You know the statistic: By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts millennials will comprise nearly half of the U.S. workforce. But how prepared is your company to handle the generational shift? Not as well as you’d think, according to Keith Kitani, CEO of employee communications company GuideSpark.
As Kitani notes, there are stale business practices that need to be remixed in order to accommodate how millennials are consuming information. For example, a survey shows almost 50% of millennials don’t bother reading employee handbooks.
“The way I look at it is, how do people start to consume information in the consumer world? It’s a lot more video, mobile phones, and social,” Kitani says. “And if you look at how people are consuming information in the corporate world, it’s still pretty traditional–there’s still the seminars, the manuals, the brochures.”
Kitani pinpoints four areas where your company needs to get up to millennial speed:
“Millennials tend to like much shorter bits of information. Those one hour, two hour seminars just don’t resonate as well–they like to get their information when they want it, how they want it, in short bite-sized chunks.
Many times, companies focus on creating great content but, really, the way it is accessed is just as important. Things like QR codes, text messaging–those are things we’re starting to talk to our customers about. Part of the strategy people need to think about is if they move to a medium like video, how do you make those short and engaging?”
“Targeted messages are more engaging. Let’s talk about a 401K presentations, for example: It doesn’t matter whether you’re about to retire or you’re a millennial entering the workforce, you want to start think about who that person is and how do you create something that’s going to engage them more effectively.
“A person who is about to retire doesn’t need to care about what a 401K is, whereas a millennial, that’s all they need to know. The more employers can start to personalize and target information to their employees will increase engagement, and we’re starting to see trends around that–how employers are putting on their marketing hat on to engage their employees.”
“One of the big trends we’ve seen is in performance management. We’re working with a lot of clients who are starting to rethink the annual review. That’s driven by millennials who are more interested in getting ongoing feedback. Companies have to retrain their managers because a lot of those annual review processes have been ingrained in corporations for so long.”
“Start before they start. The traditional way of thinking is, ‘Hey, you signed–see you in three or four weeks.’ But one of the trends that’s been working well is to start to communicate to that employee right after they sign and have ongoing conversations to integrate the company culture before they start. What we’ve seen with our clients is that they think about the different styles of relationships and how they communicate to their employees: Is it a collegial relationship? Is it a boss/employee relationship?
“People are starting to think of how to create that emotional connection between the employer and the employee as early as possible.”