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When Baby Boomers took their first “real” jobs upon entering the workforce, their demands and expectations were ridiculously low by today’s standards. On their first day on the job, they got an employee handbook that they took home and scanned while eating dinner or watching TV. Company training, if there was any, was minimal.
For the most part, they accepted the idea that it was normal to feel ignorant and unskilled in the first weeks or months on a new job. They expected to “learn the ropes” by making mistakes.
When it came to promotions, most Boomers were equally willing to proceed by trial and error. Nobody told them, “Here is just what you need to do to get ahead in our company … here is the next position we’ll be considering you for.” One day in the hazy future, they hoped that their bosses would call them in and say, “We just gave you a promotion … you may leave early and take the family to dinner to celebrate.”
Was there feedback? Of course, there was. There were quarterly, semiannual, or yearly job reviews that usually followed the script, “Here’s what you’ve been doing wrong, here’s where you need to improve – so, do it. Session over.”
In short, many Baby Boomers were happy to toil away in black boxes, learning jobs and building careers in a loose way that would seem absurd to the members of today’s younger, Millennial workforce.
Boy, have things changed. Today, most Millennial workers would object strenuously to the same kind of conditions that Baby Boomers (and members of the generation that preceded them) thought were normal. If today’s Millennials start new jobs and discover conditions like those in a new workplace, they are going to start looking for new jobs in a matter of hours.
Ample research documents that Millennial attitudes are different. One major study from Gallup, “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” reports these findings:
Findings like those – and you can easily find more – document that Millennials are more likely to be engaged and stay in their jobs if they have opportunities to plan their career paths and learn.
A lot of training focuses on teaching needed skills. It should. But training can accomplish a lot more than that, if you use it to establish some of the following things that many Millennials are looking for:
Yes, training is important to Millennials. They are the most energized, skilled and capable generation ever to enter the workforce! Train them well, and they will become your organization’s brightest future. ν
Train Millennials well, and they will become your organization’s brightest future.
Evan Hackel is the CEO of Tortal Training, an executive coach, speaker and author of Ingaging Leadership: A New Approach to Leading that Builds Excellence and Organizational Success. Tortal Training specializes in developing interactive eLearning solutions to make effective training easier by specializing in engagement. As CEO, Evan promotes the Ingagement philosophy, which has helped countless organizations create a culture of partnership and common purpose to drive success. For more info, please visit Tortal.net.
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