Here’s a fun fact that many in the business world might not know. The Millennial generation became the largest segment of the workforce in 2016.
Millennials aren’t taking over the workplace. They’ve already taken over.
OK, now here’s a not-so-fun fact. Organizations are still struggling to figure out how to communicate with this huge segment of workers. And that’s a costly problem.
“When a young employee finds that an organization doesn’t communicate the way they’re accustomed to, they can more easily become disengaged and end up leaving,” said Elaine Branding, Senior Vice President, Internal Communications, FleishmanHillard. “Generally, Millennials don’t plan on staying at a place for a long time if they’re not happy. So, don’t stay up-to-date with current communication practices at your own peril. The world will move on and your employees may, too.”
The new guide “Speaking Millennial: Employee Communication for a Changing Workforce” explores this lost-in-translation dynamic and the devastating impact it can have on organizational productivity and profitability. Companies do understand the challenge they’re facing, said Chip Espinoza, author of “Managing the Millennials.” His contention is that they’re just not addressing it adequately.
“The No. 1 question I get about managing Millennials is communication,” Espinoza added. “There’s a sense of frustration because leaders do realize there has been a breakdown. But a lot of the problem gets projected on the young professional. Companies are abdicating their own responsibility to try to fix that. The people with the most responsibility have to be the ones willing to adapt. When leaders don’t do that, there’s failure.”
The guide shines a light on this fundamental issue, which continues to fly mostly under the radar. Highlights include:
- The latest research about Millennial workers from trusted sources such as Gallup, Deloitte, and Gartner
- Communication strategies from industry leaders on how to better engage younger workers
- A closer look at the growing importance of meeting Millennials on their terms
Millennials, according to the Pew Research Center, are people who were born between 1981 and 1996. The theme of the guide is how organizations often expect this block of employees to interact with company information in the same exact way that older generations do. That ignores the reality of how the world has profoundly changed due to advances in technology used in our everyday lives.
For example, mobile devices have become virtual remote controls in how we all view the world through. Sure, that’s true of everyone. But it’s especially the case for younger workers who were raised with digital technology. For example, one study found that 25 percent of Millennials spend at least five hours a day on their smartphones.
So, any employee communication strategy that doesn’t include delivering personalized information to employees wherever they are on those devices is way behind the times. It’s also doomed to failure.
“It can be a culture shock if Millennials find themselves in a really controlled environment for communication and maybe can’t even use their cell phones,” said Cat Graham, Manager Partner of Cheer Partners. “Yes, they may have to learn how to use company authorized tools, but the challenge is also to engage them on those tools. Organizations also should be inviting them to show how things can be done better. This is an opportunity for Millennials to reverse mentor communication trends because they are much closer to the pulse of technology changes.”
Millennials already are a dominant force inside organizations today. But if companies don’t connect with them in the way they want, something else will happen.
They will be walking right back out the door.
The new guide “Speaking Millennial: Employee Communication for a Changing Workforce” examines how organizations can better connect with the fastest-growing segment of their workers. Download the guide here.