The Millennial generation, loosely defined as those born between 1982 and 1994, has been getting increasing attention in the workforce. This makes sense, as they are increasingly taking leadership roles in organizations as older employees retire. In fact, a recent survey by PwC found that by the year 2020, millennials will be 50 percent of the workforce.
According to Roshini Rajkumar, a communication analyst and coach and the author of Communicate That, Your Toolbox for Personal Presence, "Despite earlier reports to the contrary, millennial workers are increasingly recognized as eager, ambitious, and genuinely talented. Because their communication styles, expectations, and even work habits are different from those of other generations, however, integrating millennial employees into your company's culture should be done carefully."
Roshini suggests the following nine tips that will help leaders of all ages communicate successfully with millennials and gain their respect in the process.
1. Keep it brief, but meaningful
Millennials have mastered the art of saying something meaningful in 140 characters or less. The more concise your own message, the more likely they are to relate to or appreciate what you say.
2. At the same time, provide detail
Just because you're concise doesn't mean you should skimp on the important information. Most millennials prefer to receive a detailed plan or instruction before jumping into a project. Present everything they need to know to do the job well, but skip flowery prose.
3. Choose the best medium for communication
Face-to-face meetings and conference calls are not as effective with millennials. Reach the younger generation where they already spend the most time--on their mobile devices. Try an online team portal for collaboration with a mobile app, or get used to Skype.
4. Understand the 24/7 communication cycle
Nontraditional schedules are becoming more common in business, and millennials are prepared to work after they leave the office. Schedule digital communication to keep things moving outside of the 9-5.
5. Communicate the path to career growth
According to a Harris Interactive survey for CareerBuilder, 61 percent of 25-34 year olds surveyed believe they should be promoted within 2-3 years if they're doing a good job. Communicate performance assessments frequently and make sure your younger workers understand their own career path within your organization.
6. Don't condescend or make jokes about age
Millennials want and expect to be taken seriously at work. Respect them, and they'll respect you. And forget the "This is what I was doing when you were born," jokes, which are tiresome and annoying for anyone.
7. Demonstrate fairness in the workplace
Millennials support equality of all kinds. As such, leaders and coworkers must behave in a way that can never be perceived as prejudicial or biased toward or against anyone or any group of people. It's not political correctness as much as it is a genuine concern for equal rights.
8. Commit to a social bottom line
Charitable giving and corporate volunteerism are very important to the millennial generation. Make sure you are communicating your company contribution to the greater good on a regular basis.
9. Most important, nurture their passion
This generation more than any other wants to feel as though their lives and what they do mean something. Use mission-driven terminology to communicate the overall purpose of your company, and their role in achieving those goals.