The Right Way to Provide Professional Development for Millennials

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Millennials want professional development. In a recent study conducted by PWC, access to learning and development was the number one benefit millennials requested by millennials. Not flex time, not cash bonuses: professional development.

Clearly your millennial employees are more than willing to participate in continuing education and professional development programs.  The trick is finding the right format for them. Training and development isn't cheap, and companies are spending billions of dollars a year on training programs. To avoid wasting money on unsuccessful professional development, you need to learn the right way to provide professional development for millennials. 

1. Keep Up to Date with Technology

Most millennials have lived their whole lives online - or at least, with access to a cell phone and computer. That's why they dislike more traditional methods of professional development, like all-day trainings that are lecture based. 

Millennials expect professional development and training to include technology, and PowerPoint presentations don't count. Instead, millennials want videos, interactive quizzes, and ideally, the ability to access it on their mobile devices. 

2. Make it Flexible

Millennials like everything flexible, from work schedules to professional development. They don't like being told they have to attend a training on a certain day. Instead, they prefer professional development that's accessible on-demand. It allows them to access it when they have the time and are ready to learn. 

The good news is that millennials are eager to learn. Deloitte found that employers dedicate 2.7 hours a week on average to professional development, but millennials would prefer 4.5 hours. When professional development is flexible, millennials can make that happen on their own. 

3. Offer Interactive Training

Traditional lunch and learn conference calls aren't going to cut it with millennials. Their generation is all about multitasking, and if they're asked to listen to a phone call on their lunch break, odds are they will also be working on something else. They won't actually get any benefit from the call because their attention will be divided. 

Instead, offer interactive training. It can be in-person or online, but adding an interactive element to professional development is a great way to ensure millennials stay engaged and get value from the training. 

4. Make it Personal 

Millennials expect personalized professional development. They don't want to sit through a webinar or go through a training program that doesn't apply to them. Offering personalized development plans is great for employers as well. Together the employee and their manager can decide what training the employee actually wants and needs.

Not only will employees perform better when they've had a say in what training they need, the company will save money by avoiding the costs of unnecessary training. Everyone wins with personalized professional development plans.