Millennials are old news. When the first of this generation hit the workforce almost 15 years ago, most of them were using a Hotmail email address. They browsed the web on Internet Explorer and were just beginning to fill out their MySpace profiles. YouTube hadn’t launched yet, no one had laid eyes on an iPhone, and people were just beginning to use “Google” as a verb.
Fast forward to 2019: Millennials are in leadership. While people keep buzzing about how to employ them, train them, and work with them, they are moving on to bigger and better endeavors. Some of them are more than a decade into their careers. They are managers, directors, and business owners. They have decision-making power. They are shaping entire industries.
The transition from Millennial underling to Millennial leader has meant big changes in learning and development. Here's why:
Millennial priorities become company priorities.
When you make the rules, your priorities move up on the list. Because of millennials, that means investing in learning and development has never been as high a priority as it is today. Generations past used to take college degrees or technical training far into their careers. Today, the half-life for that knowledge is a fraction of what it used to be. No one can count on their education or training today holding up against tomorrow's new YouTube tutorial video.
Millennials have grown up in an environment where information moves fast, and their success depends on staying in the know at all times.
Now, millennials in leadership are seeking out learning and development tools to spread knowledge quickly among their workforce. Unfortunately, what they're finding are out-of-date learning management systems of the past that employees of the present have no interest in using.
Lack of learning becomes dangerous.
Where continuing education used to be a luxury in some industries, millennials in leadership treat it as a do-or-die. The discussion is no longer one of “when we have time, or resources to invest in education, we will.” It becomes a discussion of, “if we don't make time and acquire the resources, we will fail.”
Reports show employees stay with their employer longer when they have opportunities to advance. They are more fulfilled in their positions when learning is a priority. And, they are more likely to be invested in advancing the whole organization if they feel the organization is investing in them.
On the other hand, if employees do not have access to learning and development opportunities, they are apt seek other employment. Turnover is expensive. Some sources say it can cost as much as half the employee's salary in recruiting and training costs alone to fill a spot. That does not account for loss of productivity that happens until the position is properly filled.
Millennials in leadership feel the dangers they face if they aren't constantly learning, and therefore pass learning down as a priority to their workforce.
Curating available information into useful workplace knowledge.
Advancing your career is rarely further than a few clicks away. An internet full of articles, reports, podcasts, webinars, and online courses is at every professional's fingertips. Wading through all of that information is tough and time-consuming.
Learning-focused, managers see the availability of information as an opportunity to curate content for their employees, and create new content that cuts through the noise. These are the learning and development managers who do not try to re-invent the wheel. They take the inspirational TED Talks, and the information YouTube videos and they incorporate them into their training programs.
After curating the best of the best available content, it's easier to see where the holes are. It's at this point in a training program where organizations can and should create something new. These are the places where the information available just doesn't cut it. The organization becomes the expert, and relays their information to their employees through custom training.
Millennials training millennials.
By 2025, more than 75% of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials, according to a Deloitte report. In 2019, that means senior Millennials (those in leadership), are training junior millennials just entering the workforce. Now, learning and development opportunities is about more than appealing to the preference of a generation and catching the attention of the latest talent. It's about a generation revolutionizing the way learning and development is prioritized and carried out, and setting the stage for how learning and development will continue for generations to come.
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