Rev Up Your On-The-Job Training To Attract And Engage Young Talent

Posted January 7, 2020 by Mark Perna

Robust employee development is the new, must-have perk for Millennial and Gen-Z workers. Mark’s article, “Rev Up Your On-The-Job Training To Attract And Engage Young Talent,” published at on November 12, 2019.

These days, the Why Generation—comprised of Millennials and Gen-Z—is seeking more and more from employers. Sure, they want the perks that everyone else wants, such as good pay and benefits, paid vacation days, and regular raises and promotions. More unique to their generation, they also want world-bettering purpose in their work at a much higher rate than older-gen workers. But what these coveted workers are craving most is this: a company culture with robust on-the-job training.

True to their moniker, the Why Generation is innately curious and inquisitive. While there are formal milestones of graduation and/or program completion in their education, they don’t see learning as something that ends. Instead, they expect to learn, reskill, and ask “Why?” throughout the rest of their working lives. Having grown up in a time of fast-paced technological advances, they recognize the simple truth that there will always be more to learn. With little faith that college will adequately prepare them, today’s young people are looking to employers to provide those training opportunities.

Strategies to up your game in on-the-job training

On-the job training may already be happening organically in your place of employment. It can be formal (in scheduled training sessions, webinars, and the like) or informal (such as a book discussion group). The following strategies can help you take it to the next level with a culture of ongoing professional development that will attract younger workers and keep them engaged.

  • Mentor. It’s the first thing that comes to mind for learning that takes place at work. Companies interested in cultivating young talent should consider formal programs that match new hires (of any age) with more tenured mentors. Even if no formal mentorship programs exist, individuals can intentionally seek a mentor—and be open to mentoring others. Added benefit: often, the mentor can learn from the mentee, too.
  • Outsource itMentoring is great, but there may be skills that your organization needs that no one in the organization is equipped to teach. This is where you hire a professional trainer or bring in some type of outside program to fill that gap. Added benefit: team-building can happen as coworkers learn together.
  • Foster peer-to-peer learning. If it’s impractical to send your entire organization to an external training event, send an individual or small team who can come back and effectively train others on what they just learned. Added benefit: more bang for your training buck and the opportunity for employees to hone leadership skills as they teach and present to others.
  • Offer choices. Employees want to take control of their own professional development, and offering choices in how they can learn is a fantastic way to allow them autonomy while also overseeing the training experience. Added benefit: you’ll gain insight into individual workers’ self-diagnosed strengths and weaknesses.
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Yes, young workers want a lot from their employers. But it works both ways. Click To Tweet

Yes, young workers want a lot from their employers. But it works both ways. Why-Gen workers who show up for the perk of robust employee development will stick around to invest their talents, skills, and creativity back into the company. And companies that stop waiting for qualified workers to come to them and instead start proactively creating a homegrown, skilled workforce will win in the talent race.

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About The Author
Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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