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Have You Hugged Your Millennial Today?

Yesterday’s post on LinkedIn by Lee McEnany Caraher on the “5 Tips for Working with Boomers” inspired me into a little bit of TBT action in terms of bringing back this post from earlier this year. I thought it only fair to provide some tips for working more effectively with millennials.

I have to start out by saying that I borrowed the idea for this title from Michael Rochelle of Brandon Hall Group, who advised an audience of webinar a while back to do just that: Hug your millennials. That informative session, called “Top Talent Management Trends,” and the fact that, as Rochelle noted, millennials will be the majority by 2018, resulted in our creating a list of 10 ways we think you can keep your millennials happy and productively employed.

1. Always make sure your millennials know how they are doing.

Progress reports are an easy addition to your employee portal to help motivate people to complete their training courses, certifications, tasks, etc. Do this on a regular basis rather than simply annually.

2. Communicate frequently with your millennials about what they need to be doing.

Development plans with clearly articulated goals should be a part of any system to help drive performance forward.

3. Be sure to make your experts accessible to your millennials.

Team pages and expert forums are only a couple of ways that employees can seek expert advice to help move projects forward, close sales, etc.

4. Create a culture and work environment where millennials can seek the support and easily collaborate with their peers.

Millennials have been doing this throughout their school years through Facebook, Tumblr and other tools. Anyone who has parented a teenager knows that very few assignments get completed singlehandedly. Associate groups and peer-to-peer forums are just two ways that employees can share knowledge and expertise.

5. Provide easy access to informational resources that will help your millennials succeed on the job.

Well-architected libraries and repositories of information tagged and indexed according to job role or work group, etc. can make information more meaningful and help employees sort through “the tsunami” of information out there today.

6. Design concise, engaging, and targeted training for your millennials.

Todd Tauber of Bersin by Deloitte shared a great data point a while back from the Pew Research Center on about how most millennials sleep with their phones, which when coupled with how they use social networking sites and download videos gives you a great indication of how targeted your learning needs to be.

7. Ensure that your millennials feel connected to the company’s success.

Frequently refreshed content about corporate initiatives, incentive programs for top sales performance or other ways of recognizing contributions to your company’s success can help increase the level of engagement and help drive your key performance indicators in the right direction.

8. Make it as easy as possible for managers to see how their millennials are doing.

One of the greatest obstacles to improving performance is the inability to track and report on it effectively. Managers need easy-to-use dashboards to view learning progress, comment on work products, update development plans, etc.

9. Provide easy-to-use feedback tools for managers to work with.

Whether it’s setting goals, commenting on the development plan, or providing feedback on a business presentation, unless managers have the right tools, it will be hard to steer our millennials in the right direction.

10. Capture and provide the data for senior leadership to see that your learning and development processes and tools are clearly engaging your millennials in ways that help drive the company objectives.

Rochelle noted since the 1930s, we have moved from an apprentice-centered, to a teaching-centered, learning-centered, and now relationship-centered learning approach. In truth everything is more connected, and we all take a part in driving the success of the company forward. Rich reporting dashboards can help everyone, from individual employees to managers and leadership, see these connections more effectively.

OK, admittedly, our top ten could apply to any aged employee, but given specifics of millennial DNA, it behooves us to focus on the type of engagement that will not only result in more successful employee retention but also higher levels of productivity and overall increased revenues.

As Rochelle noted, we need to link everyone by technology and “picking the wrong technology is the worst think you can do.”

Stayed tuned to Designs2Learn for more on best practices in learning, design, and technology.


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As of January 2024, Rewriting Paradigms is back and I'm writing about today's  issues, those that most test us and our humanity.

Designs2Learn blogs were originally published on a separate site devoted solely to educational issues. 

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