They’re here. Generation Y or Millennials are the part of your workforce who were born between 1982 to the early 2000s. According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, “more than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials (adults ages 19 to 35 in 2016). The number of Millennials in the U.S. workforce is expected to grow and it’s estimated that by 2020, they’ll make up fifty percent of the U.S. workforce.
The dramatic increase in the number of younger workers is creating new challenges when it comes to workplace safety training. We’re finding out that one generation does not fit all. Along with Malcom Knowle’s theories about adult learning or andragogy, employers should consider adopting additional strategies to help ensure that this fast-growing segment of the workforce is receiving effective safety education and training.
Tech Up Your Training-Millennials are the first generation of digital natives and they don’t know what the world is like without the internet. In the eyes of the Millennial, education and technology go hand-in-hand. Leverage their use of technology to engage them. Look for opportunities to integrate technology throughout your training. Consider the following when designing and delivering training:
- Use social media apps to share results of small group discussions
- Create and promote online learning
- Provide links to additional resources and training material that can be accessed in real-time
- Use video to demonstrate tasks and provide dramatizations learners can apply to real-life scenarios
- Design content that learners can access on their laptops, tablets or other devices
Say It With Visuals-The old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words, is not lost on the Millennial generation. Using visuals effectively is important in all training. Infographics (pictures with words) are an effective way to get important safety information across quickly.
Frontload the Message-Millennials want to know what is expected from them right away. In the training environment, be sure to clearly communicate to Millennials how the education and training that you’re providing translates directly to their job and job performance. If there are going to be knowledge assessments or evaluations in the training, outline that information up front so the learners know what level of performance is expected of them.
Providing effective safety education and training for all generations is an important employer responsibility. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic or other workplace safety training topics, contact Brenda McGuire, Director of Participant Services.