This post first appeared on IPR Organizational Communication Research Center’s website.
The ongoing debate on engaging millennials now probably has an outcome. The verdict – millennials are just like every other generation1. When we are younger, we value our freedom and space. As we grow older, we become more circumspect about how we conduct ourselves. This applies to all generations. Most research focus on ‘managing’ millennials and their differences. However, there is little attention paid to approaches to communicate ‘with’ this generation.
By 2020, 50% of the world’s workforce2 will consist of millennials. Undoubtedly, with the world of work and workplaces evolving and newer technologies more appealing to the younger generation, there are of course better and simpler ways to communicate. Not just for millennials, but for all generations. Ultimately, it is about preferences and less about the mind-sets of generations. For example, millennials give importance to job security3, unlike otherwise perceived. Also, millennials are working hard4, if not harder than most – again overruling another myth about the generation. Lastly, just 3% of millennials5 are part of the gig economy unlike believed otherwise.
Yes, millennials are more comfortable with current technologies. They are the ‘Facebook’ generation for a good reason. They prefer real-time communication (more often texting) and are keen to pick up the ability present effectively6 and visualize data well. That doesn’t mean they need to be treated with kid gloves. They have a mind of their own and are more often than not, interested to be digital entrepreneurs.