Whitepaper: the impact of millennials on l&d strategy

Speak First Avatar

13 December 2016
Written by Speak First Linked-in icon


Millennials (those of us born between 1977 and 2000) form a big part of today’s workforce and are expected to make up over 50% of the global workforce by 2020 (PwC).

Over 22% of them say they consider the availability of training and development their number one incentive to choosing a workplace, surpassing financial benefits. Therefore, creating an L&D strategy which is at least somewhat focused on the needs of millennials is crucial to attracting, and retaining, them in your organisation.

In October 2016, Speak First attended the World of Learning conference and exhibition in Birmingham, UK and asked professionals in the HR and L&D industries about their strategies regarding millennials. We asked about the impact they’ve had on their company so far, and what influence they anticipate it will make in the future. 


Do millennials see training and development as part of the employment package, and if so has this influenced L&D strategy?

85% of people who contributed either agreed, or strongly agreed, that millennials do see training and development as part of the employment package. This strongly supports the findings above. 

GraphA very impressive 84% said their strategy has already begun evolving to embrace the developing needs of millennials, with only 16% disagreeing – suggesting there’s still work to be done for some organisations.

In fact, 78% agreed their strategy still has a long way to go to fulfil the needs of millennials, with a further 7% strongly agreeing. Only 14% disagreed, suggesting some individuals feel they’re on-track with evolving their strategies.

With the idea that 22% of millennials value development more than financial reward, does this then suggest that those 78% of companies are gradually tapping in to a market of "rare jewel" employees, offering the same high potential for a fraction of the cost?   A market, which many of the technological and educational developments are attributed to, who prioritise and therefore prefer to receive award in forms of training and long-term personal growth than momentary financial gain? 


What are the risks if you don’t evolve your strategies?


An overwhelming 92% of people strongly agreed, or agreed, that by not embracing flexible and virtual learning that they’ll lose talented people. 90% also said that they risked not attracting the right talented people to their organisation.


Perhaps, we could consider a potential downfall for companies. Typically, due to constant development in those technological, educational, medicinal etc. sectors we look to millennials for new ideas to feed business growth. Without that resource, could we form a correlation to stunted business growth? Does lack of provided training ultimately lead to lack of growth?



Are the changes only positive for attracting and retaining millennials?


Not at all – everyone absolutely strongly agreed, or agreed, that the changes are positive for everyone in their organisation – not just millennials.

 It’s no secret that working culture is no longer a strict suit-and-tie affair. It has evolved into smart casual, flexible working and open plan offices  a culture that is generally considered relatively relaxed. Are we right to assume this is thanks to the rise of millennials in the workplace? Are they introducing a work day structure that celebrates a happy, mindful team and new ideas? A structure subtly dismissive of the typical 9-5?


If you’re in the process of developing your L&D strategies for your organisation, we hope these findings have been helpful for you. Speak First, and the people who contributed, clearly agree that millennials will play a key role going forward. And, without embracing their needs, you run the risk of not attracting – or retaining – the right talented people. It’s also clear that the benefits will potentially reach much wider, with contributors feeling the developments are positive for everyone – not just millennials.


We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you'd like to contribute please get in touch.