The Use of Corporate Education to Attract & Retain Millennial Employees

What are millennials and why do they matter? A millennial is someone from the “Millennial Generation”, otherwise referred to as Generation Y; the group who were born sometime between 1980 and 2000. So what’s all the fuss about when it comes to millennials in the workplace? Quite frankly, this generation is what will, and currently is, defining the work culture of the 21st century. They’re ambitious, hard-working, creative and, most importantly, exceptionally familiar and knowledgeable with all-things-tech. Needless to say, millennials are an extremely valuable asset to any workforce.

The next important question is how today’s employers can attract and, of course, retain this valuable generation. Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of company culture to millennials, but are there specific areas which are especially appealing to them?

PwC’s “Millennials at Work” report suggests that opportunities for career progression are by far the most attractive aspect of employment to millennials. For such an ambitious, well-educated generation, it’s not surprising that they want to work in a company where they can grow, progress and thrive in the years to come. As employers, it’s therefore important to ensure that career progression is offered in ways that further provoke interest.

Chart: What's import to millennials?

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Through the development of a learning culture, a message of career progression and development can be communicated effectively, whilst simultaneously benefiting your company. A learning culture encourages employees to grow their knowledge in relation to their current role, but also for their future. In terms of ROI, investing in a learning culture is a win-win scenario. Employees get access to further training, allowing them to achieve the progression they seek in employment. Simultaneously, employers benefit from the extra creativity, motivation, job satisfaction, and additional knowledge that their trained employees possess. Furthermore, employees become more loyal to their employers who are demonstrating an effort to invest in their future.

35% of millennials are said to be attracted to companies who have existing training and development programmes in place. In fact, how well a company supports the personal and professional development of its employees is one of the main criteria for making it into ‘Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For‘ list. Millennials’ high interest and ease-of-use with technology can be incorporated into a company’s learning culture through the introduction of a digital component into employee training and development programmes. This may include the use of online learning modules, e-assessments, webinars or even gamification and micro-learning. The introduction of eLearning boasts numerous positive outcomes for businesses, with e-Learning said to increase employee engagement by 18% as well as reducing costs, providing a higher quality training experience and decreasing employee turnover and absenteeism. It’s not surprising that over 40% of the Fortune 500 companies are currently using some form of educational technology.

Google is the preferred company for business and engineering millennials, ranking as the 1st preference across both industries, even when broken down into separate male and female categories. The Google culture has been perfected over the years, from the development of their super-trendy workspaces with complimentary gym subscriptions, down to the development of core and job-specific courses which are available to each and every one of the company’s employees. Google really “gets it” – they understand what millennials want, and they give them just that. Their success is built on this incredible work culture, something that other organizations can certainly benefit from.

It’s a new era for workplaces worldwide, with millennials driving much change to cultures and strategies of companies. With their undeniable value and potential, the importance of reforming internal structures is crucial for the attraction and retention of millennial employees. The introduction of relevant, engaging training and development programmes can enable organizations to survive and thrive in new-age business environments.

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