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Training a Company's Youngest Workers

Finding the time and resources to perform workforce training has always been a challenge for companies. When they do put resources and attention to this problem, it generally ends up focusing on leadership training for managers and more experienced employees. What is shocking however, is how little employers spend on training younger employees.

A GeorgetownUniversityCenter on Education and the Workforce report looked at how public and private organizations spend on educating and training the U.S. workforce. What they found out was that of the $1.1 trillion spent annually only 3% of this was on workers aged 24 and younger!

With Baby Boomers retiring and the skills gap in many industries widening, the training and retention of a company’s youngest workers is of paramount importance.

The Millenial and Gen Z generations are independent and entrepreneurial. This means that they are independent self-starters. They have just come out of school, so are primed on how to learn and don’t see it as a burden (like many older workers feel). However, they will not just sit and wait for an annual review for feedback. They want to feel that they are competent and valued in their position and there is a path for them to grow.

Gallup studies reveal that 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job, and 87% rated “professional or career grow and development opportunities” as important to them in a job.

So how best can a company train – and retain – these employees that will be their future?

Connect Them to a Mentor Right from the Start

The mentor/mentee relationship does not have to be a supervisor/report relationship. It can be a seasoned co-worker, or even someone above the supervisor, whose job is to help coach the new employee and help them to acclimate themselves in the organization. This can be a positive experience for both the mentor and mentee – providing new energy for the seasoned employee along with a “champion” for the mentee.

Use Interactive Training Tools (Podcasts, Gamification, Online Videos, etc.)

These younger employees are very tech savvy and have been learning in more interactive ways than any generation before them. Providing a variety of learning approaches will help them retain more information and keep their interest.

Provide Constant Feedback

Younger employees need constructive feedback on a regular basis. They want to know they are growing and progressing and are valuable members of the organization. Annual reviews will just not cut it. Set up weekly, or at least monthly, one-on-one meetings to review their progress, and daily team check-ins to address pressing issues in a timely manner and just keep everyone on the same page.

Personalize Their Career Path Early

Managers need to go beyond just showing their young employees how to do their current job well. They need to show their employees where they can go with the company. Employees just starting out don’t want to get stuck in dead-end jobs. These independent go-getters need to feel that they have a valuable future with their employer.


Older generations might have been ok with waiting to be seen as valuable. They accepted that it was normal to feel ignorant and unskilled in the first weeks or months of a new position. But the Millenial and GenZ generations expect to contribute right from day one. Show them that you respect their contributions and are willing to invest in their future with your company.

By Ann Condon, Marketing Manager

Works Cited:

Millennials Want Jobs to Be Development Opportunities

By Amy Adkins and Brandon Rigoni

June 30, 2016


Why younger employees need training to stay engaged and productive

By BedTimes Staff

December 18, 2017