If there is any generation that understands the digital world, it is Gen Y, the millennial generation. Millennials, those born after 1981, are typically as computer literate as people can be. Because of this, among other reasons, millennials tend to be incredible assets to their employers. However, not everyone agrees.
Maybe Millennial Employees Aren’t So Bad, After All
Anyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock for the past few years knows that millennials have a bad work reputation. This is not necessary because they aren’t good workers. It’s more probable that Gen Y’s bad rap evolved over time and has been propagated by individuals who choose to see only their negative characteristics and ignore their good qualities.
To a large extent, millennials have become labeled as self-seeking, lazy, idealistic employees. While certainly there are some millennials who fit this description (as there are Baby Boomers and Gen Xers), the majority of millennial employees do great things for their companies. Sanjeev Agrawal, former global head of product marketing at Google, agrees.
Millennials’ Virtual Communication Skills are a Boon to Employers
In 2014, Sanjeev Agrawal, the founder and chief executive of Collegefeed and former global head of product marketing at Google, penned an article titled Six Reasons Millennials are Actually the Best Workers. The article makes a compelling case for the impressive character and abilities of many millennial employees. Agrawal called it “fashionable” to be down on millennials, and rebuked Gen X for defaming Gen Y. He wrote,
“While many offices struggle to get their workforce to embrace new services like Yammer or Basecamp, millennials have been doing those things for years. They’ve been learning with social classroom tools and chatting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram every waking hour. As a result, they actually conceive of communication in a one-to-many paradigm, which is a huge plus for companies that are spread out globally and interact primarily in a virtual environment.”
Agrawal, who had over 20 years’ experience working with millennials at the writing of the referenced article, effectively made his point that Gen Y individuals can make ideal employees. Their virtual communication/computer skills specifically are a major boon to employers.
It’s conceivable that Generation Y collectively possesses more digital skills than Gen Y and Baby Boomers combined. Rather than trash millennial employees, corporate decision makers need to be seriously considering ways to attract and retain these workers. One way to do this is by investing in a social learning management system (LMS).
Attract and Retain Millennial Employees with LMS Collaborative Learning Features
Many companies are seeking top-talent employees who have a natural bent toward digital communication/literacy. These employers should be making efforts to attract millennials, who almost always possess these abilities, in addition to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. A company leader can effectively draw millennials by ensuring that workplaces are equipped with social learning management systems.
Collaboration is something millennials want to see more of in the workplace. Zach Cutler, contributor to the Huffington Post, wrote, “In a recent survey, nearly half of Millennials employed in the education industry indicated their employers have outdated collaboration practices.” Collaboration matters to Generation Y; eLearning expert Christopher Pappas understands this. He stated, “The millennial generation thrives in social environments. This makes them ideal candidates for collaborative eLearning strategies. Ask them to form a group and complete an online assignment using an online project management platform, such as an online presentation or website.”
Instead of overthinking ways of creating a collaborative company culture, corporate leaders may want to focus on simply implementing a learning management system with collaborative learning features. Social/collaborative learning features such as calendaring, screen sharing, realtime chat, forums, polls, video conferencing, and social media make it easy for millennials to get and stay connected with their coworkers in meaningful ways, which is something most of them truly value.
Because of their extensive knowledge and enjoyment of social media, millennials often crave social interaction in virtual environments. A social learning management system with collaborative learning features can provide the virtual/social environments Generation Y wants.
It will be difficult for a company with outdated or insufficient eLearning technology (or no eLearning technology) to draw and hold onto millennial employees. Employers that implement feature-rich social LMSs will attract these plugged-in workers like bees to honey, and will have a better chance of retaining them.
“In the next 10 years, the workforce will be comprised almost entirely of millennials,” wrote Forbes contributor Ashley Stahl. With this in mind, wise employers will do whatever it takes to make their companies millennial-friendly, including implementing the latest eLearning technology without criticizing Generation Y for desiring it.
Do you feel your company has the eLearning technology and opportunities for collaboration needed to attract millennials?