Article

3 Keys to Millennial Training

Dealers are using relatable content, brevity, and new technology to design new training modules for their youngest staffers.

August 2016, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by Tony Troussov - Also by this author

According to various predictions, by 2025, 75% of the U.S. workforce will consist of Millennials. This shift in the employee population requires a new approach to training. Business owners are scrambling to figure out how to revamp their programs to match the expectations of a population that grew up with technology and the Internet. The easy access and sheer abundance of information have combined to create a different type of learner.

Millennials are curious by nature and eager to discover the next steps that will help them advance to the next level of their gamified life. Information overload is not part of this generation’s vocabulary. It is no wonder they are prone to changing tasks up to 27 times per minute — they are accustomed to having multiple sources of information competing for their attention. Good luck trying to keep their attention with an elearning module comprised of PowerPoint slides.

Yes, Millennials see value in training and really want it, but they want to learn on their terms. Let’s explore how dealers are training tomorrow’s managers today.

Get With the Program

There are three forms of training: offsite workshops, onsite coaching and online training. Typically, dealers utilize manufacturer-provided online training for the purposes of product knowledge and certification. This is still an important part of the dealership world. The majority of sales training, however, has traditionally been delivered through workshops or training in the store.

Don’t confuse online product training with online skills training; Millennial employees desire on-demand training for both. To fill the void of skills-based training, some are watching YouTube videos on how to sell more effectively. Unfortunately, this does not contribute to a unified approach.

A learning management system (LMS) platform which hosts online training has been around for a while. The typical LMS site could look static and feel very corporate. The stale, old school content could turn learners off. Today’s learners expect online training to be fun and engaging. They expect to enjoy learning. If each training session is something they have to endure until they can return to their work, it will be less effective. A positive attitude makes trainees more likely to retain the content. They will also be more likely to look for ways to put it into practice.

To get an edge over the competition, your training has to stand out. It must meet the demands of this new generation of employees and the way they want to learn. There are multiple things to consider when you are looking to create or modify your current training offering; here are three ways to turbocharge your online training.

Content Is King.

The first thing to be aware of is that your training has to be relevant. The material must be fresh and applicable to the learner’s job. Millennials are picky about the information they choose to absorb. If it is too boring, you will soon catch them switching to Snapchat.

Help them connect the dots and identify the “Why” behind the content. Your message must provide them with enough information upfront to get them invested in learning new skills. Allow them to move freely within the content and pick their own journey.

Keep it Short.

With all the distractions today’s learners face, utilizing short, “snackable” training modules will help keep their attention and engagement up. The days of 27-minute training videos are over. Your training platform may not be YouTube, and you may not be using analytics or core metrics approach to measure success, but learner engagement must be the top priority.

Focus on short and impactful modules that are under five minutes in length at most. Two to three minutes is best. Too short? Not for them. So break that 27-minute module into six palatable portions and be assured they won’t miss a thing.

Use Current Technology.

It’s time to ditch the PowerPoint presentations and dusty stacks of VHS tapes. At this point, they should seem outdated to any employee. And make sure you use a responsive website to format the modules’ mobile access as well. It is 2016, after all. New employees expect mobile, on-demand training. Easy access and the ability to play and replay your modules will go far with Millennial learners.

The next generation is already beginning to enter the workforce, and more will be coming. If you are not providing an online training solution or continuing to rely on factory training alone, you are going to have trouble attracting and retaining the brightest stars of tomorrow. Use your learning platform as a tool to attract Millennial employees. Make sure you provide on-demand, skill-based training that will increase their engagement, contribute to a more cohesive culture, and improve production.

Tony Troussov is the director of training for Automotive Development Group (ADG). He is an auto retail and finance veteran, a nationally recognized trainer and a frequent speaker at industry events. Contact him at [email protected].

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