Generational differences are apparent in all facets of life, from music, fashion, slang, culture, as well as in learning. Each generation poses a distinct challenge for businesses, as they try to get them involved in company initiatives, and rally behind organizational goals. An example is millennials workplace safety training, which can look vastly different from training methods of old.
According to Pew Research, millennials are currently the largest generation in the U.S labor force, representing over 35% of all workers in the United States. Unsurprisingly, millennials have a different work styles than their predecessors, and companies across the country are having to adapt accordingly.
One of the biggest differences is the way in which millennials learn. A recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine makes it clear that today’s modern workforce no longer wants training, and would rather learn through experience. This creates a serious problem for companies that require safety training.
So how are we supposed to provide millennials workplace safety training when they’re not sold on the concept?
The answer is more complicated than telling these workers to “suck it up,” because within the next seven years, millennials will make up almost 75% of American workers. Stats like these emphasize the importance to find ways to accommodate this new generation, and implement safety training techniques that work for millennials and the generations that follow.
This article will look ways on how millennials workplace safety training can be done efficiently, and how companies can embrace recent changes in technology to help grow their workforce.
Who Are Millennials?
Before we get into ways to provide millennials workplace safety training that may be required by your business, it’s important to understand who this generation is made of, and how they like to work.
For starters, while no exact date range exists, leading researchers define millennials as any individual born between the years of 1981 and 1996. Today, this consists of anyone between the ages of 22 and 37.
While age doesn’t really matter too much in the business sense, it’s been noted countless times by thought leaders, writers, and generation experts that millennials have distinct workplace traits that separate them from their older coworkers. Here’s a brief list taken from MindTickle:
- Millennials are motivated by meaning
- Millennials challenge hierarchical structures
- Millennials want a relationship with their boss
- Millennials are tech savvy
- Millennials are open to change
- Millennials want recognition
- Millennials want to have fun
Knowing and understanding these characteristics may help you establish an effective safety training program for millennials in your organization.
Below are some of our recommendations to get you started.
Make Use of Technology
The use of technology is a no-brainer when designing an effective millennials workplace safety training method for your younger employees. The importance of integrating technology in your safety training regime cannot be emphasized enough.
PowerPoint slides and text manuals are a thing of the past. In order to engage employees, and implement safety training that millennials will respond to, the use of advanced multimedia platforms is imperative. Graphics, animation, video formats, and pictures all constitute successful path for safety training for millennials.
Rather than the outdated method of bringing employees into training workshops, why not bring the training to them?
According to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 80% of millennials sleep with their cellphones besides them. They use their cellphones excessively and obsessively.
Ensuring your safety training system is mobile compatible goes a long way towards ensuring your millennial employees are up to date and actually viewing the training manuals. Mobile training makes it feasible for employees to search specific content, view manuals, complete assessments and most importantly, remember what they’ve read.
Make it Concise
Millennials live in a period where time is short on their hands, and anything that exceeds their limited attention span of 9 seconds , which is less than that of a goldfish.
Training needs to straight-forward and brief. If the training content is long and tedious, they will not retain it for long. Use of advanced multimedia resources makes it easier for employees to absorb and be able to recall information.
Make It Relevant
When creating safety training for millennials, it’s important to stick to material that matters most, cutting out the fluff. To peak their interest, try making the training course material relevant to them. Use images of younger workers, language that resonates with the age group, and scenarios they can relate to.
Taking the time to update the course material and graphics that go along with it will create a safety training program that millennials can connect to and learn from. Tactics like this will be far more effective than showing the same old safety manuals or videos that you’ve been using in your company for the past 30 years.
Although it’s asking a lot to drastically change the way you administer your safety training to your workers, it is important to note that the times and technology are changing quickly. The more changes you make now, the less you’ll have to make down the road.
As technology advances, we’ll also witness changes in the methods to conduct and implement safety training and its expectations. For instance, drastic changes in technology are already here, but will continue to shape how companies conduct their training for years to come.