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More flexible learning strategies needed for young workers

How are companies adapting their learning solutions to keep young employees on-task?

As employees from the millennial generation enter the workforce, methods of training may change. In fact, the rise of new learning methods seems perfectly timed to coincide with this change - as long as leaders follow along. There is a need to get employees of all generations on the same page moving forward, and technology could play a large role in the required evolution. Organizations that stay in place with their old-fashioned learning strategies may end up with lower retention as the base of employees they speak to will not remain constant and fixed.

Figuring out the unique makeup of the millennial mindset and playing to it could yield great results. If this plays into a larger migration from on-premise classroom learning to eLearning solutions, leaders may find it both natural and worthwhile in a general sense to make their training strategies "younger" and more accessible to millennials.

"Technology today supports mobility, so companies refusing to deliver this type of access appear behind the times."

The youth movement
A recent CLO Media column by Ladan Nikravan explored the topic of teaching Generation Y workers relative to their older peers. Nikravan spoke with Ricoh Americas HR Senior Vice President Donna Venable, who explained there are a few misconceptions that may prevent the deployment of effective solutions. Venable noted young employees are used to a tech-saturated world. They have always been able to look up what they need to know and are comfortable learning information digitally, even in cases when older workers would prefer to speak with someone face to face.

Venable described the types of processes that can help millennials retain information, including video content that isn't too long. This is a way to combine the data-packed potential of multimedia with a duration that gets to the point and does not lose the attention of employees who are used to switching from one focus area to another every few moments.

Teaching millennial employees may call for technologically-enhanced and media-rich solutions.
Teaching millennial employees may call for technologically-enhanced and media-rich solutions.

There may be some concern that getting younger in learning style might serve to alienate the rest of the workforce. Venable, however, went on to list a few initiatives that make sense for all generations. She endorsed the idea of greater mobile accessibility, as getting data into the hands of a traveling employee has relevance beyond the Generation Y contingent. Both employees who have been raised with smartphones in hand and those who have simply become accustomed to such a work style will appreciate the ability to log into company systems from wherever they may be. Technology today supports mobility, so companies refusing to deliver this type of access appear behind the times.

Pull vs. push
In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Goldman Sachs Chief Learning Officer Jason Wingard explained organizations that adopt a more tech-focused learning approach can reach out to young learners in ways traditional companies cannot. He described the conventional version of training as a "push" from central sources to the workforce. The alterative is a "pull," which means professionals are responsible for deciding what they want to learn and when they are available to absorb that information. With the "pull" approach, workers are able to pace themselves and pursue a custom course of education beyond the basics. This type of self-determination may be a great enticement for a self-starting millennial learner.

Corporate Learning & Performance

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