Whether you live in an area affected by Hurricane Florence or you’ve only heard about it on the news, there’s no denying that millions of people will have their lives turned upside-down because of this natural disaster. This isn’t the first time the United States has suffered at the hands of Mother Nature in recent years, and millennials are painfully aware of that.
I, a millennial myself, remember discussing 2005’s Hurricane Katrina in my eighth-grade class. Though quite young, we all understood the tragedy that had occurred and the losses that so many people suffered. I—and others my age—grew up in a world that witnessed the Columbine High School Massacre, the September 11 Attacks, the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, the California Wildfires, and so many other travesties in our time.
What Makes Millennials Different?
Growing up with these national tragedies being covered so extensively by the media gives millennials a unique perspective on safety. It can be argued that millennials are more concerned about safety than the previous generations.
Many baby boomers and members of the Silent Generation today have tougher skin and major scarring from old injuries. It’s not that they were reckless; it’s just that the culture of the time was less about safety and more about sucking it up and getting the job done. Millennials are much more likely to pick up a pair of gloves or other personal protective equipment to make a task safer. It's these personality differences between generations that make workplace safety training a unique art.
Whether a hurricane is headed their way or they need to break out the power tools, millennials are sure to be online learning about the safety precautions they should take in an unfamiliar situation. Safety training for millennials isn’t complicated, but there are a couple of things you should know to make the most of your millennial workforce.
Millennials Value Technology
Having grown up with technology everywhere, millennials are natural-born technology experts. Use this to make your safety training program more effective and efficient. This generation of employees will embrace your implementation of technological upgrades, and they might even have a few ideas of their own for you to try.
One of the best types of technology to take advantage of is smartphones. However you’re sending out your safety training information, make it mobile! Millennials will love the compatibility with their phones—a millennial with a smartphone is a well-equipped employee. When you’re thinking about updating your training program or adding to it, keep this in mind.
Tailor Your Content
Millennials don’t necessarily have shorter attention spans than older generations. The key here is that everyone will benefit from smaller chunks of information—concise, separated, and consistent lessons are awesome. Segment your content to fit into a weekly or monthly format for better retention than yearly cram sessions. Millennials will value the efficiency and consistency of a regular safety training schedule, which means they’re much more likely to learn from it.
Segmentation and scheduling are only part of the solution, though. Review your materials to make sure that the information is clear and concise. It’s not worth anyone’s time to sit through a training that’s overly wordy or complicated because the goal is learning and improvement. Don’t make safety education a struggle; make it comprehensible.
Millennials can become some of your best employees if you give them the proper tools. If you really want to help them succeed, keep in mind that they value safety, that technology is an amazing asset, and that efficiency is best. Your safety training for millennials doesn’t have to be overly complicated to be effective; just keep in mind that training needs for a multigenerational workforce have changed over time and you may need to adjust a few practices.