Training the Millennials 5 Strategies that Work

4 minutes read

Millennials are the generation who were born between 1980 and 2000. We hear a lot of discussion about how the millennials are different as a customer segment and what companies should do to attract them. Equally important is to realize that they are joining the workforce in vast numbers and will definitely shape the world for years to come.

Their career aspirations, attitudes about work, and knowledge of new technologies will define the culture of the 21st century workplace. So is your organization ready to change to accommodate their needs?

By 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce.
PWC Study

Challenge in Training Millennials

One of the biggest challenges that companies face is how to onboard millennials and train them effectively. This is especially true for sales based organizations who still have classroom sessions as their primary form of training. Millennials have have short attention spans and are adept at multi-tasking. They naturally find long classroom trainings to be boring. They can be very competitive, but collaborative and congenial too at the same time. They are extremely savvy and they want answers and they want them NOW. Their unpredictability sends many a brave sales trainer scrambling. We have heard many experienced sales trainer bemoan their lack of attention in the classroom.

So, why don’t we turn their so-called shortcomings into strengths and design a sales training program just for them?

Use these 5 tried and tested ways to engage millennials in sales training:

  1. Micro-Learning - Learning in Byte-sized Pieces
    Millennials absolutely abhor pages and pages of training material, even in digitised form. Put them in a classroom and they will be bored to no end. They have been brought up in the world of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They are more familiar with small pieces of information sent in bursts. Introduce Micro-Learning. It’s a way to send byte-sized information at regular intervals. Almost like you are tweeting the information. This goes well with their short attention spans.
    Break up your training material into essential pieces of information. And send those information at regular intervals.

  2. Mobile Based Learning
    Millennials are extremely tech savvy. They stay glued to their smartphones throughout the day. Use technology to your advantage in sales training. Create rapid eLearning that can be accessed on-demand through any connected device.
    Make sure that they are able to access the short eLearning tutorials ‘_Anytime, Anywhere_’ - while they are traveling or even waiting for the customer.

  3. Gamify Everything
    Millennials are competitive by nature. Keep their spirit alive by introducing gamification. They are already familiar with leaderboards in sales. Introduce leaderboards in learning as well. It is a way to quantify their learning and way to tap into their competitive nature.
    Use gaming concepts like levels and points which make learning challenging and fun at the same time. Give them something to talk about - ‘_I am level 5 in Objection Handling!_’.
    Hand out badges as rewards. It could be for completing a training byte on time, or for being at the top of the learning leaderboard for that quarter, or for winning a team competition.

  4. Constant Engagement is the Key
    Like the Twitter feed that keeps on updating every second, keep them constantly engaged. Keep things competitive with gamification. Arrange team competitions and declare winners. And acknowledge winners publicly. Keep giving them feedback on their activities. Millennials thrive on constant attention. And this will only help them learn and retain the information.

  5. Use Peer to Peer Learning
    Millennials are more receptive towards learning from their peers than just learning from their sales managers, or trainers or anyone higher in their organization. They are also more comfortable in sharing their experience than their older counterparts.
    Create that environment of sharing and learning. Use technology that helps them to collaborate and share their knowledge and experience. You will be surprised at how effective this peer to peer learning can be.

It is time to change your sales training ways to adapt to the millennial mindset. Start today!

Published on Thu Sep 22 2016