It's no secret that millennials are infiltrating the office: They're slated to make up 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2025, according to a recent study from consulting and accountancy firm Deloitte. On average, millennials are smart, ambitious, and remarkably tech savvy, if somewhat more laidback.
It's true that Gen Y attitudes towards work can differ from those of previous generations--often prioritizing fun, friendships, and flexibility in the workplace. Yet some brands have made major marketing faux pas by misunderstanding how millennials operate. The key thing to keep in mind: They're human like everyone else.
Here's how to attract and retain a younger audience or employee:
1. Don't adopt their jargon.
While you may think you're being clever by marketing with language like 'YOLO' and 'Bae,' millenials will probably see right through it. For example, a new parody Twitter account dubbed 'Brands Saying Bae' criticizes companies that try to sound hip, and it's reeled in 7,500 followers in the process, the Wall Street Journal reported. The account's sarcastic tagline: "It's cool when a corporation tweets like a teenager. It makes me want to buy the corporation's products." (Not.)
2. Don't reduce millennials to a stereotype.
Millennials are as diverse as any other generation, so be careful about catering to what you think they want. In April of 2014, McDonald's rebranded its beloved mascot to embody the stereotypical modern hipster: Ronald now sports cargo pants, a vest, and a striped rugby shirt, and is pictured posing in front of an exposed brick wall on the company's corporate news site. The rebrand was met with a barrage of criticism. In Esquire, one commercial producer cited it as a "serial killer's church outfit," and the company's accompanying #RonaldMcDonald hashtag became a platform for Twitter users to express their hatred for McDonald's in general.
3. Don't just throw money at millennial hires.
One third of millennials would prioritize things like device mobility and workplace flexibility over salary when considering a job offer, according to a 2013 survey by the Young Entrepreneur Council. If you want to recruit millennial employees, don't just offer them money: Offer them a job where they can grow.
4. Don't stifle their social media usage.
With their bevy of connections on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, your millenials might just be the key to expanding your company's social media footprint.
Simply said, don't underestimate Generation Y. As parodied in this recent Fast Company video, millennials are people just like everyone else, with an incredible work ethic that can (and will) propel your business forward.