Danny here again. Thanks for checking back. Let’s talk about Corporate Learning and Millennials.

The Me Generation? Not Quite

I’m a millennial. And regardless of me being a bit on the older side of the millennial spectrum, I still wear this label with pride. So naturally I’m going to tell you all about myself, my challenges, my successes, and then probably more about myself. Because, ME GENERATION!

Usually I push back on this characterization of millennials as self-centered. I point to our high levels of empathy and an overwhelming propensity to cooperate and co-create with others, as opposed to immediately creating a competition.

So why do I say “usually”? Because when it comes to the workplace, we do put ourselves first. Previous generations were happy to work for a company. Millennials expect a company to work for us. This might sound crazy at first, but bear with me.

Changing Workplace Expectations

Prior to millennials, each new generation of worker had a single, focused goal: Get an entry level job. Check the required boxes to get continually promoted over the next 40+ years. Increase your salary and benefits so you can buy more stuff. Retire.

So how are millennials different? So glad you asked!

The majority of millennials, myself included, entered the workforce either during, or directly following, a major recession. Some of the largest, previously most respected, companies were shutting their doors for good after having lost billions of other people’s dollars. And this happened fast. One day I was entering college and these companies were being hailed as the gold standard of capitalism: spanning the globe, controlling markets, and employing millions. The next day many of those same companies didn’t even exist.

Self-Reliant Employees

As a result, I entered the workforce viewing companies as fleeting, with the only thing I could consistently rely on professionally being the skills I developed. I knew I could take those with me each and every time an organization inevitably let me down.

Now, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build great organizations. It happens all the time, and they exist. However, those organizations will only stay great if they retain employees that are passionate, engaged, curious, and truly care if the organization achieves its goals.

Organizations can achieve what I just described by maintaining an ongoing dialogue with those employees. Let’s think about that word: dialogue.

In the past, companies have tried to do this, whether it was through year-end satisfaction surveys, quarterly performance reviews, or an occasional training initiative. But these are nothing more than pre-planned events intended to take the place of real dialogue. There is nothing natural or continuous about them.

Creating a Continuous Dialogue

Let’s fast forward. Millennials are spending all day consuming information and media, most of it on our smartphones. Some studies cite that our media consumption can reach 15-18 hours each day.

This doesn’t mean we have our heads in our phones for several hours at time. Most often it’s no more than a minute or two. We’ll quickly “like” a status update, watch a short video and then share it with friends, or simply read and respond to a message. These interactions have become part of the average millennial’s day. You don’t need to tell us to do this, and we don’t need to find the time to do it. It’s just how we live.

So, if millennials are consuming media and interacting with their smartphones all day, why are their employers still trying to get them to sign onto outdated systems to take multiple hours of virtual training modules? Why are companies demanding they participate in multiple days of workshops that are rarely reinforced or revisited?

The answer? There are no good answers. It’s just habit and reluctance to change.

Thrive – The Human Platform

Companies are struggling to keep employees engaged through traditional methods. As a result millennial employees are leaving as quickly as they came. Luckily, there is a solution: just stop it.

Thrive gives employers the ability to replace archaic event-based interactions with actual dialogue. We also let them reach out to millennials where they are already focused: their smartphones. And these interactions seamlessly fit into their routines, becoming a part of their on-going consumption of media. Share some text, a video, ask a couple questions, or just check in and see what’s going on with them.

Millennials have made it as easy as possible for their employers, by defining both the method and platforms on which they want to learn, so please listen to us. It’ll be worth it in the long run.

Thanks for reading –

Danny

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