According to a Pew Research Center study of U.S. Census Bureau data, “More than one-in-three American labor force participants (35%) are millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force.”
Millennials, born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, have several unique traits as a generation. They are known for being digital natives, early adopters of new technology, and more educated than previous generations. Their career development may be slower than that of predecessors, partly caused by the fact that previous generations are now staying in the workforce longer.
Learning and development professionals must meet millennials’ expectations in order to recruit and retain them in the workforce, as another millennial tendency is to change jobs more frequently than other generations. The following five strategies will help you effectively engage and train millennials by appealing to their generational wishes and sensibilities.
1. Provide real opportunities to learn and grow
Millennials in the workforce tend to be highly motivated and are hungry for opportunity. Their education has helped them learn to research and to find answers quickly, but their age correlates to a lack of the first-hand knowledge that comes with a lengthy career.
Seek out opportunities for your millennial employees to get involved in large projects, to make consequential decisions, and yes, even opportunities for them to fail. Encourage them to shift their mindsets to embrace failure, and to reflect on what John C. Maxwell refers to as “failing forward,” the idea that setbacks can offer tremendous personal and professional growth that easy tasks can’t match.
As a learning and development practitioner, create opportunities for real on-the-job learning for your employees, in addition to traditional offerings. Consider implementing job shadowing and stretch assignments to give your millennial employees the hands-on experiences they crave. Read more.