The effect that Millenials will have on the workplace is still a widely debated topic; but what do we know for sure regarding this demographic that has slowly become the majority among the active workforce.
By 2020, roughly 50% of the American workforce will be Millennials, and that number will jump considerably to 75% by 2025. In an effort to embrace that surge in numbers, companies are evolving away from traditional 9-to-5 schedules, corporate ladders, and workplace structures, and focusing on essential things like culture, flexible work hours, coaching, and mentorship. In this new world, organizations need to be innovative in the way they attract and retain sales talent, as reps are quick to job hop if they are unfulfilled or unable to hit quotas.
The quickest way to crush your reps’ excitement for a new role? Death by PowerPoint, or forcing them to watch monotone video recordings of a person droning on and on about workplace processes. The craving for instant gratification and feedback makes Millennials quick to adapt, change, and learn faster and smarter. Through technology and online resources, they’ve learned to become self-sufficient, creating a workforce of innovators. Younger sales reps move at a quicker pace and want to see results – and success – faster.
After all, the goal is to close deals faster and shorten the sales cycle. And let’s not forget that, increasingly, the people making buying decisions are Millennials as well. Therefore, an organization must offer sales tools that align with this sense of immediacy. It’s valuable to create an onboarding experience that aligns with millennial values so they can become productive members of your workforce more quickly.
How can you modernize your onboarding process to keep new millennial sales reps amped-up, engaged, and ready to start selling faster and more efficiently? It takes more than free beer and foosball. Here’s what actually works.
Communicate your goals
Millennials are famously driven by meaning and purpose. They want to see that their work has an impact on the company as a whole, the team they’re a part of, and the people they serve. That’s why communicating your goals, from the highest 20,000 ft view to individual objectives, matters – it’s all about culture and context. And you need to communicate both in your training if you want them to feel included, engaged and useful.
Your Playbooks™ are a perfect place to provide both the information new reps need to ramp up and the overall direction they need for that context. Many companies are now using knowledge-sharing platforms to collect those insights in one place in the formats that work best (for Millennials, this is bite-sized micro-content and video), so everyone on the team has access to the best stuff right out of the gate.
Support flexibility with technology
Millennial sales reps are accustomed to having information at their fingertips. They also crave the ability to choose when and where they work. With social media channels and chat applications like Snapchat, Kik, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, it’s no wonder flexibility and connectivity have become the new norm for younger reps.
Workplace chat applications such as Slack, which recently surpassed 12 million daily active users, are becoming commonplace to interact with coworkers. The same goes for knowledge sharing platforms where reps can access knowledge and share their own insights side-by-side. There is no longer the need to be continuously plugged in, as mobile applications allow reps to take vital information and resources with them on the go. Technology can simplify the onboarding process and shorten the sales rep’s overall time-to-productivity while being cost-effective in the long term.
Build loyalty with quality learning
The need for training on your organization’s basics, like policies, technologies, products, services, and other crucial organizational knowledge is never going to change, but the way you make that information accessible can. One thing that will help your new sales reps advance faster? Quality learning and development. In fact, 72% of Millennials say they value opportunities to learn new skills and are more likely to value opportunities for career advancement. Invest in their growth and they’ll invest in yours.
Start by connecting them with your top performers and peer mentors, and allow job shadowing to tap into a wealth of on-the-job experience. Even better, augment this process with knowledge sharing that makes tribal knowledge, reading materials, research, sales decks and any company information they need readily available anytime, anywhere. Packaging it as learn-as-you-go, hyper-relevant, and just-in-time learning opportunities will give millennials that instant gratification and make the process more engaging and meaningful.
Not sure where to start? Just ask!
It turns out you have the perfect resources for attracting and keeping Millennial talent – the reps on your team. Ask them what they wish you did during their own onboarding process, or what they’d recommend to newbies on your team given what they know now. Those already-established Millennials are also perfect candidates for peer mentorship and guidance, so use them wisely!
Onboarding is the first introduction to the company your millennial sales rep will experience; therefore, it’s vital to ensure quality learning and engagement that will propel them towards success – and not the exit sign.