By Montserrat López, Gabriela Méndez & Gabriela Librado.
Enterprises nowadays are having a big change because they are receiving millennials at work, that implies that they need a different communication than other generations because of their profile, we know it’s difficult and different, so, if you are kind of lost and want to know how to make an effective internal communication with millennials you should check these points.
Let’s start with: What is Generation Y?
The millennial generation it is defined as the people that was born between the 1980´s to 2000´s, these people are the children of the generation of Baby Boomers, for that reason they are sometimes called Echo Boomers. This generation is the first one that was born with technology, their ideologies and lifestyle have changed because of that .
Every generation own its proper characteristics, millennials are no different, according to Neil Howe and William Strauss in their book “Millennials go to college” they have 7 traits that make them different to other generations.
This generation is really confident, they feel sure about their future and what they are doing, most of it inspired by their parents, since they were born, their families made the feel they were fundamental for the society, creating a sense of being special, as they are used to being in the spotlight they demand attention in the same level from anyone. They have grown with tight schedules, meaning they had many activities that made them feel pressured, so they acquired the virtue of multitasking and working in teams, they are team-oriented, they are used to working with several people to achieve a specific goal. As they were raised in a difficult time where security was a priority for their parents they have not created a sense of self sufficiency, all their youth, family solved any problem they had and made them sheltered people, that most of the time needs help from others to solve basic problems.Their minds are configured to seek for the wealth of the world, not for their own, so they became a conventional generation, in which they have a high sense of ethics and are civic minded, following rules and achievement are their motto and they have been practicing since they were born, all the time they are fighting for better grades, extracurricular activities and all specific points that would help them to get to their goals in their adult life in order to make their environment a better place.
As we can see, millennials are a really rare generation that have good and bad points that lead them to be what they are today. For making a brief summary they are mainly known for their great sensibility, flexibility and open-minded but they are also characterized as lazy, having unrealistic professional expectations and being materialistic. For these, it is really important to understand their needs and to know how to make a proper approach and create a good environmental work space to take out the best in them.
Now that you know and understand what is a millennial and their characteristics you are ready to read 10 important points to connect with them. This doesn’t mean that there are no other recommendations or key points to work with them, also that doesn’t mean that every millennial fits to each point, but we feel this is a good start.
Keep it like a tweet
They don’t go to libraries to read extense books to understand a topic, multitasking is their second name and the span for attracting their attention is short, they live in a world where everything is done in a rush, they barely have time to live, eat or even take care of themselves. They don’t waste more of the minimum time needed in any of their activities, mastering the art of sending a meaningful and concise message to them would lead you to have a better communication. They had understood that 140 characters are enough to communicate in an effective way, and even though they are flexible and adapt to situations, they expect that everyone is able to express their need in the same length. Not just for saving time, also because these messages tend to be clear and concise, explaining exactly your point without giving unimportant information that just take time and space in their busy and hurried life.
Make them part
We talked about how special their family made them feel since they were little. Now they are grown ups but they are used to the sense of importance they represent in any situation of their lives, work is not different. They loves to feel part of everything. Being meaningful for their jobs or community is a key point for them. Explaining the impact of their role in the company would help them to understand their purpose inside their workplace, also they would feel inspired, committed and would create a sense of ownership with the company, that would be translated in loyalty. Always make them notice the difference they are creating in their space, they love feedback and counseling of their work. According to Harvard Business Review, they want feedback 50% more than other generations. Acceptance in all areas of their lives creates a sense of stability.
Achievement is a really important point for millennials. Good grades, being the best in the basketball team, getting together with the popular group and some others were little achievements for them when they were in school. Now in work they need to keep this little goal achievements that would keep them motivated. Remember they mostly work because they love what they do, not because of the money they make. An intelligence group study found they prefer to “make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring” They feel the need to reassure their confidence and capability, you can help them giving constant feedback about their job, talk about the good and the bad because they know they are not perfect, they really love to improve their work and keep learning. Talking about their path inside the enterprise is also a tool for you, they would effort, work harder to have a better position and would be a personal goal to obtain a new job with higher hierarchy.
Always be fair
Equality is a value millennials supports, they are concerned for equal rights. they will feel more comfortable if you are fair with all workers no matter their position. Since the beginning they tend to do a lot of question to the employers because they are curious, not only for the product or service that they are going to manage, but they want to know how is the treatment inside the company. So, it’s important to establish a code, think about all the possible problematic situations that might occur in your company, and with your HR team write the possible consequences of transgressing the rules. If you apply the same criteria on each of the employees take for granted that they will feel secure and relax in the workspace. But the situation of fairness doesn’t apply only when breaking the rules, it must be in every action or decision that you are taking. The time for listening to the ideas, and the importance that you give to them must be very likely too, with this millennials feel comfortable and will tend to apport a lot of new ideas to improve the business.
Mobile devices are friends
They spend most of their time with their phones, not meaning a negative way, they know how to use productively any app that is available for them. Use the phone on your favor. It’s more attractive to use a new tool than the traditional ones, they get bored with one-to-one meetings. If you aren’t familiar with the apps for the workplace you can check this article: http://tech.co/11-awesome-apps-for-a-more-efficient-workplace-2013-06
For entering to this digital world you can start with WhatsApp, this mobile application helps you to have a regular communication channel, millennials adopt it as part of their social life, so if you as the employer have constant flow of information through this channel, they will feel closer to you and also they will be more confident whenever they have a doubt. But be careful. WhatsApp is just for you to get used, it’s better to use a platform like Yammer, because with this both, millennials and employers, have a more organized way of communication.
They work better out of schedule, don’t get mad if they keep working and sending mails out of “office hours”. If they choose to work in your company is because they see positive values in what they are doing, so they are committed with your project and they know how to get the best of their abilities. They may not work at the same pace. Be tolerant. They can see the direction that you want them to take, they are able to find different ways to achieve the goals and what may calm you is that the 90% of the time they will contribute with a plus. They take the problem that you gave them and turn it in with a creative solution.
Take them serious
They might be younger than you, but this is not high school. They expect to be taken serious no matter their age. They are as prepared as you are. Respect them and they will respect you. As they defend the criteria of equal rights, they believe that we can learn from anybody. They see their bosses are partners, and expect a relation of friendship, but also of co-working. You are the guide, so never treat them as if they don’t have value, if you hire them it means that you see the potential and trust that their ideas evoke the same big potential.
They like to share a lot about their lives, it’s very probable that they will approach to talk to you about more than work. It’s important to build this bond of trust, if you achieve this goal, take for granted that they will take the business as theirs, taking its values as theirs.
Take them serious means that you have to appraise anything that the are apporting, with this you encourage the sense of belonging. But be careful, it doesn’t mean that you have to take all the ideas that they propose, what you have to do is take the ones that you think are the correct to reach the goals and let them know why the others are not that useful. Doing this constant feedback let them see the path and strengthen the bond.
Charity is the key
Contributing to a greater good is important for them; they want a work that makes an impact in society. Make sure to involve the company in a charity work. “Companies need to build relationships with Millennial employees from the beginning to spark their passions and create opportunities to engage both their professional and personal interests.” (Scott, 2015). Indeed, the article of Millennials Rule at Giving Back shows some results of the Millennial Impact Report at 2014; one of them says that the most of the Millennials surveyed “felt they were working for a company that was making a positive impact on the world… That reflects a high degree of focus on ensuring that your job is consistent with your values.” (Scott, 2015).
Bad news at least.
They prefer good news to get motivated to accept the bad ones. Start with the good ones in order for them to feel they are doing a good work and what they can improve. That means that companies have to learn how to provide feedback to the millennials employees, both good and bad news. “While millennials may crave freedom, they also want to know how they are performing. Being evaluated on specific ideas and execution is critical for development.” (Gasca, 2016).
Specific and clear
They know how to work, but they like to innovate and they may deliver you something different than what you want. Give a specific and clear explanation of what you want. Indeed, in The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey Winning over the next generation of leaders shows an ideal workweek of a Millennial employee that reflects how they want to spend their time at work with specific tasks:
(Figure 14, from Deloitte.)
This generation is demandant and multitasking, so constant adaptations are required for the communication areas. There is usually the stigma that the millennials can only communicate with electronic media, but the companies have to take it as an element a favor to be able to connect in a more direct way with their employees.
Bannon, S., Ford, K., & Meltzer, L. (2011). Understanding Millennials in the Workplace. CPA Journal, 81(11), 61-65.
Coopers, P. (2012). How to manage the millennial staff. Enterprise Innovation, 34-35.
Hershatter, A., & Epstein, M. (2010). Millennials and the World of Work: An Organization and Management Perspective. Journal Of Business & Psychology, 25(2), 211-223. doi:10.1007/s10869-010-9160-y
McKay, Tom. (May 28, 2014). If you are under 30, you are much more interested in a $40K job than a $100K job. April 19, 2017, de MIC Sitio web: https://mic.com/articles/90111/if-you-re-under-30-you-re-much-more-interested-in-a-40k-job-than-a-100k-job#.WQ8ZNnQyy
Rush, Sara. “Hiring Millennials.” Restaurant Business, vol. 114, no. 4, Apr. 2015, p. 17. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=102010968&site=ehost-live.
Varney, Chelsea. (January 17, 2014). Using Social Media for Internal Communications. April 19, 2017, from Brandwatch Web site: https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/internal-communications-a-look-at-the-untold-story-of-marketing/
Willyerd, Karie. (February 27, 2015). Millennials want to be coached at work. April 19, 2017, de Harvard Business Review Sitio web: https://hbr.org/2015/02/millennials-want-to-be-coached-at-work
Mayers, Karen. (10 March, 2010). Millennials in the workplace : A Communication perspective on millennials organizational relationships and performance. Springer , 225-238, 15. 19 April, 2017, De PMC Base de datos.
Goodman, Michel &Hirsch, Peter. (2010). Corporate Communication. USA: Expert.
Scott, R. (2015). Millenials Rule at Giving Back. Forbes, web site: https://www.forbes.com/sites/causeintegration/2015/01/18/need-fundraising-ideas-talk-to-a-millennial/#376662a97d9c
Gasca, P. (2016). How to motivate Millennials, by Millennials. Entrepreneur, web site: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270764
(2016). The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey Winning over the next generation of leaders. Deloitte report PDF file: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-millenial-survey-2016-exec-summary.pdf