I work with organizations of various sizes. But regardless of the size, I hear a common theme when talking with seasoned C-suite managers:
- “How do you communicate with these young people?”
- “They have no passion.”
- “I can’t get them enthused or engaged with the job.”
These comments often referring to Generation Y or, as they are more commonly known, Millennials.
If this is something you have said or thought about, this is for you! Let’s dive into what this generation really is about and how you can effectively communicate with them.
WHO ARE MILLENNIALS?
Millennials are individuals who were born between 1981 and 1996. Currently, as of January 2022, they are between the ages of 27 and 42.
WHAT HAVE THEY EXPERIENCED?
Now, let’s look at what this generation grew up with!
Millennials were the first to witness and grow up with the transformation of the internet, cell phones, and Tivo.
They witnessed the events and shifts that occurred within our country due to large events like 9/11 and the major school shootings of Columbine and Sandy Hook.
They experienced high school or their young adult lives during the 2008 recession.
Generation Y made a big impact on the election of our first African American president, Obama, and the legalization of gay marriage.
They experienced a lot of change and pivotal moments as children and young adults. And I believe they have a lot of passion because of it all.
MY GENERATION…GEN X
When it comes to seasoned managers making these comments, I am often talking to those of my generation, Generation X.
As someone from Generation X, I remember the days of black and white television, rotary dial phones, and party lines.
With Baby Boomers for parents, I grew up valuing my independence and resourcefulness.
Every generation is going to be different based on their experiences during childhood and adolescence.
I bet your parents or grandparents didn’t understand your generation at that time. Mine sure didn’t!
I mean seriously?! GenX was referred to as slackers! And from my perspective, that is the last thing we were.
So when you look for training organizations to communicate effectively, I encourage you to make sure that training includes how to communicate with ALL people. ALL generations.
TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING WITH GEN Y
So, how do we communicate what we need or want with Millennials?
Their personalities and behaviors are similar to others. But the way you communicate might need to be different than what you once were used to doing.
If you want to connect with your employees, you must learn to meet them where they are in their lives using their mode of communication.
Here are some quick tips for talking to GenY:
- Understand many Millennials prefer to text rather than call. Remember! Age of the cell phone when texting was largely introduced.
- Emails are still good, but won’t be viewed as urgent as text messages.
- Face-to-face conversations are still desired.
- Communication might need to be less formal.
- Connect with them – we all need connection.
- Ask for their thoughts, opinions, and feedback.
- Make clear your expectations of their work.
- Keep things brief – no long, drawn-out explanations are needed.
- Equality, equality, equality. They appreciate fairness in the workplace.
- Guide them in a way that allows them to discover what their passion is at work or discuss what tasks might meet their passions. Then? Help them nurture that! They want to make a difference.
- And for Pete’s sake – do NOT make jokes about their age!
I’d love to know your thoughts on more ways to effectively communicate with Millennials. Reach out to me at [email protected].
Carol Grubbe LLC: Communication Made Simple
Understanding how to communicate with your employees is as simple as knowing their communication style.