Are Millennial Employees Different? Travel Agents Speak Out, Part Three

by Richard D'Ambrosio
Are Millennial Employees Different? Travel Agents Speak Out, Part Three


This is the final article in our three-part series, read part one and part two.

Millennials are different from Baby Boomers and even some GenXers in how they prefer to learn, and what kinds of tools work best for them.

Experts say that as the first generation raised wholly on the Internet and smart phones, Millennials gravitate toward a mix of learning, though agency owners shouldn’t discount their desire to be mentored one-on-one.

“Millennials’ ease with technology means they respond well to a range of digital learning styles and delivery methods, which might include online learning modules, webinars or interactive game-play,” said PricewaterhouseCoopers International in its recently published report, Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace.

“Millennials are tech-savvy and they like having technology woven into their training,” agreed Dr. Mimi Hull, a consultant and speaker to the travel industry. “This may mean providing links and additional online resources that they can access while taking or following their training.”

But Millennials are grounded in the offline world too. Said Bryan Croot, operations manager at VIP Vacations in Bethlehem, PA: “Personally, I benefit from the online certification exams combined with destination visits and tours.”

Mentors and senior executive coaching go a long way
At Tourico Holidays, for example, one of the most popular elements of its three-year-old Travel Academy is the opportunity for Millennials to receive direct feedback and coaching with senior Tourico executives, said global director of recruitment Kieran Le-Petit. “That is one of the biggest driving factors; Millennials want that interaction with the CEO and mentorship with other executives. We fly people in from regions around the world to teach and coach. So our students get to learn from people in management positions who went through the academy,” which is mostly populated with Millennials.

“Millennials want constant praise and feedback,” Hull said. “They appreciate opportunities for coaching throughout a training experience and enjoy having more senior employees in the sessions so they can be mentored by them.”

Millennials also like to learn in groups, both PwC and agency executives told Travel Market Report. “They are innately collaborative and accustomed to learning in teams and by doing. A one-sided lecture is less likely to hold their attention,” PwC said, and “the best training programs will mix classroom instruction, self-directed study, coaching and group learning.”

Tourico both trains and tests in group formats, because it is so effective, Le-Petit said. “We will test more like in a game show format, so it’s on screen, and teams can see their results. It gets a little competitive, and there is a lot of cheering involved.”

Also crucial to Millennials’ learning is the ability to feel free to make mistakes, Le-Petit said. “We have to empower them while they are learning, to explore and take chances with their problem-solving and their answers. Otherwise you run the risk of closing them off. If you lose them, they can’t learn.”

Hull also reminds agency owners that Millennials are a visual generation. “If you’re using PowerPoint, be sure to have pictures, video and infographics,” she said. “Keep it fresh. Keep it fun and keep it interesting.”

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