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For a nanosecond not long ago millennials dominated headlines as everyone debated how they’re different from employees of other ages, and what they really needed in the workplace. While the noise has somewhat receded, many companies are replacing talk with meaningful action. I was recently at the SuccessConnect 2015 event in Las Vegas where I heard a fascinating story from Prospect Mortgage about how they’re crafting a corporate culture backed by technologies that appeal to workers born in the 1980s and 1990s.

Prospect Mortgage is one of largest independent residential retail lenders in the United States employing a sizeable number of millennials. In his session entitled, “Crafting a Millennial Solution,” Corey Canaan, National Trainer at Prospect Mortgage, outlined what could serve as a blueprint for learning programs specifically designed to keep millennials happy and productive. Here’s how Canaan described the idea behind the company’s strategy.

“We are all shaped by our experiences in life, and millennials grew up in homes where technology was ever-present. That means a lot for business as it develops the workforce of tomorrow. Millennials are different in a number of ways, and we need to know how to keep them engaged with the best tools. We are committed to the development of our associates, and the investment in the right technology and tools to make them successful. It takes a plan, the right tools and a supportive culture.”

Choices matter most

During his presentation, Canaan drew from the findings of the Oxford Economics Workforce 2020 report, which I’ve been writing about since its 2014 release. I appreciated how he recognized that the report found millennials aren’t as different as many people may think – except in one major area: millennials want feedback 50 percent more often than non-millennials.

The team at Prospect Mortgage likens training millennials to consumer marketing. Canaan said that’s what led to the company’s selection of SuccessFactors as a consumer-grade solution.

“The SuccessFactors Learning Management System (LMS) combined with the power of the cloud has been a cornerstone of our strategy,” said Canaan. “Not only do we conduct all our training in the system, but we also track and report all of our internal events through it as well. Our other business units are actually basing their business decisions based on our detailed reports.”

SuccessFactors LMS reflects the Prospect Mortgage culture of inclusion and diversity, principles the training department lives by every day by designing engaging content like Q&A sessions in courses, sharing best practices, and conducting focus groups to generate great ideas from employees.

As associates learn what they need to know to do their jobs at Prospect Mortgage, they are immersed in a consumer-driven experience that mirrors what they’ve come to expect in all parts of their lives. For example, employees can select from a range of learning modes including instructor-led and self-paced classes. Canaan said that many sessions are offered in multiple formats so if you can’t make it to a classroom, you can attend the webinar or participate in computer-based training modules at your convenience. Course content also encourages web browsing, incorporating real-world search so associates can use Google and other familiar public sources to find information. Employees can also take courses and obtain materials from their mobile devices, whether tablets or smartphones.

Canaan said the constantly evolving learning system is designed to have the infrastructure and support that will grow with the company’s changing business demands. On the horizon are peer reviews of all training content. Prospect Mortgage is proving that one-size-does-not-fit-all when it comes to training the next generation workforce.

Follow me @smgaler

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