Does Training Millennials Differ from Training Employees of Other Generations?

In today’s Advisor, we hear from one expert on how best to train Millennials.

“There is a cultural aspect of the times you’ve grown up in,” says Beth N. Carvin, CEO and president of Nobscot Corporation ( With Millennials, “it’s just become much faster paced. Whether it’s because of video games or the Internet, everything moves faster.

“From a training perspective, we have to be aware that we need to keep things very fast paced and active. You cant really just put people in a classroom and say, ‘We’re going to do training,'” Carvin says.

“This is a generation that was not only fast-paced, active, and structure-oriented when growing up, they were active before they hit school,” she says, noting that many were involved in structured activities as preschoolers, and that they tend to be team-oriented.

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Keeping that in mind, Carvin recommends planning training activities that break learners up into groups and, for a full-day training session, for example, planning a series of activities and games that support the learning objectives.

Trainers should provide instruction on the training topic before each activity and allow time for discussion after each activity, she says. “Ask questions that will tie the activity into the learning objective and, that way, it sticks with them for the long term.”

Referring to Millennials as a “trophy generation,” Carvin also suggests incorporating competition and prizes—even small ones—into training to help engage learners and get them laughing and enjoying the training process. Ideally, employees from a mix of generations will complete training together, providing opportunities for them to learn from one another, Carvin says.

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Training activities and games that appeal to Millennials can also help make training stick for employees from other generations.

“If you’re careful with your activities, they should appeal to everyone. The world is fast-paced for all of us. Have them get up and work together. Plan more experiential-type training.”

Why It Matters

  • In the coming months and years, Baby Boomers will be retiring in large numbers, Generation Xers and Yers will become the experienced generation, and Millennials will be entering the workforce.
  • These different generations have grown up under different economic and cultural conditions and thus have different styles and expectations in the workplace.
  • To train such diversity effectively, you need to use all the tools of the trade so you can reach each generation with your safety material.