When it comes time to onboard Millennial employees, consider a new approach: Think small.

That’s because thinking big – big classroom orientations; big, thick binders of new-hire information; big click-and-forget e-learning programs – won’t cut it with your new Millennial hires.

The last thing you want to do to engage these modern, connected, tech-savvy new hires is to make their first impression of your organization a lecture, a binder or a handbook.

Instead, use microlearning and microcoaching to structure your onboarding program around the ways Millennials want to learn…and learn best.


The Millennials are a generation that has traded texts for textbooks while communicating and learning in 140-character tweets and short YouTube videos. It’s not surprising that they don’t value traditional, long-form training and onboarding techniques. In fact, according to a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, only six percent of Millennials value classroom learning while only five percent see value in e-learning.

The best way to train Millennials may lie in microlearning.

Microlearning is defined as delivering instruction in small learning units or bite-sized pieces of content.  The small learning bites are easy to absorb and are retained better than traditional training methods – where research has shown more than 80 percent of the information is forgotten within a few days or weeks.

Microlearning offers several other advantages for corporate training and onboarding programs:

It’s Easy to Produce. Content is easy to produce and often costs less than standard training programs. Since the content is brief and focused on demonstrating a single concept, topic or skill, video is often an ideal delivery platform. And the video doesn’t need to be expensive to produce. At SkillFitness many of our clients say the best way to reach this YouTube generation is a short, informal video – often shot on a mobile phone and featuring another team member.

It’s Flexible.   Along with video, microlearning can be in the form of a presentation, activity, game, quiz or any other technique that helps people learn.  And, although the microlearning process is powerful enough to stand on its own, it can often complement a traditional classroom learning experience, improving engagement and retention of the content while providing a refresher of the information when the employee needs it.

It Fits Today’s Mobile Lifestyle.  Mobile learning platforms like SkillFitness are designed to deliver micro-learning to almost any mobile device – turning the tablets and smartphones employees already have into a powerful learning platform.  That makes learning and coaching available anytime, anywhere and helps fit learning and coaching into already busy schedules.

While microlearning is a proven teaching technique, it becomes even more effective when combined with the power of practice and feedback through microcoaching.


Like microlearning, microcoaching takes what can be an overwhelming process and breaks it down into small, more effective, chunks.

Microcoaching is completed in very small periods throughout the day, week or month. These brief bits of coaching increase the number of “touches” between the coach and the trainee. And that is the secret to its effectiveness.

Better, More Frequent Coaching. Increasing the frequency of coaching helps build rapport and trust between the coach and trainee. But more importantly, when the micro-coaching session is aligned with content delivered in a specific microlearning session, the coaching becomes very focused and on-point.  Trainees see the feedback as more relevant and that increases their engagement and acceptance of the coaching.

More Coaches = Better Learning.  They way SkillFitness works is by having learners view a short, bite-sized video of the concept or skill they want to master; use the built-in camera on their mobile device to practice and capture a video “selfie” of themselves demonstrating what they’ve learned; and then submit their best attempt to their coach or manager for feedback.  But unlike many mobile learning platforms, SkillFitness also allows learners to share their video with peers and their team for feedback – effectively turning their entire team into coaches.

Fit Coaching into Busy Schedules. The most common excuse managers give for not coaching is that they don’t have the time to coach.  But microcoaching sessions, delivered using the manager’s mobile device, can be conducted easily throughout the day. SkillFitness customers say that microcoaching has changed coaching from something managers might do once a week or once a month into something they can do daily – even with large numbers of direct reports.

Combining microlearning and microcoaching using the SkillFitness platform makes onboarding more engaging and effective for both your new Millennial employees and your organization.  For example, Twin-Cities-based Edina Realty Title used SkillFitness to reduce onboarding time for new title closers by almost 80% while also freeing up their managers from watching every face-to-face role play attempt to only watching and coaching on the trainee’s best video-based attempt.

Want to make your onboarding program more effective and Millennial-friendly? Go micro.


See how Major League Soccer onboards new Millennial sports marketing graduates and transforms them into professional sales people.  Read our blog post on Teaching Millennials to Sell: 6 Tips from Major League Soccer.


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