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Communicating with the Millennials

Hunh?  What Makes You Think They Are Reading Your Stuff?

Gradually, traditional communication methods are being ignored in the world of employee benefits.  The shift is gradual because there is a new generation, Millennials, entering the workforce and they are wrecking havoc with traditional business communications.

The Millennials, that is those born after 1982, are visible users of “new media”.  New media is blogs, podcasts, text messaging, online communities and viral videos. Information is user generated, frequently by a peer.  It is interactive, wireless and mobile.  Real time, almost instant responses to inquiries are the norm. Information is delivered at warp speed, and in short messages.

So given all of this, what makes you think that your new hires under the age of 30 are paying attention to your booklets, brochures, forms and meetings.  Well, they probably are not, for the most part.  And they’re not experienced enough to know that the information is valuable, and even critical.

So, what will work to market and explain your benefits to these Millennials?  First, look where they get their information now.

This is a generation that is absolutely comfortable with technology.  This is a generation that bases activities on their cell phone. They query the Internet for information first and trust it as a source. This includes blogs and online sites such as Wikipedia and Craigslist.  And manage information on sites such as Wasabe. They distribute information on sites such as YouTube and Myspace.

So how do you market your benefits to the Millennial generation?  Internal business communications is following the lead of external PR and Marketing.  The content currently available in traditional print vehicles is also being rewritten, redesigned and revised to be posted on company intranets and on blogs.  Meetings and training sessions are made available through online videos which can be downloaded as podcasts. Memos become blast e-mails. On the horizon are internal text messaging networks and company instant messaging for cell phones.

If you want Millennials to pay attention to something many view as deadly dull like employee benefits, then you have to use the media they use.  There really isn’t another choice.

Posted by Philip Hertzler, September 01, 2007 in Resources.