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How does the L&D function within your organisation address the Millennial learner?

July 25, 2015 In: Blog Written by: Master Editor

Firstly, I have seen and heard various definitions of the term Millennials, so for the purpose of this article, I am going to define what my understanding is based on my own research and experience:

The term Millennials generally refers to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. The Millennial generation is the first born into the digital world, specifically the Internet and social media where technology is incorporated into their everyday lives.

Millennials expect their work to be not only enjoyable, but also an opportunity for personal as well as professional development. Given that every successful organisation embraces a dynamic, multi-generational workforce, it is of great importance that Millennials are motivated to greater performance, no matter how challenging the motivation process is.

In our technologically driven world, it is hard to escape the need to use just-in-time devices and mechanisms for learning, even in a formal environment. Millennials’ reliance on technology has changed the landscape of the online learning processes. New devices, social networks and open learning have advanced the ability to learn. The millennial generation are used to learning via social platforms, which makes it easier for them to dive into learning management systems that encourage social sharing. The added advantage to the social approach is that it builds a collaborative, development-focused culture, as opposed to an every-worker for themselves atmosphere.

The key for employers will be to help millennials channel their energy and passion in a defined direction. Offering them educational opportunities and chances to grow in their roles. Companies will need a tool that helps them stay connected to what their employee’s want to accomplish.

Culture matters to Millennials, but they’re not just looking for vending machines with free drinks and snacks or pool tables. Instead, they want a learning path, and they want to be able to make a difference. Millennials are looking for organisations where they can accomplish the following:

• Contribute to their role, their team and their organisation
• Grow in their ability, skill set and knowledge
• Be rewarded for their efforts, reputationally i.e. open badges / recognition

An annual performance review and employee engagement survey is simply not enough for this generation group. Organisations need look at ways to get real-time, repetitive feedback and conduct ongoing engagement surveys i.e. 360 degree review’s. Senior management and business unit leaders need to be equipped with the tools to manage, report and affect engagement. Doing so can help you get the most out of millennials and improve your business across the board.

Much of what has been discussed in this article can be delivered through a learning management system (LMS), like Totara. The features in this LMS comply with the needs of millennial learners, and bring the immediate, right-now feel that millennial learners demand. Live, real-time discussion forums allow learners to share ideas and collaborate. They can track their own progress from learning plans and can take courses on the go on their mobile devices, which is an important component because the majority of millennial are essentially attached to their smartphones and tablets.

If you have any questions on this article, please do not hesitate to contact me – terry.fannon@enovation.ie

Keep an eye out for my next article which will address each of the individual needs discussed in this article.


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