Professional development: The millennial motivator

You’ve heard the stigmas. You’ve witnessed their strengths. They’re likely all over your office. In fact, they’re probably climbing the management ladder of your organisation. Millennials are quickly becoming the biggest players in the modern workforce.

Research by PwC found that by 2020, their generation will make up 50 per cent of the global workforce. Defined as anyone born between 1980 and 2000, the millennial generation have left a lot of business leaders scratching their heads. As such, there has been plenty of research dedicated to better understanding this demographic.

What motivates millennials?

Millennials have more to offer than duck-faced selfies and Twitter hashtags, the key is to find the right ways to motivate and engage them. Before you can begin crafting new ideas for active participation, you need to secure a deeper understanding of what makes millennials tick.

The PwC study found a few salient characteristics across the millennial demographic. For starters, millennial workers have a distinct distaste for rigid corporate structures. They want opportunities for rapid career advancement. They desire freedom and flexibility in their jobs but want structured and consistent feedback from their superiors.

Perhaps the most meaningful finding was just how motivated millenials are by professional development opportunities. According to PwC, this demographic overwhelmingly named learning options as a better reward than money – outscoring flexible work arrangements as well.

Offering career building options is a proven way to engage a demographic that will soon make up a majority of the workforce. Setting up seminars for your employees to further their knowledge or footing the bill for an industry conference are all great perks for your team members. These not only help them further their career but will ultimately improve their work within your business – sounds like a win-win to us.

How can you create learning and development programs that engage millennials?

The important thing to remember here is that while many millennials want professional development opportunities, they don’t all learn the same way. The challenge for leaders is to build training frameworks that appeal to a diverse set of thinking styles and professional profiles.

Looking through the lens of demographics can certainly help us pinpoint trends and shifting professional needs, but every demographic is full of a spectrum of individuals with different needs and unique motivators.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some ideas on how to create training programs aimed at the younger demographic.

1. Gauge what your employees want to learn

Active participation in individual professional development is something this demographic craves. Instead of dictating training courses, put out a list of potential focus areas and let your team decide which ones they’d like to run through first.

2. Use thinking profiles to build effective frameworks

Use your knowledge of Whole Brain® Thinking and employee preferences to build training programs that appeal to a wide variety of learners. Include elements that you know suit the four quadrants and ensure there is interaction between the different thinking styles. Millennials crave training but it needs to be presented in a way that will make the information stick.

3. Connect knowledge and action

Many businesses make the mistake of investing in training but then leaving the follow-up to fall flat. Shape training in a way that makes clear connections to how this new knowledge can be used in day-to-day tasks. Ask your team: Now that you know X, how will you do things differently? Book in follow up meetings to check in on the progress of your trainees.

Training is an exciting opportunity for upskilling – not just for your millennials but for your entire staff. To learn more about how to create inclusive and effective training programs with the whole spectrum of thinking considered – sign up to receive the first two chapters of our Whole Brain® Business Book today!

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