Providing Learning Opportunities: A Critical Element of Retaining Millennials

Thu, Dec 27, 2018 @ 06:00 AM

Providing Learning Opportunities: A Critical Element of Retaining MillennialsMillennials now make up the largest percentage of the workforce--around 35% of those currently employed or looking for work--which means that millennial employees are shaping the way many employers handle recruiting, training, and employee retention. If you're hoping to increase employee retention levels at your workplace, there's one key factor that you'll need to take into consideration: providing adequate learning opportunities. Millennials don't just view their jobs as a stopping place. That is, the goal isn't to simply attend college or training, get a job, and stay in it permanently. Rather, millennials look at jobs as opportunities to further their professional capability. Each job is a stepping stone: an opportunity to learn more, gain more knowledge and learning, and further their employment potential. For employers, understanding this mindset is critical to keeping millennials on their team. 

Choosing the Job

59% of millennials consider learning and development a critical part of what a job has to offer them. As soon as they start considering where they want to work, they consider how that job will provide them further opportunities for growth and development: places that will support them if they're in school, offer training opportunities, and give them a chance to move up, both within the company and in the knowledge they have that may impact future positions. Millennials may ask about these opportunities during job interviews, but they're also doing their research: many millennials choose to research potential employers long before they decide whether or not they want to apply for an open job. 

Millennials: The Planning Generation

When Baby Boomers first entered the workforce, they assumed that they would learn through trial and error. Training opportunities were at a minimum; in fact, many Baby Boomers considered themselves lucky to come home with a training manual before they started working in their position! It was assumed that mistakes would be made throughout the training process and learning how to perform in a new position was a process that was not clearly defined.

Millennials, on the other hand, know that they need a plan.

Many millennials are aiming for highly skilled jobs in their field. They have their sights set, not on an entry-level position, but on a job that they ultimately feel will be fulfilling. As a result, they have a plan. They know what they need: which entry-level position will ultimately lead to the job that they really want; what skills they need to acquire to move up; what training opportunities and experiences they need in order to more effectively reach their overall goals. They're looking for employers that will provide them with access to that information and training: the ones that will help them move up and accomplish their big-picture goals. They're willing to do their time in entry-level positions, but they understand that those entry-level positions are stepping stones--and they expect their employers to provide them with increased training opportunities as part of the package. 

Millennials Need Opportunities

Millennials are looking for opportunities that will help them further their status--and they need training that will help them get there. "Opportunities to learn and grow" remains one of the top three factors in retaining millennial employees. Unfortunately, many companies fall far short of this scale: only about 39% of millennials believe that they learned something in the previous 30 days that would help them do their jobs better. 

As an employer, this means that if you're ready to step up to the plate and provide the training opportunities your millennial employees so desperately want, you'll be in a much better position to keep them within your company. You'll be able to attract top talent, retain top talent, and overall enjoy a better relationship with your millennial employees that will keep them happier and more productive for the company as a whole. Millennials are also eager to learn more about how to progress as leaders in their companies and in their industry, since their goal is often to eventually move into those positions. 

How Can Employers Provide Learning Opportunities for Millennial Employees?

There are several strategies that will allow employers to provide the learning opportunities that millennials crave--many of which will cost your company less than you expect. Providing your employees with the chance to  learn and grow doesn't have to be one of the most expensive items in your budget. Not only that, what you gain in employee knowledge and capability is well worth the investment! 

Offer employees incentive or reimbursement for going back to school. Does your company provide tuition reimbursement for employees who want to take classes related to their field? Sometimes, incentive isn't just about offering payment for those classes, though that can be significant incentive for many employees. It's also about offering time off to study or work time to spend working on classwork as needed. 

Provide opportunity to pursue certifications. Some companies pay for certifications for their employees. Others allow them blocks of time to work on those certifications, rather than focusing on their usual work duties. Remember, when your employees have those certifications, it makes your company look good to customers who are considering whether or not they want to use you--so providing opportunities for advancement in your field is of benefit to everyone involved. 

Offer seminars and classes. Training isn't just about what's offered "out there." Sometimes, you may need to specifically shape the ways your employees are learning or provide them with knowledge about specific areas of your industry. You might, for example, want to provide a management training seminar or offer access to classes on leadership and development. While these types of classes may not come with certifications, they do come with information that can significantly advance your employees' ability to do their jobs, making them of interest to both employees and employers. 

Are you ready to provide the training and opportunities that will help you keep millennial employees and advance their knowledge and understanding? Check out our Foundations of Leadership course or contact us to learn more about how our learning opportunities can help retain and train your millennial employees. 

Millennial employees also like the convenience of live, online virtual learning. Download our live virtual catalog below:

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Written by Susan Cullen

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