How to Speak Millennial
Do you ever feel like your communications are just falling on deaf ears? Communicating to a multi-generational workforce can be tricky. It’s essential to understand the workforce YOU have at hand and create your communication strategy around YOUR people.
Most companies are now dealing with 4 major generations ranging from ages 22 through 65+. I know, crazy! To think that each will hear, and more importantly, understand your messages the same way is just not realistic.
Creating communications in print or email is how we’ve historically disseminated messages. It’s easy and familiar. But Millennials speak a different language. And I can assure you it does not include learning from printed materials on the regular. According to a Benz Communications blog post, “Millennials like their content served up like their coffee – fast, highly customized and when and where it’s convenient for them.” Yikes, so true, but how the heck do we as employers contend with that?
To truly engage this group, messages need to be concise and current to even register. Don’t skinny down content so much that important details are missed, but definitely get to the point. Media/digital outlets are preferred methods of hearing and seeing the information – likely not a surprise. It turns out though the majority of your workforce will willingly embrace the change also. And as I’ve always maintained, using multiple communication channels is essential in offering employees a means to self-select their preferred methods of absorbing your message.
Three attention grabbing communication ideas for Millennials (and really all other employees too):
- Personalize, please. This very impactful technique can make a communication directed at a group of thousands, feel personal and important to an individual. Personalizing a communication by using the individual’s name makes the content feel specific to them. Also address employees as “you” (versus he, she or they) as this will immediately provide an element of warmth for the reader.
- No more big words or phrases. Employees do not innately speak benefits. It doesn't matter where you fall in the generational spectrum, benefits are tough to understand and keep straight. Period. Explain common terms – such as deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum in words everyone can understand.
- Benefits are fun too. Well, at least they can be if you let them. This one is big. Benefits don't have to equal boring. There’s no reason why you can’t interject appropriate humor and even a bit of personality into your benefit materials. Play with headlines – the communication will get read if it's eye-catching enough (e.g. Just for the Health of It!). Use pictures or video to drive home a point. Partner with decision support tools like ALEX, by Jellyvision, that were built to wittily educate you about your specific benefit plan offerings.
While Millennials sure have shaken up our workforce (is that such a bad thing?), benefit messaging can get stale too. Challenge yourself and organization to make a few tweaks here and there and be heard again.
- Employee Benefits through the Eyes of Millennials
- Um, I Don’t Get It!?
- Communication - A Year-Round Pastime
- What’s Your Benefits Program Vision Statement?
- Meet People Where They Are
ABOUT THE AUTHOR