Online Sidebar: Training Millennials

By Kathryn Tyler Oct 1, 2013
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Training Millennials continues to be dominated by hands-on learning. “I can’t stand a presenter who comes in and lectures at you,” says Angel Pedersen, SPHR, a Millennial and an HR business partner at Dyson Ltd., a vacuum manufacturer with 2,950 employees worldwide and a U.S. hub in Chicago. “I learn best when there are activities and discussions to engage me around the content.”

At PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, “We have always had cutting-edge development programs, and we believe a model of 70-20-10 addresses the needs of Millennials and non-Millennials alike,” says Terri McClements, a human capital leader.

The 70-20-10 model includes:

  • 70 percent learning by doing. Employees learn from the opportunities and challenges in their current job and by taking on stretch projects
  • 20 percent learning from others. Experiences might include team-based learning, coaching, mentoring and leveraging social networking platforms for collaboration
  • 10 percent formal learning programs, such as classroom-based and e-learning courses.

This is a solid model, according to Jason Houze, a Millennial and manager of business development for Energy BBDO, an advertising agency in Chicago: “I’m a ‘learn by doing’ person. A two-hour lecture or training video is much less beneficial for me.”

But even in-person training can be a turnoff if Millennials aren’t impressed with the trainer’s skills. “I was involved in an Excel training course, which was taught by someone over 55 who moved on the keyboard at half the pace of the employees being trained,” Houze says. “While I still found the training useful, if I was able to better relate with the presenter, I would be more willing to attend again.”

Kathryn Tyler is a freelance writer and former HR generalist and trainer in Wixom, Mich.

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