Millennial Onboarding – Four Core Features Your Technology Must Have

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, millennials became the largest share of the American workforce. Of course, most HR professionals saw this coming. Much has been written in recent years about the rise of millennial workers and their importance in filling the gap left by retiring baby boomers with recruitment and retention topping the list of priorities in HR departments everywhere. An effective millennial onboarding process is key. 

The question is why? With a workforce more than 53 million strong, there are surely plenty of them out there. Yet companies everywhere are still finding it hard to attract the millennial workers they need. And, when they do, they often arrive with less experience making getting them up to speed quickly and then willing to hang around the next big challenges.

Part of the problem is that companies today are competing not only with each other but also the unusually high entrepreneurial aspirations of this generation. According to the UBS Global Millennial Study, 80 percent of millennials have either already started their own business or believe they will. So, statistically speaking, for every 10 millennials you hire, only two are likely to stay. And for how long?

In its 2017 Millennial Survey, Deloitte found that although 44 percent of millennials want to leave their present employer in the next two years, almost two thirds of them said they still prefer full-time employment. These results are encouraging because they suggest that companies that understand the needs and expectations of this generation of workers and adapt in order to meet them stand to retain their millennial employees longer – maybe even enough to reap the rewards of their investment in them.  

The First Step is to Get Your Millennial Onboarding Right

Companies not only have to make their jobs more attractive to millennials, but they have to improve their onboarding to keep from losing them out of the gate. While some of the statistics we’ve provided here might seem discouraging, our intention is to sound a call to action – to take a fresh look at your onboarding processes to align them more closely with what millennials need and want.

Effective onboarding plays a crucial role in retaining millennial workers. The most obvious reason for making it a priority is that without it, your turnover costs will be much higher than they need to be. A recent study by Gallup estimated that millennial turnover costs U.S. companies more than $30 billion each year. According to the Career Network’s survey of hundreds of HR professionals across several industries – The Cost of Millennial Retention Study87 percent reported that replacing a single millennial employee can cost from $15,000 – $25,000.

There are of course additional costs that while harder to quantify, undoubtedly impact corporate performance. These include an increased workload and stress on the employees that remain and the time it can take to find a replacement – 56 percent of the employers surveyed said it can take up to seven weeks to hire a fully productive millennial in a new role. These numbers make a very strong case for the importance of good onboarding.

How to Retain Your Millennial Workers From Day One Forward

With our tech-savvy millennial workforce, technology has become an indispensible resource for delivering a successful onboarding experience and training that improves performance. Companies interested in adopting onboarding and learning technologies should look for solutions with features that will help them meet their needs. Here are four needs that we believe top the list of what your millennials are looking for when they come on board with your company:  

  • A sense of belonging

According to the Career Network study, one of the most important factors influencing an employee’s decision to stay is whether or not he/she feels the company offers a “good cultural fit”. Using an onboarding and training technology that includes social engagement features can help new employees quickly learn about the company culture they are a part of. It can also make it easier for them to make connections within the workplace fostering a stronger sense of community and their belonging within it.  

  • Guidance and feedback from their managers

With many millennials coming on board with less experience than those who came before them, providing more frequent guidance and feedback when it’s needed is critical. Your millennial workers will welcome this. According to the Gallup study, 60 percent of those surveyed said the quality of their managers is extremely important to them, leading the authors to recommend setting up mentoring relationships between managers and their new employees. The right learning technology can facilitate these relationships by allowing employees to more easily request and receive valuable and timely feedback no matter where they are located by allowing them to record video of themselves practicing, for example, a sales pitch, that can be automatically delivered to their managers for review.

Technology can also make it easier for managers to see when and where their guidance is needed with features that help them track the progress of their new employees. Tracking features help managers to identify more specifically the types of learning their employees need and the most appropriate training sequence they should follow. Such features not only allow to automatically develop individualized training programs for each of their employees, it gives managers the ability to offer instant feedback and support when needed.

  • Training that is immediately available and relevant

While development continues to be a top factor in retaining millennials, most of them feel they are not getting opportunities to learn. An onboarding process powered by just-in-time training (JITT) technology can offer them the learning they crave right out of the gate.

With JITT, they can access the learning they need at the precise time they need it, increasing their skills, confidence and on-the-job performance. Given a generation of millennial workers who are always weighing their options combined with the high cost of replacing them, companies can no longer afford to subject their new employees to lengthy training programs that are often not immediately relevant to the job at hand. Your millennial new hires do not want to be bored – they want to learn by doing and when doing, they want to find answers to their questions fast. Technology that offers JITT meets this need by providing easy access to up-to-date microlearning content.

  • Training tailored to their individual needs

Technologies that combine machine learning with JITT offer companies unprecedented ability to connect the training they provide with individual performance.

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that uses algorithms and logic to find patterns in the data and then uses those patterns to make predictions. As the patterns change, the predictions change. Using a platform that includes both JITT and ML can have a significant impact on engagement because it challenges millennial workers to continuously improve, which can lead to the rewards and recognition that many of them are looking for in the workplace.

With technology that offers machine learning capabilities, as new employees move through the onboarding process and complete more of their training, the data they provide informs the model, making the results increasingly accurate.

By analyzing the individual employees’ training data such as the types of content they are consuming and where they are struggling combined with the individualized results of your predictive model, you can gain deeper insights that allow you to create more effective training experiences tailored to the unique needs of each employee. The result is a system that learns as your employees learn – an intelligent system that can keep up with their individual and evolving development needs.  

Smart Technology is the Key to Successful Onboarding

Not so long ago, learning technologies were still a novel thing for most HR departments. Of course, that has changed and changed very quickly due in no small part to the demands of the millennial workforce – a generation of workers for whom technology is integrated into most every aspect of life. Study after study has shown that technology plays a vital role in attracting, engaging and retaining millennial workers, and we believe the role it plays in onboarding cannot be overstated.

Enhancing your company’s millennial onboarding experience with smart technology that engages them quickly and meets their needs for belonging, individualized training, and timely guidance will help you keep them longer – significantly reducing tangible and intangible costs of turnover for your company.

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