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'MILLENNIAL IC MANAGERS WILL BRING OPENMINDEDNESS TO COMMS'

21st November 2019

Humans become less brave with age, so it’s important that we listen to the younger generation. That means today’s internal comms managers listening to millennial colleagues.

LAKSHMI WOODINGS


There is a common misconception that millennials are lazy and want to climb the career ladder with little effort. That’s not true.

Some want to progress quickly, but I think that’s because we’re competitive. Personally, I think it takes six months to find your feet and that it’s better to stay in one place and build experience than to job hop.

I’m looking for opportunities to progress and where the work is challenging. As a woman, it’s important that I work I somewhere I will be valued and not looked down on because of my gender.


Making voices heard

Millennials are open-minded and accepting – and that’s thanks to the work of older generations, through their campaigns on racial equality, gay rights, women’s rights and so on. Millennials didn’t start that, but we are paving the way for more people to make their voices heard.

Through social media, we know we can say what we feel, disagree, fight for something or incite change without the fear of prosecution that past generations have experienced. That is a positive change that’s rubbing off on older generations who are using Twitter and Instagram to share their views. And in the workplace, we are seeing that openness and transparency coming to the fore – it’s a culture that can only develop as more millennials lead communication.

Millennial IC managers will bring their openmindedness to comms strategies by being bolder in our approach. Just because an idea is different, it’s not bad. If you’re doing things in a way it’s always been done, and it’s not quite working, try something else – and, if that doesn’t work, move on. I think the younger generation are more willing to take risks and adapt with new ideas than older colleagues.


Bravery in the digital age

We are the first generation to only know digital workplaces. We were raised with computers and mobile phones. When more millennials become internal comms managers, that upbringing will influence a change in comms. Digital increasingly sets new expectations for how we communicate with staff, and millennials are best placed to navigate those technologies and encourage new ideas and ways of working.

Humans become less brave with age, so it’s important that we listen to the younger generation. That means today’s internal comms managers listening to millennial colleagues, and then millennial IC managers turning to Generation Z colleagues for ideas and knowledge.

More visual communication is likely to become the norm. Millennials love channels like Instagram and, in the workplace, video. Millennials want to be able to get information quickly from a short film, rather than read paragraphs of text. And video is becoming more important with the globalisation of organisations, where directors are not always all in one office and employees might not know what they look like. Video gives them a face, a voice.

Yammer has been great for two-way conversations and shifting away from top-down comms and Workplace by Facebook has proved to be effective, but we may see enterprise social networks change too. I don’t use Facebook socially as much as I did 10 years ago and hardly any of my friends actively post. I think people have been missing face-to-face communication.


Finding the balance

Millennials want to work hard, but we need assurance that we can also have a life. Because most of my day is spent at work, I want to work somewhere fun and relaxed. I don’t need slides between floors or sleeping corners, but it’s important the team can laugh and wants to talk to each other outside of work.

We spend most of our waking time at work, and work-life balance is particularly important to our generation. Millennials want to enjoy coming to work, rather than feel we need to be there. Recognition will become even more important. It may only be a small gesture to recognise someone for their hard work, or a certificate to acknowledge someone has lived the values. It’s an ego boost.

The influence of millennials can already be seen, and senior leaders are adapting to the change. Our culture champion project, for example, took a while to get off the ground, but we had metrics to show where there were issues with employee engagement. They saw the stats and understood that we needed to try something different.

 

Lakshmi Woodings, 27, is senior internal communications associate for Apex Group Ltd. A 2014 graduate in business management, Lakshmi was previously internal communications content manager at Lloyd’s Register.

 

Humans become less brave with age, so it’s important that we listen to the younger generation. That means today’s internal comms managers listening to millennial colleagues.

LAKSHMI WOODINGS

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