Effective Employee Communication with Millennials

Effective Employee Communication with Millennials


By Josh Beaver, Eastern U.S. Regional Manager

It seems you can’t browse the internet without eventually running into an article about how to successfully manage, communicate and interact with the millennial workforce. In fact, I urge you to simply Google the phrase “communicating with millennials.” Thousands of articles, case studies, white papers, and resources will flood your screen.

But let’s press pause for a second – who exactly is a millennial? A millennial is loosely defined as someone born between 1982 and 1994, meaning that these individuals are currently in their early 20s to mid-30s. It’s estimated that by 2020, the millennial generation (also referred to as Generation Y) will be 50 percent of the workforce. That alone is testament enough to how we must take a closer look at how to communicate with millennials and gain an understanding of their habits and expectations, as well as how they work and live. And having more and more millennials enter the workforce who are taking on leadership roles and being key players in many organizations has required many companies to make adjustments to the more traditional management styles they were previously using.

As with any demographic cohort, a number of unfavorable stereotypes exist to describe millennials and their work habits. Some stereotypical terms that you might often hear to describe millennials are “high maintenance,” “narcissistic,” “lazy,” “entitled” – just to name a few. While these observations may be true in some cases, millennials bring many positives to today’s work environment that should not be overlooked. And there’s no getting around it – companies across industries must adapt management and communication styles in order to work effectively to integrate millennials into our companies’ cultures.

At CN Utility Consulting (CNUC), millennials work on each of our contracts across the country. This requires us to use a broad range of communication techniques that have been proven to be effective. Listed below are several ways to communicate with and convey the appropriate message to today’s employees. A key factor that I’ve come to find important: provide continuous communication to this group, and provide timely feedback.

Motivation is crucial

  • Always set attainable and measurable goals that will motivate and encourage millennials.
  • Review your company’s vision, mission and value statements often – millennials want to feel a part of the organization.

Value the group dynamic

  • Allow employees to form strong working relationships with their colleagues by participating in group settings. Research has shown that they tend to thrive in this environment.
  • When working as a group, remember to involve the entire team in group discussion so each employee’s input is heard. However, a strong sense of individuality is still important to the majority of millennials, so keep both of those points in mind.

Assign projects that will be impactful

  • Assign projects that have the potential to make a noticeable change in the organization.
  • Allow them to be creative and break free of traditional corporate constraints. By deviating from the “tried and true” method, it allows them to make a noticeable difference.
  • Ask for their opinion on company matters and decisions, so that they are continuously involved and engaged.

Provide feedback

  • Millennials have grown accustomed to instant communication, so offer them feedback and constructive criticism quickly and often.
  • Employee reviews can be a helpful tool for millennial employee satisfaction. They may feel overlooked if these aren’t being done by management.
  • Millennials are known to be to the point, so be truthful and honest with them at all times.
  • Recognize them for their positive contributions to the company. Millennials have grown accustomed to a fair amount of praise. 

Choose the appropriate medium for communication

  • Millennials are highly connected, so they prefer management to be available at all times for any issues or questions.
  • Although millennials are open to face-to-face communication, they often prefer written communication.
  • Be brief and do not stray off target when discussing projects and work-related tasks.

Following these techniques should help provide effective ways to manage your millennial employees. By embracing the changing generational dynamic within your organization and being open to new ideas, your organization will thrive well into the future.


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