Millennials or Generation Y (people born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium) are now the predominant generation in the U.S. labor force as compared to Generation X (Born 1965-1980). The last generation that saw a rise this huge in number were the Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964) who now hold positions in the C-Suite, run departments in companies, and are in charge of recruitment.
Chances are, you might be a Baby Boomer looking for clues as to how to understand Millennials and how to get them to work for you. Boomers always feel like a huge gap exists between them and Gen Y because of the difference in their approach to work especially with communication.
We list down 3 modes of communications and how to utilize them to help in successfully hiring millennials.
1. EMAIL: THE MIDDLE GROUND
Emails have always been the formal approach to communicating with people in and out of the office with regards to discussion of work affairs. Baby boomer have always been partial with formal, open type of communication and prefer detailed information. This is why emails have always been the go-to mode of communication for a number of years in different companies.
But since we are still in the process of hiring, it must be noted that even if studies show how millennials are obsessed with having zero unread messages in their inbox once employed, they never check their emails unless they have to or are told to. This has since always been an issue with Baby Boomers, complaining that millennials always often ignore the emails they send out.
What does this mean?
TIP: During the hiring process, the employers would have to be specific that messages to be relayed upon hiring will be sent via email. When dealing with millennials, never assume that they know you’ll be giving them updates by email. The simplest remedy to this is instructing them to check their email often for news. With clear instructions, millennials now have a reason to go over their emails and give you the prompt reply you deserve.
Millennials haven’t abandoned emails as most Baby Boomers think. It is still considered a necessity for them because they can write paragraphs, have bulleted lists, and play around with formatting. Although you have to remember, for them, emails don’t have the same level of immediacy as compared to text or instant messaging.
2. TEXT: THE MILLENNIAL PREFERRED WAY
Compared to Baby Boomers who are the “show me” generation and don’t like to waste time in relaying information, millennials grew up with technology. They are great multi-taskers and are used to flipping from one mobile application to another. But they prefer communicating by typing away on their handhelds rather than answer phone calls or have face-to-face interaction.
That is why, albeit informal, a text is the best way to immediately relay information to millennials.
Sending and receiving text has been the most prevalent way of communications by Americans under 50. Texting is instantaneous and millennials are able to get well thought out messages out to others immediately. You might have noticed that millennials have an aversion to phone calls and prefer to get messages that they are able to read on their own time and leisure. For them, texting doesn’t take out too much of their time from their daily activities.
Texting is what is more comfortable for them. It gives them the ability to think over their words and be precise about the thoughts they want to convey. Phone calls make they seem less prepared and give them anxiety.
TIP: If you want to get an immediate update from a millennial, texting is the way to go. Make sure you don’t forget to let them know from what company the text is from and the message you want to convey. Texts are read almost immediately as compared to emails and would most likely get an instant reply.
3. PHONE CALLS: THE BABY BOOMER PREFERRED WAY
As mentioned above, Baby Boomers don’t like to waste time communicating and like to avoid lapses in the information they want to convey. So they prefer calling over the phone or have face to face conversations. It saves them time and gets the job done.
Millennials, who are used to being behind the screens and have control over conversations, avoid it like a plague. Calls are only answered if they’re from someone they know. You have to remember that this generation grew up with the introduction of mobile applications, instant messaging, and other instant written forms of communication.
Phone calls equate to something important or an emergency. It gets messages across immediately but millennials think it’s too “time consuming”. They don’t like the fact that they have to go through a few pleasantries, small talk, greetings, and goodbyes before getting to the point. These are things they can all do easily by sending a quick text or email.
You’d be surprised that millennials having anxiety over answering a call is a real thing.
Taking an excerpt from the survey,
“Being in front of a screen since they were born can attribute to people not having the ability to connect effortlessly with others. This particular phenomenon has a name (telephonophobia) and it’s essentially defined by a mental anxiety of interacting with others on the phone. Over four out of five respondents have felt they have to prepare themselves before making a call.”
TIP: But if you really must convey important updates via phone calls, let your millennial recruits know. You could give them the phone number that will be used for calling for them to save. Tell them upfront that your company uses phone calls for immediate updates. When millennials know where the calls are coming from, they are most likely to answer them.
Each mode of communication has their own set of advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you, the recruiters who are also probably Baby Boomers, to choose which would work best and how your company usually does things.
Millennials have always been stereotyped but you’d be surprised at how efficient and hardworking they can be once you change your perception of them. This doesn’t mean Baby Boomers should entirely change their values to match a millennial’s. But instead, for Boomers to adjust their style of communication to match the generation they plan on speaking with.
By doing this, you are encouraging a sense of community. Millennials respond well when mentored properly and would reciprocate the effort the Boomers have put in. Always remember that the important thing here is to listen, remain concise, and relay all the important details. Be consistent and properly convey what mode of communication is expected when hiring millennials.
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