How To Write Work Email To Millennials
June 25, 2013 1 Comment
Millennials enjoy working with people they can learn and gain experience from. And, like early Boomers when they were entering the workforce (1960’s – 1970’s), Millennials think they have the world by the tail.
Millennials are a valuable asset when they are engaged and motivated – or will quickly be an expense as they leave your company if they feel they are not learning and growing… which means you’ll lose your hiring / training investment… and opportunity loss.
When writing work email to Millennials share the whole picture. Go into detail answering not only what you want – but how you want it and when. Also, give Millennials purpose by sharing why it’s important. If you want Millennials to really lean into the task, include how you think they personally will be able to add unique value and what they’ll learn from the experience.
The balancing act when communicating with Millennials (and frankly when communicating with people from all generations), is to be sure to give them only what they need and not unnecessary background. Consider that the reason most of us write email messages is to do only three things:
- To give information
- To get information
- To confirm information
With that in mind, regardless of our reason for writing work email, we often send messages that are too short. We don’t give Millennials all of the information they need to take clear action.
Email Example: Its Purpose: To confirm information
“I am writing to confirm our meeting.”
Reason: Many reasons. Most of all, we should also confirm time, place and meeting objective which in this case will require another email which means another email interruption of everyone on the distribution list.
Email Message Alternative:
“I am confirming our meeting at 12PM in the Cambridge meeting room to review your budget estimates for the Sales Conference. They’re looking good.”
Rating: Very Good.
Reason: This message is supportive, motivating and if the meeting is confirmed, all the reader has to do is type back ‘Yes’ or ‘Confirmed’ and nobody has to wonder or hunt for where, when, why or what to bring. No further email messages or interruptions are required… respecting great time management, reducing email volume and leaving everyone to focus on other important ‘strategic’ work… until the meeting.
We don’t need to write mini-novels to be thorough. We can all learn to consider everyone’s needs in short, polite – easy-to-write and easy-to read email messages. This encourages your reader to take action… what I call leaning into your message.
The more I work with Boomers, Xers and Millennials and the more I work with organizations trying to build productive teams, reduce workplace frustration and lower turn-over, the more I believe we should all be talking with each other like we were all Millennials. As parents, Boomers and Generation Xers gave their Millennial children (insert irony here my friends), a caring, supportive home where they were encouraged to ask questions, be creative and to embrace opportunities.
We all thrive when given honest, supportive positive reinforcement. It’s free, simple and direct… and it builds great relationships – even at home. And, we’ve seen in the example above it can be easy to do if you know how. Help your readers lean into your email messages.
You don’t want your Millennial employees to get frustrated and walk away from your organization… flushing your time and training investment down the drain. You also want to make sure they feel they are growing. Most Millennials leave organizations because of politics or lack of learning / growth… not money. They want to develop their experience and expertise… and they have their Boomer / Generation Xer parents encouraging them to do just that (insert more irony here).
As Boomers retire it’s projected that by 2025 three out of four workers worldwide will be Millennials (Time Magazine). What that means is that Boomers and Xers need to understand Millennials – and we also have to help Millennials understand Boomers and Generation Xers at work (not as parents).
Support Millennials and they won’t walk – they’ll stick around and be fantastic.
When writing to Millennials it’s likely that their work experience is much less than Boomers and Generation Xers – so they will need to ‘learn the ropes‘. They’ll let you be their coach as long as you stay positive and supportive. Meanwhile, their comfort with technology will likely far exceed that of Boomers or Generation Xers… let them experience pride and feel part-of-the-team by letting them coach you.
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