Communication between generations is important for work cohesion.

Speak their language: 4 tips for communicating with millennials

 

The face of workplace communication is changing. Why? Millennials.

As the younger generations enter the workforce, they bring in new perspectives and tools for communication. This can be both good and bad for those of us who have gotten used to traditional workplace comms over the years. While it provides a much-needed communication ‘reboot’, a millennial invasion can be a bit overwhelming.

While it provides a much-needed communication ‘reboot’, a millennial invasion can be a bit overwhelming.

Here are some top tips for learning to communicate effectively with millennials at work.

1. Embrace the tech

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, many millennials tend to be glued to their devices. Sure, this might get annoying around the dinner table, but at work it actually means they’re easier to get a hold of. Next time you want to have a chat with one of the younger employees at work, send them a chat message or video call, as this is likely the best way to get in touch with them.

Millennials are bringing handy tools with them into the workforce, such as unified communications systems and social media – all designed to streamline comms. These solutions are the way of the future, and many businesses are therefore choosing to embrace them.

Millennials and technology go hand-in-hand, even in the workplace.Millennials and technology go hand-in-hand, even in the workplace.

2. Keep it short and simple

If there’s one thing millennials don’t typically have a lot of, it’s patience. Most young employees would prefer to spend their time innovating or working on projects rather than in long meetings or conversations. If you have something you need to communicate, do so efficiently and quickly – they’ll return the favour.

3. Don’t talk down to them

Generations Y and Z have gotten a great deal of flack from the old guard, calling them lazy and entitled. If you expect to build a respectful and cohesive work environment, this condescension shouldn’t enter the building. Chances are, the millennials who are in your business are hard-working individuals who detest that stigma.

It can be easy to patronise or talk down to younger generations, but doing so will only widen the gap. Instead, try to get to know them as individuals and equal contributors to the success of the organisation.

Mutual respect is key to communicating in a multi-generational workplace.Mutual respect is key to communicating in a multi-generational workplace.

4. Support their innovation

There’s an app for everything these days – the majority of those creative ideas have come from the heads of millennials. If your business is growing and looking to stay fresh, embracing the innovation of the younger generations is important. What does this look like in practice?

If your business is growing and looking to stay fresh, embracing the innovation of the younger generations is important.

If a younger employee comes to you with a new idea (even if it’s fairly radical), it’s smart to at least consider it. Not only does it have the possibility to be a big breakthrough for your business, it will make them feel that their creativity is appreciated.

What if I want to get better at communicating?

Good communication is key to a healthy work environment. This is especially true when the employees span decades and all have different ways of interacting. In some cases, it might be helpful – or even necessary – to seek out extra ways you can improve your interpersonal skills.

At ICML, we have a number of leadership training and communication skills training courses designed for personal and professional development. For more information about how you could benefit, reach out to a representative today!


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