Five Tips for Effectively Communicating with Younger Employees

By next year, millennials will represent fifty percent of the global workforce. This generation reads, writes and interprets information differently. It’s important to understand the differences in communication styles so conversations will be more relatable. Try these five steps to guide your communications with the younger workforce.

  1. Less Is More

This is the generation who are proficient at communicating in 140 characters or less. The more concise the message, the more likely they are to relate to what you say. Be direct and give enough information for them to understand, but leave out the fluff. A good rule of thumb is to keep conversations quick and pointed. Providing a discussion brief following a conversation can be a helpful tool.

  1. Communication Platform

It is important to understand that face-to-face meetings and conference calls are not always seen as productive time.  Mobile devices are always on so texting, email and social media apps are the preferred communication tool.  The use of collaboration software is an essential tool for work teams today. It makes complex cross-departmental projects much easier to manage and project documentation is readily available. Collaboration tools make teams more productive. Keep in mind that work is often done after hours so take necessary steps to keep communications going after the typical workday.

  1. Casualness

Generally, younger workers are much less formal with their communications. Instead of making a phone call, they prefer a text or email. Understanding their preferences and explaining your expectations will go a long way in setting up a good communication environment. Look at ways you can incorporate dress code changes, remote work, and reduce non-productive meeting time. These changes will improve the overall productivity of your team.

  1. Be Authentic

Don’t try to act “cool” and be someone different to try and fit in with the younger crowd. They will see right past this and you will lose respect.  Participate in after work functions and get to know your co-workers on a personal level. The best approach you can take in developing a work relationship is to be genuine.

  1. Provide Feedback

A crucial communication step that should not be underestimated is providing plenty of feedback.  This can come in the form of recognition, on-going employee reviews, and critiques. During critiques, it is best to be honest and give clear examples. Never use these phrases as they will immediately shut down the conversation,

“When I was your age …”

“This is the way we’ve always done it.”

“Back when I started…”

Communicating with the younger workforce must be done effectively. It needs to stand out among other competing information and capture their attention. Once you have their attention, you have won half the battle.


Contributed by: Amy Noel