How to Reach Millennials at Work
The millennial generation has revolutionized communication in the workplace. To be effective in your communication with your millennial employees, it’s ideal to incorporate a variety of technological and interpersonal strategies as millennials value both face-to-face conversation and technological innovation.
By now, most people know that millennials don’t do voicemail, with one famously comparing it to the telegram. Long emails are also frowned upon while text and internal social media platforms are clear winners.
For employers seeking to be effective with this increasingly sizable workforce, here’s how to best engage your millennial workers with strategic communication:
Frequent face-to-face time
An important aspect of effectively engaging your millennial staff is to offer frequent personal feedback. Once or twice a year performance evaluations aren’t enough to keep this generation that was weaned on immediate gratification motivated. While many employers may believe that Generation Y can thrive solely on technology, they would be mistaken.
In fact, millennials place a high value on face-to-face interaction with 55 percent of them saying that interpersonal communication is more important than technological communication in the workplace. So make sure you incorporate frequent face time with your millennial employees as part of your communication strategy.
If you can’t be in the same room, then a videoconference that provides virtual face-time is the next best thing. Both one-on-one meetings and general staff meetings can be conducted via videoconference which is especially important if you’re working with a remote team.
Millennials are more likely than older generations to engage in some form of remote work, with an impressive 85 percent of those polled by FlexJobs responding that they would prefer 100 percent of their work to be remote. To keep in touch with them and maintain their engagement, virtual face-time with videoconference can help establish better relationships and clearer communication.
Millennials text a lot: They send an average of 181 texts per day. They use text messaging to communicate with friends and family, they respond well to text as a marketing platform as well as to employers who recruit them using SMS. Today, devices are woven into the fabric of work and communication with little to no barrier between a personal and professional device.
Texting a millennial is not only acceptable, it’s preferable. If you were planning to call, leave a voicemail or send an email, remember that the chances of engaging your millennial employees is much higher if you reach out to them via text.
Internal social media (ISM)
These platforms offer virtual workplaces that combine productivity features with social networking features. They allow employees to collaborate on projects in a highly interactive way by allowing them to share, edit and comment as well as create new tasks and incorporate to-do lists.
ISM is particularly important to millennials, 77 percent of them felt that “sub-optimal application performance” prevented them from achieving their potential at work. Another 93 percent of whom affirm that modern and optimized programs are among the most important features in the workplace.
Lindsey Pollack, millennial workforce expert, urges employers who enlist these tools in their internal communications strategies to offer trainings on how to use them. One common mistake is assuming that millennials will be able to understand how to use a tool because they’re more technologically adept than other generations: a good training is a must.
Cut the long emails short
A study published in Public Relations Journal about the differences in communication styles between millennials and baby boomers showed that millennials are unlikely to read long emails. One of the study’s participants reported that
“Mass emailing of push communications, they won’t stand for it. They’ll just delete it and ignore it. So it has to be moved to mobile, it’s got to be moved to short messaging, as opposed to long emails.”
By adapting the information you would normally include in an email to a shortened text, a videoconference or a staff meeting, you have a much higher chance of communicating effectively with your millennial staff.
Don’t bother to leave voicemails. Millennials are particularly averse to listening to voicemails and most of them will never even listen to them. Other forms of communication like social media and texting are more likely to get a response. One millennial interviewed by NPR explained that
“I guess I usually just assume that it’s probably not that important if you didn’t text me and you didn’t send me a message on Facebook.”
Leaving a visual voicemail or even a voice recording through text is much more likely to get a response than leaving a voicemail on their phone number.
These channels should help you to build fast and clear communication with your Generation Y employees and, therefore, boost overall productivity.
About the Author
Alexa Lemzy is the customer support manager and blog editor at TextMagic. She is passionate about mobile technologies, communication within business teams, and customer service. You can reach her on Twitter.