The new generation is here! In 2015, Millennials surpassed GenX and became the largest generation in the US labor force. As the Baby Boomers continue to retire, that number will continue to grow. So why is this important? Well, this young, educated and tech-savvy group is different from all predecessors in some really big ways. Their steady rush into the workforce creates an immediate need for a glimpse into their expectations and professional needs, especially in the onboarding process. Luckily, some experts are well acquainted with the Millennial generation and are happy to share their experience.

NOTE: These answers originally appeared on Quora. Some have been edited for brevity and clarity.

The Qualities of a Millennial

“To summarize…

  • Their brains have adapted to technology = don’t over explain the basics, tell them how you use a software.
  • They try to multitask (and it’s usually a mess) = make strict rules so they can get big projects done
  • They record and share everything = encourage them to share their wins
  • They are rockstar researchers = leverage this skill!
  • They need structure = they need an onboarding process.

Horrible corporate videos are out and easy-to-consume how-to guides are in! Digestible guides that explain a certain process and that a new employee can refer back to are way more useful than a mind-numbing video from the 90s. And that way, the new hire can shadow someone without worrying about recording every detail.” -Kate Dye (@Kateslashrocky), CMO at Tasytt

Typically, Millennials have a great grasp of technology, so even if they are new to the programs you use, introductions should account for the knowledge they already have to save you time and them frustration. Dye suggests how-to guides that allow the new hire to work their own way through new processes.

A great is example of this is Valve’s Handbook, which incorporates company culture with onboarding. Be sure there’s a formal onboarding process in place including a way feedback can be gathered, so you know what part of their training needs more attention and what parts are being grasped. When it comes to a Millennial’s best onboarding experience, Dye determines:

“It’s paperless. Enough said.”

Collaborate, Set Goals & Don’t Rush It

“Learn by doing: …onboarding tasks that are action-based [are] the most effective. A sales rep should shadow a top performer on their next call and take notes on qualifying questions, how objections were handled, and how next steps were closed. An engineer should pair program with their mentor when working on her first bug. A customer success rep should practice delivering a demo to their manager and getting candid feedback on how to improve.

These are all examples of action-based activities that will help Millennials stay engaged during their first few weeks of onboarding.

Set expectations early on: A key defining characteristic of Millennials is that they have very high expectations for their career trajectory. It’s important to understand that they’ll probably want to know on day 1 how they get promoted to the next level and how long it will take to get there.

Longer is better: This is counterintuitive for many Millennials, but longer is better. If you can extend your full-time onboarding to at least 2 or 3 weeks before getting formally into the role, the better for the long-term success of your new hires.” -Ted Blosser (@TedBlosser), Founder at WorkRamp

Millennials might be the first generation to demand a month long onboarding process with mentors and goal alignment, but they aren’t the first to actually benefit. Studies are finding when employees participate in longer onboarding programs, they gain proficiency 34% faster than those in shorter programs. Longer onboarding allows for more on the job training with mentors and the ability to set short and long term goals. This is great news because one mentorship program found that mentees had a 23% higher retention rate than those who didn’t participate. When employees know how their job translates to the company’s success, they are far more motivated to perform and perform well. Unfortunately, 60% of companies don’t set any internal milestones for their new hires, which causes disconnect and could leave employees feeling like they aren’t needed.

It’s more than money.

“Money is not the sole driver anymore. One of the major drivers is satisfaction, among others. Satisfaction that comes from completing a challenge, or doing something truly remarkable (subjective). The lines between work and play are blurring, and most of us aren’t complaining!” -Ankit Sindhi (@ankitsindhi), Digital Marketer at Qustn Tech

That’s right, Millennials want to make money, but it isn’t their top priority:

  • 78% of Millennials want to work for a company that encourages innovation
  • 69% of Millennials believe office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis
  • 74% of Millennials ranked collaborative work environment as an important workplace characteristic
  • Lack of career opportunity is the #1 reason Millennials leave organizations.

A new generation has planted their flag in the world of work and they want to see some updates. Some of these changes can really make a difference to the productivity of your company and its processes. There’s no better place to start than your company’s employee onboarding program. Let Click Boarding give all your new hires a welcoming experience. Take a demo to see what we can do for your team.

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