training Millennials

In a recent post, we talked about employee retention and meeting employee needs more effectively. While it’s great to to be able to identify weaknesses and make changes along the way, sometimes starting strong with training can make an even larger impact when it comes to employee retention. In a prior post, we noted that 52% of organizational turnover occurs among first year employees with the cost to replace a Millennial employee climbing upwards of $25,000. Effectively training Millenials has never been so important to many organizations.

Techniques for Training Millennials

Effective training from the beginning is important as it can help organizations avoid much of the time and cost incurred due to turnover. Below, we discuss five techniques for effectively training Millennials specifically.

1. Outline clear expectations

It has been reported that only 50% of employees know exactly what is expected of them at work. Most people like to feel as if they know what is expected of them, but, for Millennials, this is especially true. Managing expectations properly ensures coworkers and managers are on the same page leading to higher efficiency and productivity.

Having clear expectations also allows employees to do their jobs more effectively as they are less likely to make mistakes or waste time asking questions that they are expected to know. Employees will then hold themselves more accountable while also feeling more empowered to excel in their position.

When training Millennials, defining clear expectations is critical.

2. Offer short, frequent feedback

A recent survey showed that 98% of employees will become disengaged when they have a manager who gives zero or very little feedback. While most organizations would report that they give feedback via annual or quarterly reviews, this is not necessarily the best type of feedback.

Especially for Millennials, formal, infrequent feedback is not particularly effective. There is a concept called “two second feedback”: instead of only giving feedback in an intimidating, lengthy meeting once a year, offer quick and frequent feedback to employees. Next time you pass an employee in the hallway, let them know their comments in this week’s meeting were beneficial to the project. If you expected more from a recent report, let that employee know you expect a more detailed report next time. Quality feedback doesn’t require a formal meeting with designated blocks of time; simply let people know how they’re doing when they actually complete the task. In other words, don’t wait six months to praise or critique employees.

Will this really make a difference?

A HubSpot survey reported that 69% of employees indicated they would work harder if they received feedback and recognition of their efforts. Whether it’s positive or more constructive feedback, employees will feel their work is recognized and valuable making them more likely to work harder and feel more satisfied.

3. Provide meaningfulness

Learning the various procedures, protocols, and steps of performing a new job can be exciting, intimidating, monotonous, frustrating, and encouraging. But after learning a new job and being able to master daily tasks, then what?

When training Millennials, tell them why they’re doing what they’re doing. How do their tasks contribute to the success of the company? Sometimes a job can get dull or feel as if one is simply reinventing the wheel. By providing meaning and importance to employees, they are more likely to stay engaged and motivated.

4. Plan for the future

Relating back to our analysis of how Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” applies to employees, humans are intrinsically motivated to reach various milestones throughout their lives and to strive to be their best self. Therefore, most Millennials don’t expect their first, second, or even third job to be their last. They want to be constantly growing and developing professionally.

When training either a new or existing employee for a new job, demonstrate that they have the ability to move up within the company. Create achievable, measurable goals that employees are familiar with from the beginning. Spend some time succession planning and share that information with your employees. CUES estimates that fifty-six percent of employees expect a promotion within a year. That may or may not be reality for all of your employees, but at least let them know you’re invested in them and that they’re important to the organization.

Show your employees you want to help them succeed and excel within the organization.

5. Create a collaborative space

A collaborative work environment is something most Millennials value. We’re seeing more and more companies shy away from the cubicle atmosphere and move towards a more open, team-oriented environment. For new employees, this type of environment can feel more welcoming and enable them to ask more questions and learn at a faster pace.

A collaborative workspace also allows for proliferation of ideas and cultivate a more diverse mindset. Additionally, employees feel more in control of their jobs when they feel they can collaborate with others – further enhancing their confidence. With the ability to work with others, employees can brainstorm and utilize feedback from coworkers before finalizing projects. With 74% of Millennial employees expressing a desire to work with others, organizational culture is making a shift towards a more collective mindset.

Wrapping Up

It doesn’t require a training overhaul in order to make improvements to your current practices. Small, manageable changes to your organization’s training procedures can make the onboarding process much more effective and ultimately reduce turnover. By ensuring that Millennial employees are properly trained, they will become more confident, competent, productive, and excited about a future within your organization!

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Photo Credit: ShashiBellamkonda via Flickr Creative Commons.

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