How to talk to Millenials

millenial conversationNo doubt in any and every leadership class I facilitate the same root question always comes up “Yes but how do I lead Millennials? I don’t even know how to talk to them.”

There in the sentence lies the problem. Two little, itty-bitty letters—don’t talk TO them. Instead, talk WITH them. It’s a conversation that needs to be just that – with them. And it may take you talking with them in ways you haven’t considered before.

Consider this: the traditional way of dumping benefits and policies and strategies onto these talented twenty-somethings is to use pamphlets and handbooks. This just doesn’t work for a group who responds more positively to other communication forms. According to Suzanne Lucas, the Evil HR Lady (who isn’t evil at all) there is a winning formula. Here are some of her tips:

• Consider using video. Millennials are also the YouTube generation. They have their smart phones in hand and are accustomed to learning through video. (Remember, if they are hourly employees you have to pay them for the time spent watching the video, even if they do so from home.)

• Include face-to-face benefits counseling as part of your onboarding process. When you’re 45 and starting your fifth new job, you don’t need an in-depth explanation about how 401(k)s work. When you’re 22 and this is your first real job, you do. Make it an option.

• Add a short summary sheet. In addition to the detailed booklets, consider putting the highlights on one page in bullet point format.

• Put everything on the company intranet. Don’t expect people to keep paper copies hand, or even an emailed copy. By putting your handbook on your company intranet, your employees can find it when needed. Remember to send out a notification when you update any information.

What tips do you have for increasing communication with Millennials?

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