Millennials now make up more than one-third of the workforce in the United States, surpassing both the baby boomers and generation X.1 Millennials are like no generation before them, and they are playing a pivotal role in reshaping the workplace environment and expectations. One major benefit that millennials are looking for from their employers is continuous training and development.

Times Are Changing

Unlike their predecessors, millennials are more likely to switch jobs than any generation before them. In fact, one study shows that the average millennial will change jobs four times within the first 10 years of his or her career.2 Many employers have a hard time justifying the cost of training and development for employees that are likely to leave the company within just a few years.

It's easy to dismiss millennials as the "Me Generation." However, this generation grew up during a period of rapid social and technological changes. Millennials aren't just used to change; they embrace it. Add this to the fluctuating job market and the fact that some of them witnessed their parents deal with difficult lay-offs and forced retirements, and it is also easy to see why millennials are determined to stay ahead of the game and why they value training and development so much.

Training Really Does Benefit Employers

Even if millennials change jobs faster than their predecessors, employers can still benefit greatly from providing their employees with training and development. Here are just a few of the benefits of training your millennial workforce:

  • Keep teams up-to-date on latest trends
  • Build leadership
  • Improve retention rates
  • Increase employee job satisfaction
  • Boost productivity
  • Develop lifetime brand ambassadors

Tips for Implementing and Training and Development Program

The good news is that implementing a training and development program that meets the needs of your new workforce and benefits your business is not as difficult as you may think. The following tips can help you start a training program:

Find Matching Goals

The trick to implementing a successful training and development program is to look for areas where your goals and those of your employees overlap. For example, you may have an employee whose long-term goal is to start his own business. Several training programs, such as leadership training, can help him develop necessary management skills, while also providing value to your company.

Linear vs. Lateral Development

Millennials aren't always about moving up the corporate ladder. While some may have their eyes set on an executive position, others may have more lateral goals, such as another career path. You want to make sure you are offering both linear and lateral staff development options to help your employees meet their goals.

Offer Multiple Training Options

Having a structured training program is important, but make sure that it is not so structured that it's not meeting your employees' needs. Your employees have different goals, ambitions, and skill sets. So, it only makes sense that they would require different types of training programs. Your program should allow for multiple training options so all your employees will feel included.

Make It About Your Employees

You want your company to benefit from investing in employee training and development, but your main focus should be the employees. Even if the skills they are learning do not directly relate to your business, your interest in them will create loyal and more productive employees.


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Resources: Pew Research (1) CLO Media (2)