Millennials in the workplace, how do we engage them?


Millennials, those that have grown up in a digital environment.

Millennials have always been connected to the world through the internet and huge platforms. However, they’ve had to cope with smaller incomes and higher debt.

So how do we engage millennials in the workplace, do they need the latest high tech resources, hang out zones, higher incomes or flexible working? Or is it something as simple as gamification?

What is gamification?

It seems everybody wants to play with gamification. The market is currently valued at $6.8b and predicts to reach $40b by 2024 (FinancesOnline). It clearly works, whether that be for operations, education or training.

The aim of gamification is to engage, engage, engage!

By taking on game inspired elements such as decision making, rewards and leaderboards, gamification engages and motivates. Gamification enables learners to experience wins and losses, and the impact of both for behaviour change. Therefore, motivating them to do more, to achieve more.

How does gamification attract millennials?

With millennials growing up in a digital world, simple, interactive and digital concepts make an impression on them. So, with gamification addressing just that, they are bound to like it.

The simple interaction of gamification attracts millennials because it’s what they’ve grown up with. Playing games is in their nature. But, how can you incorporate this into the workplace?

Motivate, engage and inspire

Gamification can be incorporated into your L&D strategy to not only make it more engaging and motivating, but more interesting for millennials. Firstly, gamification allows learners to compete with themselves and others.

There are various ways you can add in an element of competition. Through teamwork, individual points, leaderboards and rewards.

Working in teams shows learners how to effectively communicate and work together. Additionally it brings an element of healthy competition into the workplace. Whilst this is engaging for learners to beat their colleagues, it concretes teamwork skills. A fundamental requirement for many employees.

Adding in elements of points or leaderboards, intrinsically motivates learners to keep improving each time. For every choice learners make, you can award or deduct points. This is a great tool to show learners the effects of their choices, and again to implement the correct behaviours.

Putting learners in the driver’s seat

Millennials have always had an aspect of control right from their fingertips. They can personalise and customise almost anything. From educational courses, professional skills, career paths, processes and products.

“Any study of how to sell to millennials will reveal that you’ve got to give them exactly what they want, give it to them now, and allow them to have total control”
Larry Myler, Forbes

What’s important for your L&D strategy, is that you give millennials these opportunities. By this, it means to allow them to control their learning by giving them options. Analyse where there are gaps within their skills, and give them options of courses or development areas so that they can create their own path.

It can also be helpful to provide elearning courses. With this, it makes learning accessible for everyone. Meaning they can control when and where they learn. This could also provide the opportunity for more efficient, flexible learning. This way, learners won’t feel pressured to complete learning. However, they should feel motivated as they have control.

Visual learning

For digital natives, visuals and interactivity are the norm. It’s important to keep your learning visual, to keep them engaged. Millennials aren’t going to engage with pure literature, they need content which will keep them focused.

Implementing videos into your learning, will be the most beneficial. Millennials have grown up with YouTube tutorials, so what better way to catch their attention, and retain it. If your learning is easily accessible, learners will be able to watch the videos wherever they are.

The great thing about videos, is that they can be paused and rewound as many times as you need. This makes it easier for learners to go back to any points they’ve misunderstood. Additionally, it gives them the sense of control again as they can go back to the learning when it’s best for them.

Gamification for millennials

As millennials are natural gamers and digital natives, gamification seems like an adequate solution to attract millennials in the workplace. As well as benefiting the learner themselves, gamification really works in favour of the managers.

It creates a path for learners to ensure they are always motivated and competing to achieve higher – a bonus for any L&D manager. Additionally, gamification provides room for analytics, to highlight any gaps in their learning. Analytics are also a great tool to point out if learners are ahead of the game, and need a higher level or different levels of learning.

Overall, gamification ticks a lot of boxes. Retention, engagement, motivation, personalisation and control.

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