Engaging Millennials in the workplace

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Have you ever pondered why young hires, grumble at the thought of an 8-hour long  classroom training, despite it being designed by your veteran Learning Specialists? Why, despite your organization boosting about the state-of-art Learning Management System, the learners find completing the e-learning module assigned a boring, tedious and isolated task?

Those born between the early 1980s and 2000s are called as the ‘Millennial Generation’ or Generation ‘Y’. They are the first generations to truly grow up with technology, believing that everything is possible at the click of a button. Learning strategies that worked for older generations no longer resonate with Millennials. So, the next time you design a learning intervention, below are a few thoughts you can take into consideration:

 

Ensure Learning is relevant –No one can beat Millennials at ‘googling’ and discovering
information in the blink of an eye who believe that theories/principles are all important but available readily on the internet hence they expect solutions to their real-world problems from learning interventions.Hence, it’s essential to have a detailed understanding of the learner’s current work challenges and ways of working.Simulations, hands-on, role plays and application-based case studies, on the job training are preferred modes of facilitation than the traditional classroom lecture to engage millennials.

KYL – Know Your Learner Have you observed that each time you visit Amazon, the
homepage is personalized influencing you for your next purchases? This is due to the algorithms which are created, based on the granular details like your recent searches, clicks, purchasing history, repetitive user behavior etc. In a similar manner, our LMS should be able to anticipate the most likely learning needs of the learner, taking into consideration all the data relating to the learner i.e. skill set, job profile, performance management ratings, learning gaps, career path, succession planning etc. This will enable a personalized experience for the learner.

Compact Learning Nuggets-One would have to agree that no matter how interesting interesting a subject is, nobody likes to be talked at for hours on end. This is one of the reasons why the massively successful TED TALKS stick to a strict 18-minute rule, the content is precise and holds people’s interest. So rather than bombarding the learner with an abundance of data at one go, learning nuggets gives the opportunity to provide small segments of information enabling it to be easily grasped by the learner.

Collaborative learning through Social Networking-Millennials are inseparable from Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc… since they spend a fair amount of time on them daily. Millennial learners rely on social media to share knowledge, ideas, experiences and discuss challenges. Create a WhatsApp group so that all learners stay connected or at the end of an intervention setting up a Twitter chat where learners could discuss what they’ve learned, and how they’ve applied their skills in their roles are all ways to engage millennials learners.

Make Learning a Game-Millennials have grown up with easy access to games on consoles, computers, and mobile devices. Today, be it frequent flyer miles, shopper stop points, credit card points, hotel rewards etc. are ways to engage through gamification. Gamified assessment, offering rewards, badges, adding competitive elements or just the opportunity to track the learners progress and compete against one another in a game-like environment would keep the learner motivated to learn.

By the next decade, three-fourths of your employees will likely belong to Generation Y, who constantly look for opportunities to learn and grow therefore it is need of the hour to design learningstrategies keep in mind the Millennials.

Author- Lavneet Kaur Lamba is a seasoned Learning & Development Professional with experience in executing numerous projects in the domains of Leadership Development, Talent Management, Employee Engagement and Organizational  Development. She has been associated with Philips, Hafele, Alembic Pharmaceuticals and Kotak Mahindra Bank.

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