Let’s face it, nothing beats face-to-face conversation. And Millennials know it as much as we do. So how is it they got smacked with the myth they’d prefer to be directed via social media, email ––or even less-personal forms of communication, apps like slacker and Whattsapp––for work?
If you’re trying to get somewhere with your Millennial crew by sticking to this myth and trying to be hip-to-the-now, creating slack groups for rostering, or sliding into your PA’s DMs to advise them of your conference next week. Stop it. Now. They don’t want it.
It’s pretty hard to find a Millennial who doesn’t conduct their daily communication via messaging apps or meme, they love the heck out of their phones. But for a social service. Don’t get it mixed up. When it comes to work, our Millennials are craving your face. So don’t get caught up in rumour, there’s no substitute to face to face communication, in any area of life, but far more so, in a work environment.
In my recent study into Australian working Millennials, I was actually a little surprised myself to find out that our Gen Ys want good ol’ fashioned face-to-face from their bosses. But it’s all there in the data, 8 out of 10 Australian Millennials in the workplace prefer face-to-face communication at work. That’s no dribble, that’s a lake.
I should mention, the second favourite form of work communication preferred was email. Followed by text message. And there was a huge jump, and on the bottom of the list our Millennials found work communication via apps Slack and Asana equally as unappealing as messaging apps, Whattsapp, Facebook Messenger. And last on the list was social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
So why aren’t we listening? Did we not get the fax?
All jokes aside, this is not bad news by any stretch. This is actually great news for leaders.
Face-to-face communication will never get old––as long as we keep it in practice.
In case you aren’t sold;
4 good reasons why we should be communicating with our Millennials’ Faces:
1. THEY want it.
Eighty percent of the 1000 Millennials I surveyed recently, when asked for their preferred communication at work, responded with face-to-face on the top of their list. A two-way dialogue with context, tone and authenticity. That’s what our Millennials respond to best.
2. YOU are good at it.
Look, plenty of us are really good at digital communication whether we are digital natives or not. BUT, unless we grew up with smartphone in our hand, it’s more than a given that we know how to communicate better verbally. And when it comes to authentic communication––which is really important for Millennials–– it’s better for us to translate valuable information in a language we’re confident in.
3. Gen Z want it.
Along with my own unique research focused on Generation Y Millennials, I’ve also seen a lot of data around Generation Z (born 1995-2010). A generation who are screaming for face-to-face communication at work, according to various independent studies. Gen Z will very soon make up the greatest part of our workforce, and who will be leading them? Yup. Our Millennials. For this reason alone, it’s integral we create Millennial leaders that are proficient in face- to-face communication.
4. To develop relationships with your people. (Because they want that.)
One of the most important things I learned from my study into Australian Millennials in the workplace is the reasons Millennials quit jobs. Number one on that list was they were unhappy with the relationships with their managers. We really need to be addressing this as leaders. And what better way to better develop relationships than to share a face-space?
Seriously though, it’s no secret that the best way to promote open, authentic and effective communication in the workplace has, and always will be through face-to-face communication, we are human after all. Don’t ever imagine our Millennials think any differently about that.