(Previously published June 9 in Training Industry magazine) With a continued flood of millennials steadily moving into the job market, it’s estimated that this group will make up a whopping 75 percent of the workforce by the year 2025 and their presence has already become a game changer in the world of HR and training. The latest buzzword ‘liquid training’ is emerging as a real contender in the battle to combat the retention problems of this generation.
So, what’s the big deal? Why should we care about Millennials? Simply put, money. Long gone are the days of Boomers staying with a company for 30 years. This generation fancies variety, autonomy and flexibility with the average tenure with a company lasting only three years. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 2.7 million people quit their job each month.
It’s a fact, employee turnover is costly and disruptive to business. Consider this:
With these sobering statistics, it’s fitting that HR and training managers are focusing their attention on talent development, talent management strategies, and more recently ‘liquid training.’
One of the findings studies have shown is that boredom plays a role in why Millennials choose to leave a job. That is where liquid training comes into play. Liquid training is essentially an intensive on-the-job training and/or mentoring that gives them the opportunity to broaden their skill sets in different geographies and across various disciplines. The idea is that the more they get to engage in variety within their work environment, the more this fosters engagement and loyalty.
For all practical purposes, not every organization will be able to jump head first and full speed ahead into liquid training. The logistics of organizing workers to relocate geographically for 3-6 months at a time is quite an undertaking. However, if the idea of liquid training is appealing, another option would be to focus on allowing workers to be exposed to different disciplines within the organization.
With SharePoint’s unique collaboration features, it makes working across disciplines and geographies a breeze. Here is a few tips to get started:
Mentoring plays a big role in job satisfaction with Millennials. Working with employees on career pathing provides them with a clear idea of where they are now, where they have the ability to go in the future, and what they need to do to get there.
SharePoint MySites are a great tool for this task. Once goals are established an employee can upload this document into their personal MySite where it can then be revisited and revised during the course of their employment. To ensure objectives are met, setting up regular meetings with a mentor as well as specific tasks are done seamlessly within the site. In addition, a MySite allows the ability to post projects currently working on and areas of expertise for others in the organization to see.
Community sites are another great way to promote talent development and to contribute to successful talent management strategies. They enable an open forum for communication so that people can, not only get their questions answered, but share know-how.
For instance, let’s say Sarah Smith who works as an administrative assistant at Good Luck advertising agency meets with her mentor and discusses the possibility of moving into the creative side of the business. Sarah is excited about the possibility and creates a detailed career goal path and uploads it into her SharePoint MySite. She also knows that it’s imperative to keep in regular contact with her mentor so she schedules an ongoing meeting and tasks to achieve along the way.
In addition, she knows that she isn’t limited to just what goes on between her and her mentor. There is a multitude of creative experts she can tap into within the company, so she subscribes to various expert’s SharePoint newsfeeds. SharePoint will even give her suggestions on who to follow based on her email interactions. As she gets more experience working on creative projects, Sarah is able to upload examples of her work on her MySite or even post a blog demonstrating her journey from administrative to creative.
While it may not always be feasible to work in a geographically different location, it is possible to work on various teams within the organization to expand your knowledge base.
Team sites in SharePoint allow for the ultimate in collaboration. Let’s use Sarah again as our example. Sarah works in the San Francisco office of Good Luck advertising agency but she really wants to be a part of a new account they acquired that happens to be located in the New York office.
With SharePoint, Sarah doesn’t have to be excluded. The team in New York can easily add her to the account team site with active directory. Now she has full access to documents, tasks, calendar and discussion board of the project. For instance, if the team is brainstorming slogans for their new client, they can create a shared document that will keep all their ideas. Sarah can then be tasked to come up with five concepts and add them to the document within the team site. Her task is easily synced with her calendar and any questions she may have can be addressed in the discussion board of the site.
As you can see, liquid training is an exciting new concept in the world of HR and it can be easily applied to most situations. As demonstrated, for those who want to ‘test the waters’, SharePoint provides an easy solution to build successful talent management strategies and to expose workers to a variety of disciplines with teams from all around the world.