Bridging communications across generations

In an age where the largest, most diverse generation, grown and shaped by technology, has taken over as the majority in the workplace, we begin to ask ourselves, what changes will they mark upon the workforce as we know it?

As a part of this majority, I have often heard the term ‘Millennials’ thrown around.—I’m not going to lie; initially, this didn’t sit well with me. I would often hear it accompanied with ideas of entitlement and the ‘everyone gets a trophy generation’.

Like many, I felt I worked hard to get to where I am professionally and had to fight through many losses in my day, just as, I’m sure previous generations were up against their own barriers. So, possibly driven by my millennial tendencies, I set out to investigate what it really means to be a millennial, and how, most would agree, we are shaping the workforce—for the better.

Based on a study by the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors in 2014 (which sounds official enough, right?), it is concluded that, since the introduction of personal computers to schools in the late 1970’s, technology and innovation has shaped the lives of millennials as their childhood continuously coincided with periods of innovation.

These expectations for creativity and innovation naturally expanded into their own work lives. Millennials grew up with information at their finger-tips. Having open access to a literal ‘world’ of knowledge opened frontiers for technology that appeared unlimited. This instilled what would have been lofty ideas of entrepreneurship and success in another age, we now just see them as the next Mark Zuckerberg or Tim Cook.millennials

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think all of us anticipate having the next breakthrough product, but that doesn’t mean our core values don’t remain the same.

We need a job we can be passionate about, where we feel purpose and drive. Having constantly been connected via instant messaging and/or social networks, millennials value community, family, and creativity in their lives, all brought together by modern-day communication.

Now—the big question—what does this mean to you? Please, let me bridge the divide!

Whether you’re a Generation X employee trying to speak to employees of all ages, or a millennial who has risen to lead other millennials, these messaging tips are going to make you successful. The key information to take away: Everyone loves to be informed.

Have you ever heard anyone complain they wish they hadn’t checked the weather, or been warned of traffic before taking a route? The answer: Of course not! Employees of all generations want to feel engaged in their role, we millennials just CRAVE it!

Tip #1: Be the employee’s first source of company news

Over the years, distractions have literally descended into the palm of everyone’s hand, making it even more important to captivate your employees, and in the platforms that are convenient to them. So, I say, give the people what they want!

Give employees the full story from the corporate perspective with added detail they won’t receive if they are getting their news from the local news channel. You can make the story human and provide explanations that won’t be captured in a 11-minutenews story.

Tip #2: Be where your employees are . . . mobile

Using platforms like Red e App, employees receive the information they crave right to their personal device, making Red e App their next favorite app to compulsively check as they stand in line at the grocery store or pump their gas. The modern need as humans to be constantly entertained does the legwork for you, now it’s just up to you to make the most of these moments!

Tip #3: Be creative and concise!

Think of how many more times they are likely to compulsively read a message if they are entertained by pictures, bold words, and information that directly pertains to their job, benefits, and safety.

Think ‘Buzzfeed’ in these moments. Now, I’m not saying start your own work saga of “Whine About It”, but channel the engagement level that they have developed with bullet points, photographs, and a catchy title! At this point, your message is like a Razzleberry Pie, the name draws you in, but the picture allows it to sell itself.

Tip #4: Ask employees for ideas

Now it’s your turn, you say “Great. We have a service that provides our messaging and we know how to make our messages POP, but what kind of information do we share to make this a worth-while investment?”

The key here is to read the minds of your employees –or use a great messaging service like Red e App to send out a survey– and find out what they would like to hear. Common themes amongst all companies are messages that directly impact the hourly employee . . . such as internal job postings, weekly lunch menus, and holiday calendars, to name a few.

Tip #5: Cultivate your culture and values

However, don’t just stick to the daily grind! Throw in employee spotlight messages for recognition, quizzes about the company with giveaways, and on-site events to mix up the mundane.

Add a funny picture or video, just remember: whatever you do, keep it interesting and consistent. Your employees will come to rely on your messages to keep them informed.

We can conclude: Keep yourself in the palm of your employees hands, and they’ll stay in the palm of yours. Just kidding 😉

Investing in the morale of your employees is an investment into the future of your company, so what are you waiting for? Make it happen, and tell everyone the ‘Millennials’ made you do it!

Send me your communication ideas for bridging generational gaps.

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