Our latest Thought Leaders LIVE Webcast was titled “What Millennials Expect From Your Internal Communications Program.” Our featured thought leader was Lauren Mulherrin from partner company bXb Online.
Lauren was born in 1990 and six years later, in first grade, began typing on a computer. Our Generation X host, Steve Boyce, confirmed with Lauren that her first grade typing was, in fact, on a computer. Steve’s childhood, as it turns out, was all about the typewriter.
As the timeline above shows, Lauren, like the rest of her generation, quickly adopted digital tools as they became available: instant messaging, texting, MySpace, Facebook and more.
The goal with our Webcast was to give you (our audience) a direct conduit to a millennial – and to hear how she expects communications to occur as she progresses through her career. I was catching up with Donna Kastner (@DonnaKastner) after the Webcast, who remarked, “It was nice to finally hear about millennial traits FROM a millennial.”
Without further ado, here are five things millennials expect from your internal communications.
Image source: Wikipedia
It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not real on the Internet. Is your Twitter profile picture really you? And what’s the identity of the person who just posted that obscenity-laced “anonymous” comment? Lauren tells us that her generation wants authenticity in your communications with them.
And one way to do that is with video. When your audience is able to see and hear – and importantly, gauge body language and expression – you know it’s authentic. Lose the script and cue cards and that gains an additional level of authenticity. Speak from the heart.
2) Real-time Information
When Lauren wakes up in the morning, her first action is to check notifications on her smartphone, from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She wants information that reaches her in real-time and she wants content that’s timely and fresh. Stale content is worse than stale bread. For digital communications, Lauren recommends that you use online platforms that provide live feeds and personalized alerts. And of course, it needs to run on mobile.
Millennials want a two-way dialog, not a one-way conversation. And they consider email to be somewhat outdated and far from a “dialog.” To be sure, internal communications starts with a series of messages to share with your teams; however, if you ask Lauren, you ought to share, respond and permit a free flow of ideas as you communicate.
Millennials want a sense of belonging and to be part of something larger. During their college years, the feeling of community was self-evident. All too often in the workplace, however, the sense of community may be challenging to find. Lauren proposes that an internal social business platform can help forge communities. She mentioned the use of group chat – and in fact, we saw an example of this play out right within the webcast. Have a look at the dialog that formed around the webcast:
Millennials want a voice. And they want an identity. They want to be recognized for who they are and not just “Employee Number 737120AC2.” Who wants to work where their opinion doesn’t matter or isn’t heard? Nobody. So create internal communications programs that allow employees’ voices to be heard. If you’re being heard, then you feel important.
Lauren closed her Webcast with a quote. It came from Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, who spoke at Lauren’s commencement ceremony. Schmidt spoke of the hyper-connected nature of millennials and called it a blessing:
“People bemoan a generation who grew up living life in front of screens, always connected to something or someone. Those people are wrong. The fact that we are all connected now is a blessing, not a curse, and we can solve many problems in the world as a result.”
Post contributed by Dennis Shiao