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Why upskilling could be the secret to attracting and retaining millennials in the workplace

The world of work is changing faster than ever! Join us as we explain how engaging upskilling is the key to attracting and retaining Millennials at work.
Courtney Norton, Content Writer

If there’s one thing we’ve all had to realise over the last few years, it’s that the world is changing faster than ever, whether we like it or not. And the world of work is not exempt 

As a result, no one wants to be caught out and left behind if their workplace hasn’t been able to keep up with these changes. Especially not Millennials. 

With the youngest Millennials turning 26 in 2022 and the oldest of the bunch turning 41 in 2022, Millennials are in a crucial phase of their careers. Many have already established themselves in their career beyond entry- level positions, but they’re certainly not ready to retire just yet. 

They’re well aware of the crucial nature of skill-building in order to keep up with the changing workforce. In fact, a new study conducted by Amazon found that 74% of Millennials and Gen Z are planning to quit their jobs in 2023 due to a lack of skill-building opportunities. That is a staggering statistic and one that workplaces simply cannot afford to ignore. 


Luckily, we’re here to help, talking you through how upskilling is the key to attracting and retaining Millennials at work. Let’s get started.

Why retain millennials

Workplace leaders may be thinking: what’s the point of putting in so much effort to upskill Millennials if they’re just going to leave the company anyway? 

While it is true that Millennials are more likely to jump ship and leave a company if they’re unhappy, if a company’s values of match their own and companies show interest in their professional development, they show even higher levels of loyalty than other generations in the workplace. 

Millennials also tend to be confident in the workplace. They are keen to prove themselves and succeed. What business wouldn’t want employees that are driven to consistently improve? 

Getting their heads in the game

By this point, we know that Millennials are keen to learn new skills and better themselves in the workplace.  

While they do view learning as essential, they’re not asking their workplace leaders to drop absolutely everything to provide a classroom and a fully structured environment in which to learn. However, they do need to be motivated to complete the learning. 

How can workplaces do that in a way that helps Millennial workers shine without taking away from other areas of the business or from workers of other generations? The answers are right under our noses. 

Millennials entered the world during a boom in video game popularity. Older Millennials likely have fond memories of playing Nintendo NES and younger Millennials will remember begging their parents for the latest PlayStation for Christmas. 

Okay, where is this going and what could it possibly have to do with the workplace? 

Millennials’ love for games has extended well beyond their childhoods and, although it may sound strange at first, this love of games can have positive effects on their workplace learning as well. Enter, gamification.  

Whether it be as simple as animated party streamers that go off whenever a learner reaches a certain milestone or a competitive leaderboard, gamifying learning can be an absolute game-changer (get it?) when it comes to motivating Millennial learners. 

Similarly, while Millennials that are happy in the workplace tend to be more dedicated to their role, they are still big fans of good work/life balance. They know that work is important but also value fun. Gamifying learning for Millennials can help bridge the gap between working and having fun. It is possible to have the best of both worlds. 


What role can workplace leaders play in upskilling millennials?

Having learning material available for Millennials to use is an essential step in upskilling that generation. But, remember, it is just that: a single step. There’s a lot more for workplaces to do if they wish to see optimal results from their upskilling. As always, workplace leaders play an essential role. 

Millennials are massive fans of workplace communication. While they value autonomy, they expect frequent communication from leaders. When it comes to workplace learning and development, this could be things like checking in to see what they’re enjoying/not enjoying about the learning they’re completing.  

Another way to help your Millennial workers thrive through communication is by updating them on their progress towards a bigger goal. For example, congratulating them on the completion of a course module before reminding them that they only have X number of modules left until they complete the full certification for that course. By doing this, you’re not only encouraging them to continue and reminding them of how far they’ve come, but also allowing workplace leaders to prove that they really care about the career development and goals of their team members. 


With support from their workplace leaders and content tailored specifically to suit their generation, Millennials are far less likely to be part of the 76% that are planning to change jobs in 2023. In other words, when businesses provide their workers with the opportunity to progress and move in meaningful career directions, it actually prevents them from moving to other companies. It might sound ironic, but it’s true! While upskilling is essential to retaining Millennials at this critical stage of their careers, it’s not just Millennials that benefit from upskilling opportunities. The positive knock-on effects of upskilling can benefit members of all generations in the workplace. 

For more insights into how you can use generational skills to help benefit your workplace overall, subscribe to the Go1 newsletter to stay on top of all the latest L&D trends. Or, you can book a demo today to find out how Go1 can help with your team’s learning needs. 

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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