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Employees age between approximately 25 and 34 represent the “Millennial” generation and communication with them is significantly different than with older generations. Research conducted in September 2017 revealed that three quarters of millennials in the UK prefer digital communication to other forms, such as speaking to people! What does this mean for employers?

Digital communication can be used in a variety of ways by an employer. Marketing departments look outwards to the customer using social media, web pages, content marketing, etc. Similar techniques can be used to look towards employees to:

  • increase commitment
  • inform employees
  • provide sources of reference, such as an online employee handbook
  • reduce dependence on external IT support
  • facilitate more effective communication between employees
  • motivate employees
  • facilitate remote working
  • develop a positive employer brand

Realising the potential of your workforce is going to be increasingly dependent on harnessing the skills of millennials to whom technology comes naturally.

To maximise the contribution of this age group it is important to take account of their needs and expectations and also the new patterns of working and skills they may bring to an employer. Technology figures more highly in their lives because they have grown up with it.

It will be important in designing jobs, in recruitment activities, in induction into the workplace and in the methods used for communication. The expectations of this group stem partly from the changing world, particularly the digital world, partly from their life circumstances and the stage they are at in their careers. As their lives change, many millennials will be starting families, so will expectations. But research shows Millennials seek:

  • fulfilling quasi-autonomous roles
  • opportunities for career development
  • work–life balance, though work and life merge due to the effect of technology
  • opportunities for longer periods of time off
  • the quality of the working environment
  • organisational values
  • a need for challenge
  • socially responsible employers
  • reporting to motivating and inspiring managers
  • opportunities to work from home
  • opportunities to use skills in technology to advantage

Playing to these expectations is likely to maximise investment in recruitment, improve retention and increase productivity and creativity.

Malcolm Martin FCIPD

Author Human Resource Practice.

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