Everyone has an opinion about millennials these days. What they’re buying, what they’re killing, why Millennial Pink is a thing… But while the hard evidence supporting these particular opinions varies, we do have some insight into what the millennial workforce values in a workplace. It turns out, Millennials value employers who are willing to invest in them. According to a recent Gallup article, 59% of millennials say opportunities to grow professionally are extremely important to them when applying for a job, compared with 44% of Gen Xers and 41% of Baby Boomers.
What We’re Seeing
Clearly millennials are eager to be done with formal schooling and dive into the workforce, but they’re not ready to stop learning. This is due in part to what appears to be a fundamental shift in what a job means for millennials. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Millennials fundamentally think about their role as a stepping stone and a growth opportunity. … Millennials need to be convinced why and how an organization will help them learn, grow, develop, and further their careers.”
This shift is not just a cultural thing; there’s an economic component too. With the steady upward march of tuition costs, this group must look to their employers, rather than a traditional college or university, to develop their skills.
These demands of the millennial workforce are nothing new to our recruiting team at Virteva. We hear time and again that the number one thing that differentiated us from other companies when candidates were job hunting was our professional development opportunities.
What You Can Do About It
Give your employees opportunity for growth! Whether that means implementing a mentorship program, providing funding for outside training, or establishing a formal internal training program, the important thing is to demonstrate that you value your employees enough to invest in them beyond the transaction of a paycheck.
Here at Virteva, we’ve built professional development into the structure of our business. Our formal professional development program establishes clear learning programs and objectives so that our entry-level employees don’t stay entry-level for long. We’ve even given the program a name that denotes the educational focus of the program: Virteva University.
Virteva University is structured to support both the technical requirements and the soft skills necessary for a career in IT. According to Ashley Haglin, a manager on our Professional Services team, “Something we look for when hiring a ServiceNow engineer or technician is the soft skills: empathy, communication, how to work well with others. With Virteva University, employees will continue to build on these soft skills and the technical skills together at each practitioner level.” This double-sided approach to training makes it easier for candidates from any background to excel in a career at Virteva, provided they have the drive and aptitude to pursue it.
Graduates of Virteva University have been promoted from entry-level positions like a Service Desk Analyst to more advanced roles such as End User Computing Technician, Microsoft Consultants, and Networking Technicians. Over 25% of our ServiceNow team started out at our Service Desk. Through the different program tracks available, employees are trained for the exact skills and requirements we’re looking for in more advanced roles. “Virteva works hard to make sure the topics covered in the disciplines are things that can be directly applied to the products supported at Virteva,” said Eric Vogen, Engineering Manager at Virteva. For the business, this means we have more talent perfectly suited to industry needs. For the employees, it takes the guesswork out of studying on their own.
It’s Good for Business, It’s Good for the Community
As with any investment, there is some risk involved. One reason some businesses shy away from professional development is the fear that after an investment is made in training, these employees will be poached by competitors. While that’s a fair and valid concern in the near-term, it’s important to think long-term as well. When you help grow talent locally, it helps keeps jobs and businesses in the area, which is good for the local economy. Plus, when those well-trained individuals grow and make names for themselves elsewhere, they’re also establishing your business as a source of top talent. Not exactly a bad reputation to have, right?