Q. What do a newsletter, a poster, and an actual letter have in common?
A. They were the cutting edge tools of Internal comms, not that long ago.
They still have a place to be fair, but for the millennial generation, email, instant messaging and social media are more crucial tools to have in your comms kitbag
Born between 1980 and 1995, M's, (the generation previously known as generation Y), are the first generation of curious, tech savvy adults, and they are now firmly embedded in the workplace. To put the time into context, 1995, (the last year an M was born), was the year Forrest Gump won 6 Oscars, The Lion King won 2, and Pulp Fiction won 1. Tragically it was also the year that The Shawshank Redemption was nominated for 7 Oscars, and didn't win any... It does not feel like 23 years ago.
Anyway, back on topic, what should you consider from an Internal Communications perspective, when you're looking to engage and inspire a team of M's?
Well, a good place to start, as always, is to walk a mile in their shoes. What do they want?
1. They want to be heard.
M's have opinions, and they like to share them. They need to be consulted, involved and listened to. Platforms that make user generated content easy to gather and publish are important, and comms that encourage dialogue will always achieve greater levels of engagement.
2. They want a direct line to the top.
The tolerance for corporate spin is low. M's demand honesty and openness, and the ability to talk to the boss directly. Even if an exchange starts with 'well, that told him or her' a business delivering a message and genuinely listening to their audience will enjoy improved engagement levels.
3. They want to multitask.
M's have grown up texting, emailing, snap chatting and watching YouTube all at the same time, so can cope with multiple messages coming via different media. This is different to Generation X before them, and the Baby Boomers before them, who both preferred actual paper in their hands. M's prioritise culture in the workplace too, so companies who are able to articulate their soul throughout their internal comms will already have a distinct advantage.
4. They like written communication.
Short snappy messages, with hyperlinks to follow if a message has more detail. People then opt into the detail as and when they want to. M's like a bit of humour, and engage well with visible media, so add a tone of voice that feels personal rather than a formal one and engagement rates will soar.
5. They are always connected.
Think smartphone. With more and more people connected almost 24/7 through a smartphone, the ability to communicate has never been easier. Don't take the Mickey though...Just because you can send out a company message at 11pm, doesn't mean you always should.
Keep these five simple principles close to your keyboard, and you'll do ok. But you'd better hurry... While M's currently make up 20% of all leadership roles... hot on their heels is Generation Z!
Their younger siblings are coming to a workplace near you, and they're like M's on steroids. Where an M is tech savvy, Gen Z doesn't even remember a time when smartphones and social media didn't exist. They're a bit more cautious as they've grown up in a recession, and they're entering the workplace earlier, as Higher Education costs so much. But that's another post altogether... for another day.
So keep it simple, and keep it snappy. As always, the art is in simplifying complexity, and if you want to talk about taking your internal comms to the next level, click here, and I'll be in touch!
Thanks for reading.