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2 min read

How to Communicate with the New Generation of Employees

If you’ve been in the workforce long enough, chances are you can remember a world without emails, internet and cell phones. Perhaps you can even remember a time where employees didn't even have computers.


new generation


As technology has advanced, the way we communicate with one another in the workplace has changed too. Memos placed in a physical in-tray or in a pigeon hole have been replaced by emails. The fax machine is a relic of the past in most companies. Even telephone calls aren’t what they used to be – many conversations have been replaced by instant messages, texts and emails.

Some companies were slow to change and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century where they finally came to terms with advances in technology.

But many companies are also stuck in a bit of a rut now where they rely on the “new” traditional methods of communicating: emails, newsletters and intranet and website content. Perhaps you recognize this from your own workplace?

It’s important to keep up with advances in technology and trends in the corporate communications space, not just because its what your competitors are doing, but also because the demographics of your workforce are shifting.

Millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – account for a large percentage of the workforce. And they aren’t all in junior positions, some of them will be on your management teams.

These digital natives just aren’t all that captivated by more traditional corporate communications efforts.

And if you think the average employee who isn’t a Millennial can be hard to reach out to, the Millennial employee is even more challenging.

Research from Microsoft Canada has found that millennial employees have an attention span that can be as little as eight seconds. They also have the ability to multi-task across three to five screens at once. That’s a lot of competition for your messaging!

How do you ensure that your corporate communications efforts reach this cohort of employees? You need to consider this audience segment when you are devising communications strategies and campaigns, and ensure you not only get the messaging right, but deliver it in ways they’d prefer to receive it.

Our top tips are:

Be honest in your communications with them: Millennials are quite savvy and cynical and will not respond well if they feel they are being deceived through excessive “spin” in your communications.

Keep it brief: Remember you’re dealing with a cohort of employees who can say what they want to say in 140 characters on Twitter. They don’t want to be reading reams of information – otherwise you can expect to get a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) response.

Try different communications channels: Don’t be afraid to innovate. Use blog posts, corporate social media accounts, instant messaging, text messaging, video content, alert notification systems such as DeskAlerts, enterprize social networks and other modern communication channels.

Ask them what they want: Millennials will happily tell you what is working and what isn’t working for them. Ask for their input and suggestions into how you can communicate with them more effectively. There’s nothing like going straight to the source when you’re trying to figure out what to do!

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