Workplace Communication and the Millennial Generation

Millennials having conversation in the workplace

People have been talking about how Millennials are changing the modern workplace for a few years now. While some of these stories are positive and some are not, regardless of your opinion of these changes, managers are going to need to make some adjustments for younger workers. Millennials change jobs more frequently than any generation in the past, and if you want to keep the most talented young people with your organization, you are going to need to adapt.

One of the most important changes is going to be to workplace communication. Millennials have different expectations when it comes to feedback and they respond better to different styles of communication. That may require you to simply adjust your feedback system, or you might have to learn more about what is a 360 review, for example.

Below are some of the expectations these young workers have. This piece will also highlight some of the things managers can do to communicate with Millennials in a way that is more effective.

A Different Set of Expectations

In previous generations, it was much more common to work with very little feedback from your manager. As long as you got the job done, everything was considered to be fine. This style of limited feedback is not going to sit well with most Millennials.

The younger people who are currently entering the workforce grew up in an environment where people like parents and teachers played a much closer role in their activities. They are used to receiving feedback more frequently and they want more than just a quarterly or annual review to understand how they are doing.

While factors like recognition and appreciation are likely to be more important to workers from the Millennial generation, it is not really new. In a survey from SHRM, 91% of workers said recognition from management was an important factor in job satisfaction. The difference between Millennials and people from previous generations is that Millennials will be much more likely to leave a job if they feel like they are not getting the recognition they deserve.

Changing the Way You Communicate

The fact is that Millennials already have a significant presence in the modern workforce. According to Pew research, they currently account for more than one-third of all workers, and it won’t be long before they are more than half the labor force. If you haven’t started to make some changes to the way you communicate with these employees, you need to start now.

One obvious solution is to provide more feedback, but it’s also essential to communicate in the right way. For most managers, the first step should be to try to balance the feedback you provide. Don’t limit your feedback to situations that require correction; try to identify the ways in which these employees are doing well and let them know that you recognize and appreciate their efforts.

When you do have cause to give some negative feedback, you need to do more than just let them know that they did something wrong or that they need to improve. A manager needs to explain the problem and tell the employee why they need to change the way they work. Along with that, a manager should provide the employee with solutions. Everyone works differently, so you could even potentially ask the employee for their opinion on the right course of action.

Instead of just pointing out a problem area and providing a solution, you should try to frame the conversation in a way that is to the benefit of the individual. Start by pointing out some of the ways that you like their work and then move to talking about the issue at hand. Explain that they are already a valuable employee, but a few changes could make them even better.

Millennials are similar to workers from previous generations in many ways. They just have some different expectations when it comes to workplace communication. When you change the way you frame conversations with these workers, you will find that they respond well and will be much more committed to the company.

Image Courtesy: PEXELS

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