Millennials & mobile learning: A love story via smart phone

Want to reach your Millennial employees where they live, work and learn?

Go mobile.

Millennials do love their mobile devices – especially their smart phones.

According to a study by Zogby Analytics on Millennial smart phone usage:

  • 87% of Millennials say that their smart phone never leaves their side.
  • 80% say that the first thing they do in the morning is reach for their smart phone.
  • 91% say having a camera function on their smart phone is important and 87% use it at least one a week – with more than a third (37%) using it daily. More than three in four (76%) who use the camera do so to post pictures and videos on social media.

Millennials’ love affair with their smart phones is good news for smart employers who can transform those mobile devices into a powerful platform for training, team building and onboarding.

It’s called mobile learning.

Mobile learning leverages Millennials preference for mobile communication – and for activities such as social networking which are dependent on mobile devices – to deliver training.  It’s not simply e-learning delivered on a mobile device, but rather learning structured for the unique demands of the mobile experience.  But done right, many of our customers report improved adoption, better knowledge retention and higher engagement.

Mobile learning offers several other advantages for training and onboarding:

  • It requires little or no investment in infrastructure.  Mobile learning is delivered on the devices employees already have: their smart phones and tablets.
  • Millennials expect and prefer to use their personal devices at work. This ties to another trend among Millennials: their desire to “bring your own device” (BYOD) to work. According to a report by CompTIA, nearly two-thirds of Millennials use a personal device at work compared to only a third of Baby Boomers.  Among younger Millennials, the trend is even stronger with six out of ten using a personal device or app for work. The BYOD trend also benefits employers. Employers allowing BYOD report improved productivity, increased engagement and added employee satisfaction.
  • It meets the needs of distributed and virtual teams.  According to Forrester Research, by 2016, 43% of the American workforce will work remotely.  Senior business leaders are embracing the remote workplace model, often based on ad hoc teams assembled around discrete projects.  Since most mobile learning platforms require no new infrastructure and use the devices people already have, it’s easy to include distributed employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors and other non-traditional employees in training, team building and onboarding programs. One additional advantage we’ve found with SkillFitness: our minimal interface design makes translations easy and inexpensive to meet the needs of non-English speaking or international team members.
  • It can aid in retention and recruitment. Mobile learning and onboarding can be an incentive to bring in recruiting Millennial talent. Two-thirds of Millennials assessed their own technology acumen as “cutting edge” or “upper tier”,  according to CompTIA. That means recruiters will need to showcase their company’s tech coolness factor and BYOD flexibility to appeal to these Millennials.  In fact, CompTIA found that three out of four Millennial-aged men considered a potential employer’s level of tech-savvy as a significant factor in choosing to work there.

Onboarding new employees may be one of the most effective uses of mobile learning. Our e-book, “Onboarding Millennials – The 3 ‘Must Have’ Strategies for Recruiting, Training and Retaining Great Millennial New Hires” offers a complete roadmap to designing a mobile-based onboarding program. Click here to download your free copy.



The 3 "Must Have" Strategies for Recruiting, Training and Retaining Great Millennial New Hires

Download Your Free Copy!

Onboarding Millennials: New e-book offers insights into recruiting, training and retaining Millennial new hires

Millennials are the new majority in the workforce.

Is your onboarding program ready for them?

Because boring lectures, endless policy presentations and thick binders of new hire information won’t cut it with this connected, mobile generation.

Despite their numbers, 53% of hiring managers say it is tough to find and recruit new Millennial employees. And once recruited, they can he hard to retain; 58% of Millennials say they’ll leave their current job within the next three years.

Research shows some 47% of turnover happens in the first 90 days on the job, with new employees deciding if their new company is the right fit for them in their first three weeks.

That makes successful onboarding is a key strategy for attracting and keeping Millennial employees.

We’ve gathered the best we’ve learned working with our customers on designing onboarding programs into a free new e-book: Onboarding Millennials: How to Recruit, Train and Retain Great Millennial New Hires.

In the e-book you’ll learn:

  • The 3 “Must Have” strategies for successfully onboarding Millennials;
  • Why coaching is so important to Millennials and how to scale coaching to fit into already busy schedules;
  • Why Millennials choose one company over another and how you can use your onboarding program to swing that decision to your company;
  • How the tips and techniques that make for a successful onboarding program for Millennials also can improve onboarding for everyone joining your organization.

The e-book is free, just click here to download your copy.


New E-Book!


The 3 "Must Have" Strategies for Recruiting, Training and Retaining Great Millennial New Hires

Download Your Free Copy!

Three reasons managers don’t coach (And how microcoaching can help)

Does your organization value coaching?  (HINT: The "correct” answer is almost always yes.)

Does your organization actually do coaching?

The common answer to that question ranges from “maybe” to “not everyone does it” to “probably not well”.

So why is coaching not happening?

When we talk to VPs and Directors about why their managers don’t coach, they say three “reasons” often come up:

  • No time.

  • No skills.

  • No structure.

Let’s dig a little deeper:

  1. No time to coach. This is the #1 reason managers give for not coaching their people as much they should. There’s no question that managers today are buried by incoming texts and emails, virtual and face-to-face meetings, management and stakeholder reports, compliance and regulatory concerns, and customer problems – and sometimes the expectation that they are available 24/7 to solve them. It doesn’t help that one of the reasons a top performer is promoted to manager is that they were good at doing their job – which is often defined as completing more tasks than others. As a new manager they now have even more tasks to perform; so they often respond with what they know best: a heads-down attack on completing as many tasks as possible in a day. But suddenly, the day is done and they realize they still haven’t carved out some time for one of their most important new tasks: coaching their people.

  2. No coaching skills. Why aren’t managers making the time to coach? Many may not know what to do. They may be conflict adverse and delivering bad news or criticism in a constructive way is difficult and uncomfortable. But coaching is a learned skill. Once leadership trains managers, gives them the tools and holds them accountable for coaching, most managers will develop into effective coaches. And leaders often tell us that managers, with practice, often find they are more skilled at coaching than they originally thought.

  3. No structure. Even given the time and willingness to coach, many managers say they don’t have the structure or context to think from when it comes to developing their people. Leadership needs to communicate their expectations about coaching. Managers need to stop confusing weekly or monthly check-in meeting regarding the numbers, on-going projects and activities with coaching. It’s not. But leaders tell us that managers don’t “get it”; they insist they are coaching when in reality they are just managing the day-to-day activities of the business.

In our experience, there are two other factors that contribute to why managers don’t coach:

  • No accountability. Many leaders mention that there are no real metrics to determine if coaching is really happening, and if it is, how effective the coaching is. Just asking direct reports about their manager’s coaching skills often backfires. The direct report tends to over-report the amount and effectiveness of coaching – either out of fear of retaliation by the manager or the fear that they manager actually will start coaching and the employee has neither the time nor desire to be coached!

  • No way to scale. Teams today are increasing virtual, geographically distributed, and organized around projects rather than functional areas. Employee turnover is constant – often driven by Millennials who come to the workplace with very different expectations regarding coaching, work/life boundaries, and workplace tenure. Travel is expensive and time consuming. Some technical solutions for collaboration and communication are available, but most are not designed specifically for coaching and skill development.

Is there a solution to helping managers coach more and coach more effectively?

SkillFitness was founded and is staffed by a team of senior business people that have three traits in common:

  • We have all led large sales, product management, field technical support and customer service teams – often distributed on a global basis;

  • We have all worked in adult education and participated first-hand in using technology to scale education and training solutions in ways that were never before possible;

  • We all wanted to “scratch our own itch”! We were frustrated with our ability to coach our managers and their ability – or inability – to coach their teams.

So we decided to build a better way to coach.

SkillFitness is a video-based, mobile learning platform built to enable rapid skill development though practice and microcoaching.

Microcoaching are coaching sessions conducted 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.

The way SkillFitness works is by having learners view a short, bite-sized video of the concept or skill they want to master on their smart phone or tablet; 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 manager for feedback and coaching.

How does SkillFitness help address the issues around managers not coaching?

  • Time. SkillFitness turns any mobile device into a powerful anytime, anywhere coaching platform. Managers tell us that using SkillFitness allows them and their teams to fit learning and coaching into spare moments in their already busy schedules.

  • Coaching Skills. SkillFitness breaks skill and performance development into small, bite-sized chunks that make sense to both the coach and trainee. The coach only needs to provide feedback on that specific module, making the process of coaching much less overwhelming and much more focused.

  • Structure. SkillFitness is designed around adult learning techniques that are focused on the proven way adults learn best, incorporate coaching and feedback, and produce outcomes and results.

  • Accountability. Built-in dashboards track trainee, manager and team engagement, mastery and effectiveness. You’ll know who is coaching and how good they are at it.

  • Scale. Is SkillFitness right for every coaching situation? Of course not. But coaching can be divided into addressing two broad issues:

    • Personal attributes – these are individual employee issues such level of engagement, interpersonal relationships, and personality conflicts that are often best addressed though one-on-one, individualized coaching.

    • Professional skills – these are job and performance related skills that are often specific to a function and necessary to produce results. Every employee within that function needs to master these skills. In Sales, for example, these skills might include presenting product benefits, countering objections, and techniques for closing the sale.

Sometimes, especially for Millennial employees, coaching is less about skill development and more about aligning the employee’s expectations and desires with the corporate culture.  For example, when onboarding new employees, coaching might include articulating the organization’s mission, exploring how the organization’s values align with personal values, or outlining the employee’s personal aspirations for career development.

SkillFitness allows managers to scale coaching in these areas, freeing up more time for one-on-one coaching where needed.

Microcoaching works to encourage more coaching and better coaching. For teams using SkillFitness, it’s not unusual to see coaching sessions increase from once a month or a couple times a year, to daily or even several times a day. And managers report that the multiple, easily executed coaching sessions improve their coaching skills.

If your managers aren’t coaching, try microcoaching.  Sometimes a little coaching, delivered the right way, goes a long way.

Want to learn more about microlearning and microcoaching? Read our blog post on using microlearning and microcoaching to onboard Millennials.


Schedule your personal, one-on-one, online demo today!

Or contact us to learn more about SkillFitness.

Think small: Microlearning and microcoaching for onboarding Millennials

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.


Schedule your personal, one-on-one, online demo today!

Or contact us to learn more about SkillFitness.

Coaching service people to sell: Improving the sales skills of service & support teams

Fix it fast. Fix it right. Fix it the first time.

That used to be the mantra for a successful field service team.

But these days, a new requirement has been added: while you’re servicing it – sell!

That’s because as many products become increasing commoditized and sales channels more virtual, the service experience offers companies an opportunity differentiate themselves through their service and support offerings. Plus revenue-challenged CFOs are demanding that the service function transform from a cost center to a profit center and produce revenue from service contracts, upsells and add-on recommendations.

That means field and customer service people now must become sales people. And many are not comfortable with that role.

“The thing is, it’s not that tough for service people to develop sales skills,” said Dennis Neitz, founder of SalesFitness Tribe, a Twin Cities-based sales training and coaching firm. “When you think about it, the technical support person already has a relationship with the customer. They may see the customer more than the sales person does and the customer trusts them. They just need to understand the sales process and be comfortable asking for the sale because closing is not that difficult.”

Neitz understands the importance of practice in developing sales skills. He created SalesFitness Tribe to combine his 20+ years of sales and sales training experience with the team building, role play and accountability features offered by the SkillFitness platform.

Participants attend a one or two day seminar and then receive eight weeks of follow-up coaching using the SkillFitness platform. Neitz said service people value the follow-up sessions to learn how to apply sales skills to their specific situations plus the anytime, anywhere access offered by the SkillFitness platform lets them squeeze training into their already busy schedules.

Neitz said service and support people especially like the ability to share their videos and feedback with each other, working as a team to learn how to improve their selling abilities.

“Service people are used to working as a team,” Neitz said. “They are trained to turn to each other for support when they run into a service issue where they don’t have all the knowledge.  They want to support each other so the team learning and communications aspects of SkillFitness have been a huge plus for them."

The SkillFitness training has been especially effective for Millennial generation service people, Neitz said.

“Millennials are good learners and great at solving problems,” Neitz said. “But they often aren’t good at communicating face-to-face and lack personal selling skills. We use SkillFitness to help them practice and to coach them on those skills.”

But despite the appeal of SkillFitness and social learning to Millennials, Neitz said some of his best trainees have been older service and support specialists.

“At my last session I had two service people who were 55 and 60 years old and they were the best students,” Neitz said. “That’s because they had spent their careers developing the attitude that they were going to be the best at whatever it took to service their customers. This was something they needed to learn, so they were going to learn it. It’s easy for anyone to learn to use SkillFitness, they proved you just need to have your purpose for learning the material figured out and then show up and do the work.”


To learn more about SalesFitness Tribe and how they use SkillFitness to teach service and support people how to sell, click here to visit their website.


Schedule your personal, one-on-one, online demo today!

Or contact us to learn more about SkillFitness.