The modern office is sometimes prone to clashes as different generations with different expectations and styles try to work together. If you find yourself baffled trying to figure out how to communicate with young employees, you're not the only one. Use these three communication tips to help connect to the Millennial generation on the job.
Widen Your Methods of Communication
While older employees typically shine in the areas of face-to-face and phone communication, they tend to be less comfortable communicating by social media. If you find yourself wondering why your younger employees are staring at their phones all day, the trick is not to ban the use of social media in the office, but to adopt it for your own work-related purposes. Communicate with young employees using the communication methods they prefer. Send a group text to let them know a deadline has been changed. Consider establishing a chat group on LinkedIn or Facebook instead of or in addition to scheduling meetings to discuss a new project. You'll find that instead of being limited to a one hour session around a conference table, the discussion now continues constantly across several days, with new ideas being added and dissected via the chat group. Your younger employees are likely to shine in this environment because it's familiar and comfortable to them.
Drop the Formality
The Millennial generation functions with a great deal of informality compared to their elders. They see no problem wearing jeans to the office or sending off a quick text rather than placing a more formal phone call. To best communicate with young employees, stop insisting on formality when it's not required. Don't call meetings just because it's part of the office routine. Nothing frustrates a Millennial worker more than sitting through a meeting that has no clear purpose. Loosen up on rules that don't lead to greater productivity, but make sure you communicate to your young employees in just what circumstances you want specific rules followed, giving them reasons why. For instance, you might insist on a dress code to be followed when corporate bigwigs are visiting the office.
The Millennial generation are usually open to feedback, actively seeking guidance on the job rather than trying to prove they can handle something on their own. They're used to working in collaborative groups with constant feedback flowing between the group members. Although you may be tempted to view them as being high maintenance, instead use this Millennial tendency to your advantage when you communicate with young employees. Give them plenty of feedback in form of critiques, frequent employee reviews and public recognition to help them feel heard and to keep lines of communication open.
The best communication tip for managing younger workers is to be honest and authentic in all your dealings with them. Be flexible as you communicate with young employees regarding your expectations and feedback, and look forward to seeing them rise to the occasion and shine as employees.
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