According to a Deloitte report from 2014 young adults reaching adulthood around the year 2000 in the workplace, ‘millennials’ are set to grow by 30 percent in the next five years, while baby boomers will decline by 28 percent; creating a vast generational vacuum accelerating millennials advancement into management and senior leaderships role across the US.

But, the biggest question with such advancements is; are these millennials simply ready for this?

Well no…

Deloitte reports only 36 percent of millennials currently in leadership positions felt prepared when they commenced their role. Even after being in the role for a period of time, only 30 percent of those originally asked felt they were ‘ready’.

So there is a major problem, we have a succession of newly assumed leaders in companies that feel unsupported and insecure in their roles, which when we link this back to employee engagement models tends to support that the individual will underperform, and the business risk failing to retain its best talent.

So, we must learn to really engage with these millennials, and I believe that best done with supporting them with investment in learning and development. The most successful learning and development programs cater to these millennials, they respond well to electronic communications, craving instant access to information, whilst thriving in collaborative workplaces.

Learning & Development.

This new wave of millennials have high expectations for L&D, sadly that is not currently being met. 

Accenture’s 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey reports that “77 percent of 2013 graduates expected formal training from their first employer. However, only 48 percent of 2011 & 2012 graduates reported having received this in their first job.” 

On balance there are other influences to consider during this period, including tough market conditions during the downturn across both the UK & US. Due to this we have seen L&D resources being cut extensively – and that has clearly left a gap that millennials feel is not being attended. Additionally, millennials have created two headline problems for companies that offer formal training:

Millennials’ are ignored.

A study curated by American Society of Training and Development, reports that the majority of learning and development professionals agree that millennials need specialist training. Although these individuals are highly-technically versed, they often demonstrate a lack of soft skills such as communication and relationship building — something most organisations continue to ignore as a key learning development point.

Traditional classroom learning is dead.

The way millennials engage with content as consumers has told us a lot about the ways we need to engage with them from an L&D perspective, they are not traditional classroom learners, that model for this group just doesn’t resonate. They are heavy mobile and social consumers that access information rapidly and instantly, whilst engaging heavily with game and video content. This has led to increased development of a variety of new learning platforms including those mentioned, game, e-learning, mobile, and social learning. 

For years channels such as game learning ‘have been the next big thing’ but only now are we really starting to see them executed well, thanks to better collaboration between creators and developers with better access to software, along with the other channels social, mobile, e-learning they are becoming valuable components of the millennials learning strategy. However, when they executed poorly, they leave the millennial disenchanted.

It’s easily to simply say this, however the next generation L&D should address millennials’ skills gap, by combining delivery models and engaging with them across new digital learning platforms.

Learning & Development superheroes unite!

Companies need to develop millennial leaders, they are highly valuable skilled personnel.

However, we must address the gap. Millennials place a big emphasis on development resources, which really elavates the importance of L&D.

Again looking at employee engagement, it is those ‘people companies’ who offer leading learning and development models that do more than simply creating the next generation of management and leaders. They increase their attractiveness to top talent, whilst increasing employee retention of the very best internal performers. 

Simply put, investing in the correct L&D programme translates to a happy, engaged, high-fiving all round talent! And, a company that retains the very best performs more efficiently. So don’t neglect this generation, engage with your millennials.

Coming soon – a look at the changing landscape of e-learning.

Follow me @ashleyTZone, or LinkedIn.