How do you communicate with an increasingly overwhelmed, time-poor workforce of Millennials?
Since the rise of social media, the way people consume information has changed hugely based on advances in technology. This means ‘traditional’ ways of communicating internally are no longer good enough particularly when set against a backdrop of increasing numbers of employees becoming disengaged with their employers as outlined in Gallup’s ‘Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis’ which found only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged.
Distributing vital information to employees, such as an organisation’s strategic direction, via email is no longer an effective tool for communication. LinkedIn, twitter, Workplace, Yammer, chatbots, google etc. have entered the corporate world and compete for our attention. It’s clear that HR professionals need to fully understand how to grab people’s attention. They need to know how to spark two-way conversations that drive engagement. And they need to do this as part of an integrated communications strategy.
New rules of engagement
In a digital world where change in business is becoming the norm, a growing proportion of the workforce comprises Millennials. Their thinking is not constrained by old values of loyalty to one company or brand. In fact, a recent survey by PWC indicates that over a quarter of Millennials expect to have six or more employers in their lifetime.
If organisations want employees to be loyal, senior leaders and HR professionals will have to work hard to motivate them. They will have to adopt new rules of engagement of leading, organising, inspiring and managing the millennial workforce. Particularly if Millennials will make up 50% of an organisation’s workforce by 2020.
Millennials expect a productive, engaging, enjoyable work experience particularly in a digital world with increasing transparency. Where they don’t find that positive employee experience they will move on and look for it elsewhere.
To provide such an engaging employee experience, employers need to be experts at communicating. But in a world where messages need to cut through the noise before people comment, like, dislike and make their voices heard, intranets and emails simply lack the necessary edge.
‘Do as they say’
In a world where employees complete annual employee engagement surveys that are a corporate attempt at engagement but organisations don’t act upon their feedback, this is a sure way to disengagement. This is only exacerbated when the same questions appear again one year on from their last input and employees.
To drive loyalty and improve productivity employers need to ensure that they ‘do as they say’, that messages are targeted, relevant and content is personalised and delivered in plain English. Employers need to listen to feedback, integrate it into their communications strategy and truly enable employees to action it. Only then will employers have a chance of providing a platform for genuine engagement where the employee ‘lives and breathes’ the brand.
Gallup says there are six functional changes (The Big Six) that need to happen in the organisational culture to attract and keep millennial talent:
Employees will make better use of visual information than print; and often access information in their own time through mobile devices; such as smartphones, tablets or e-readers. This provides an ideal opportunity to engage with all employees whether they work in the office, from home or off-site; but it’s important that organisation refrain from bombarding employees across multiple platforms and communicate only rarely.
The workforce of millennials
The good news is that, when it comes to engaging Millennials in the workplace; there is a new way of communicating which is not only visual but also very effective. Using user-generated content combined with business-led content; and enabling employees to share this via social walls and photowalls on multiple company platforms; such as web and mobile apps will ensure organisations engage modern audiences. Add video to this and gamification; and you have the recipe for a very attractive and cost-effective corporate communications strategy.
While user-generated content might concern some organisations; who would want to commit workplace suicide when posting inappropriate content to the company platform; which all levels of employees access? In our experience a well-planned communications strategy that has been developed with employees rather than for employees with clearly outlined behavioural goals has always been received with the respect it deserves.
Employee as an advocate
We have developed a new approach to drive employees from momentary engagement – where the employee has an understanding of a business need – to emotional engagement – where the employee is an advocate of the business. By combining rational with emotional thinking when planning a communications strategy; addressing the needs of different employee personas and working with internal communications ambassadors; it is possible to increase motivation, improve productivity and provide a truly engaging employee experience.
In the past this has been difficult to achieve due to budget or technological constraints; or our ability to truly integrate our media channels using each to its best effect. With a mere 13% of the global workforce being engaged; it will be interesting to see who the next shining stars might be of those organisations that are prepared to act promptly!
Have your say and tweet us at #engagingmillennials.
At ClearVoice™ , we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how to engage with your workforce or develop an effective communications strategy, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.