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Training Millennials: Identifying the Needs of Future Leaders

Written by Nisha Amin | Apr 27, 2017 1:20:00 PM

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Millennials are quickly growing in size to become the largest cohort in the workforce. Statistics show that by 2025 organizations will be dealing with a workforce made up of 75% Millennials.1 With this in mind, successful companies gearing up for the future need to take a step back and really consider leadership development of this group, even though poor retention numbers characteristic of this group may serve as a deterrent. 

In order to do this effectively however, learning leaders, managers and business owners must also consider the difference in learning styles as well as development needs of this group as compared to their predecessors.

In order to effectively develop your Millennial leaders it is important for managers to understand and create a leadership training and development program customized specifically for them.

Here are 5 key areas identified by the experts at TrainingFolks.

1. Communication is the Key

Remember, your Millennial leaders need feedback, support and to have the ability to ask questions at any time. They actually need mentoring over management, meaning an ongoing process for managers versus a periodical leadership course or training module. Communication is also a two way street, and it is important to listen to what your Millennials are saying. What motivates them? What do they want to be coached on? What is their learning style? How do they feel about the way the company is headed and their contribution? These are all key areas that will further support managers in building their training programs.

2. Make Meetings Regular

Since Millennials are likely to stick around longer when they feel a sense of loyalty, believe in the company’s brand and are connected, it is important to create and foster these feelings consistently.  This means saying good-bye to the days of intermittent meeting in a formal boardroom setting to discuss progress, questions and feedback. Millennials are in the moment and may need to have chats via Skype, IM, email or by simply walking into your office as something pops up! Successful leaders will be able to create a corporate culture that incorporates this open communication via meetings that are both formal and mostly informal in nature.

3. Give Them Responsibility

This may feel quite difficult at first especially given your management style in comparison to the ideal style for a Millennial; however, it is important in order to allow your Millennial leaders to develop. After all if they are not responsible for anything, they can’t take ownership and you are likely to lose them in the end due to a lack of engagement with the organization. Start with a small number of items to delegate to your Millennial and let them show you how they can shine! Keep in mind that they may get the job done differently from how it has been done or how you may think it should be done but if the end result is the same and the job is still done in a timely manner it is worth considering they continue with this method. It is important to 1. not micro manage, 2. not overwhelm them and perhaps the most important is 3. praise them, and provide consistent feedback along the way!

4. It’s Time to Train

Now keep in mind that although you are training, the way in which the programs are set up need to be customized to your Millennials!

With internal training, Millennials respond best to mentoring and coaching versus formal in-house training. The leadership training program therefore, needs to mimic this and be set up with internal mentors versus instructors. Mentoring also eases the Millennial into the program versus being forced into something that is scheduled. Again, it is important for a Millennial to have personal confidence in the company and their mentor or coach and this can be achieved by the mentor offering his or her experiences and knowledge rather than trying to drill in how to do certain things.

In most cases, external training provided by an outside trainer who is used to working with this age group can also be helpful in developing your Millennials. The program should be more inspirational in nature and offer new ideas and techniques for the Millennials to build from. Allowing them to participate versus offering a formal format will also help with a higher level of engagement in the program.

5. Praise Them

Millennials need to feel appreciated and that they are making a difference with the work they are doing with your organization. One of the best ways to shine a spotlight on them is via social media. This is where they connect and where their peers follow their lives, so connecting them to your organization with the successes that they have achieved is a great way to keep them engaged. Having this public show of appreciation will also help to make your Millennial leaders feel more inspired as well as more a part of the organization. 

Overall the goal with creating your Millennial leaders is building a strong sense of connection for them to your organization. Clear communication, sharing insight into the future of the company, recognizing them for jobs well done and allowing them to share their ideas. Read the blog "Why Millennials are Good for Business" to learn more about the benefits of hiring from this group.

Learn more about training Millennials workforce with this free eBook from TrainingFolks today. 

 1 Leadership Development For Millennials Not Seen As A Priority