Millennials: The Argument For Separate Training

millennials

There’s been talk in HR circles that one of the most overrated and unnecessary training a company can do is for Millennials.

I understand the stance that people are people and what Millennials want: meaningful work, perks and work-life balance is what other generations want, but that misses the point.  Here’s why:

If current training programs are “doing the job,” why are Millennials leaving companies at a record pace?

Contrary to popular belief, Millennial training programs are not a threat to HR departments. Instead they are specialized bonus.

Think about it. From a Millennial worker’s perspective, the relationship with HR is one of cautious skepticism. Yes, HR is there for the employee’s benefit/rights, but it’s also HR’s primary function to protect the company it represents.

Knowing that, Millennial workers may take advice from HR with a grain of salt.

The definition of loyalty has changed. Millennials are loyal to people, not companies. That means if an outside trainer/consultant comes in and relates to younger workers better than current supervisors, both sides win. Most managers spend 50% of their time dealing with interpersonal conflict. Imagine how much time and money is saved when delegating leadership development.

Ultimately the goal is retention. It’s much more expensive to recruit, interview, hire, train, then fire an employee opposed to maintaining a strong career development program. Investing in Millennials produces better results and happier workers. The greatest lasting reward you can offer your younger employees is feeling: valued/appreciated. You can’t put a price tag on that.

Lastly, training Millennials is like marketing to them. You first have to understand what they want in order to reach them. The same dynamic happens in professional sports. Coaches who don’t relate to players can never get the desired results. Who the information is coming from is as important as what is being said. Millennials are unfiltered, which can be perceived as unprofessional, but truthful feedback is received well once genuine trust and care has been established.

Training Millennials is an art. This doesn’t mean HR can’t do it, but it’s time consuming and challenging. As much as Millennials love to collaborate, they prefer to do it amongst themselves. Clump them with the rest of the group and they’ll tune you out.

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