Quick Summary: Do the 20-somethings in your workforce seem too busy thumbing text messages on their smart phones and updating their Facebook status to focus on important company communications? Learn to speak their language to convey your messages.
Millennial employees were born between 1980 and 2000. They were born connected. According to Claire Raines, author of Connecting Generations: The Sourcebook, the Millennial generation wants to work with the people they click with.
And if you want to “click” with this generation at work, engage them on their terms—with their technology. Understanding the millennial generation will help you craft communications so you can connect with this group.
Know your audience. Millennials are sociable, optimistic, talented, well-educated, influential, and achievement-oriented, Raines says. According to a 2006 Cone Millennial Case Study, 61% of Millennials feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. And they believe that their companies should help them with their altruistic efforts. (And they expect you to communicate this fact to them.)
Understand their expectations. Millennial employees have high expectations, and they’re team players, or at least view themselves as equals on a team. And they want to be enthusiastic participants, according to Raines. Be sure to provide opportunities for them to communicate their ideas.
Empower them to communicate. Millennials don’t want to wait to earn responsibility—so appoint a younger employee to be the company “reporter” and help produce the company e-newsletter. Millennials are natural connectors. Involve them in company communication efforts, and they will shine.
Keep it short and sweet. Blame the immediate nature of technology that Millennials use so readily, but this generation has an instant-message state of mind when communicating inside and outside of the workplace. Employers who vary their message, using texts, instant messages, and email will reach the range of employees. “Acceptance of modern technologies gives employees a sense of connecting to a company with forward momentum and vision,” adds consultant Steven Prentice of Bristall Morgan, Inc.
Keep communication open and inclusive by varying the way you expedite messages.
Talk to younger employees about how they prefer to communicate. Reach out to Millennials by texting and using other short-message tools.
Involve Millennials in your communication plan by giving them responsibility to help with the company e-newsletter, blog, or social networking site.
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