technology can be cumbersome to transport, and with the number of commuters increasing, it is worth considering the usability of your Learning Management System.

1Statistics provided by Towards Maturity’s 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report

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