Much has been written about how to market to or engage with Millennials. Despite all the hype, Millennials are not overwhelmingly difficult to understand or connect with.
There are some defining characteristics: Millennials are mobile and social technology natives expect highly personalized (and colloquial) messaging, and resonate with companies that adapt quickly to current trends. While these characteristics are increasingly applicable across other demographics as well, today’s most successful brands have embraced these characteristics as core values in order to appear fresh, relevant, and authentic to this new generation.
But what about the companies looking to hire and recruit employees in the Millennial demographic? Companies trying to hire or hold onto the Millennial workforce can leverage the draw of another key Millennial value: personal and professional growth.
Companies can stand out through office design, unique perks and company culture, but one of the best investments a company can make to appeal to Millennials is through a robust learning and training program. Here are three ways to tailor your training program so it appeals to Millennials:
Enable Personal Growth: Baby Boomers believed in building a comfortable lifestyle around a steady job, while Millennials strive for unique experiences and diversified skill sets. Many companies still see training as a series of boxes to check — sexual harassment prevention, emergency procedures, basic administrative tasks — but companies will stand out if they offer employees the ability to grow outside of their role. Whether employees have just entered the workforce or were recently promoted to management, they should be given the chance to learn a variety of skills and talents.
Employees should be able to explore beyond their core job description, too. Someone in marketing might want the chance to learn to code, and engineers can explore new hobbies or work on team management skills.
Smart companies will encourage their employees to build their skills across the board. Give your employees access to role-specific courses, but also those for broader personal and professional development ranging from public speaking to photography. It’ll add variety and new value to the job that many employees will love.
Be Accessible: Training should be mobile; easily accessible from any device and packaged in a format that’s easy to consume. Companies that offer one-time orientations and trainings aren’t appealing to the way Millennials (and so many of the rest of us!) prefer to consume content — quickly, and often on-the-go.
Take, for instance, Goldman Sachs. Jason Wingard, the company’s chief learning officer, recently laid out how orientation used to happen at the company versus how it is now. Training used to require bringing all employees together, essentially in a big room, for a massive training session with talks, videos and networking. Once it was done, it was done. It was expensive, inconvenient for employees and not conducive to a mobile, always-on lifestyle. Now, Goldman’s robust online training program allows new employees to learn at their own pace and on the device of their choosing. It allows for ongoing check-ins and lets new employees get up to speed even more quickly. It’s a win-win.
Make It Responsive and Personal: HR teams managing training programs should take feedback into account, and seek to constantly add new courses based on employee requests. Understanding what employees want will help you keep them engaged.
If a job leaves an employee feeling dissatisfied — be it from lack of challenge, growth or excitement — he or she will find it elsewhere. Companies can strengthen ties with their team, particularly the younger members, by asking what their employees want and working to deliver it.
Appealing to Millennials isn’t as confusing or complicated as many articles would have you believe. What Millennials seek is in fact quite similar to what we all want — variety, personal growth and a sense of working toward something bigger than just a job. Smart companies will appeal to those sensibilities, and, in turn, attract and keep the talent they need to stay competitive.