Training Millennials in the Workplace
Complimentary White Paper
Solutions for Training Millennials in a Multi-generational Sales Team
77% of top performing companies reported making "Significant" or "Extreme" changes in order to manage millennials in the workplace---Aberdeen Group, Sales Performance Management 2016: How the Best in Class Evolve Success
According to Pew Research, since Q1 of 2015, there have been more millennials in the workplace than ever before; in fact:
“more than one-in-three American workers are millennials.”
Organizations are now tasked with managing a multigenerational workforce, in which diversity means a broad set of core values, approaches to working, and ideas about professional and career development. The influx of millennials in the workplace and the distributed nature of sales teams have created a growing gap between the developmental needs of the modern sales organization and the learning solutions available to them.
Balancing the Needs of Millennials in the Workforce with the Needs of Older Generations
Some learner preferences are universal across generations. Everyone typically wants relevant and digestible content that is accessible wherever and whenever they want it. Millennials generally expect to use search engines or watch YouTube videos to find answers, while Boomers and Gen Xers tend to take a more sequential approach to learning. But there are no hard-and-fast rules. Some boomers adopt the learning style of millennials, and some millennials opt for more traditional training. The point is that you need to be prepared for everything. Here are some simple solutions to help:
- Meet learners where they are
- Offer blended solutions with online and in-class learning options
- Align your learning approach to the lifetime learning experiences of your sellers — K-12, college, informal learning through YouTube, social sites, etc
Meet Learners Where They Are
Millennials live in a digitally connected world of smartphones, tablets, televisions, and computers. They want on-the-go microbursts of learning delivered to their devices of choice, while boomers may respond better to direct feedback in a classroom environment. The key is not to focus on any group, but every group. So don’t throw away traditional training to suit millennials; take what has worked with previous generations and blend it with new approaches, content, and technologies to engage anyone and everyone.
Blend Online and In-Class Learning
Technology makes it possible to master key concepts and models before learners ever set foot in classrooms. Flipping the classroom keeps your sellers in front of clients, and that’s money in the bank. Not only is it practical, but it also sharpens cognitive skills, sustains knowledge, and improves behavior change.
Align Learning Experiences
Rather than measuring your training experience against other sales training programs, benchmark yourself against a wider set of educational experiences, including online universities, YouTube, Google search, MOOCs, boards, and any other ways your sellers educate themselves. Sellers come to your program with a lifetime of learning experiences — make sure that you know what those experiences are and stay aligned with how sellers like to learn.
Multigenerational sales organizations are challenging because they require us to “fit” the diverse learning styles of different teams, which are often distributed geographically and may require different degrees of proficiency to be effective. The key is to know your sellers and then create learning interventions that engage and inspire them.