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Business - 3 min read

Every generation is shaped by its times and experiences: the Silent Generation faced World War II, the Baby Boomers grew up in a youth-centric world, and Generation X watched Communism fall after a Cold War childhood. What about the Millennials? Are they just like the rest of us? 

This is an important question for business owners and managers to think about as Millennials come of age and become employees and customers. There are more Millennials than Gen Xers, so they’re an important demographic to watch, and as they get older, the way we all live and work will increasingly be shaped by them.

Let’s take a look at some of the key attributes of this rising generation and examine how their characteristics may affect your business.

They’re Connected

Unlike previous generations, Millennials have grown up on social media. Whereas Gen Xers and Boomers have adopted social media as adults, Millennials have been shaped by it. It’s how they get and share information. That said, many Millennials realise that when they’re completely immersed in social media, they miss out on face-to-face communication, and many of them crave more personal relationships. They’re just like the rest of us.

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As a business owner, you’ve got to realise that social media marketing is essential for reaching Millennials, and your Millennial employees will want to use social media on the job. For instance, you’ll likely reach more prospective Millennial employees by posting your job listings on social media than on your website.

They Appreciate Transparency

Millennials like to have open and honest relationships with their managers and co-workers, and they’d rather not face unpleasant surprises after they join a company. This isn’t any different from the rest of us, but because Millennials have grown up with the world’s information at their fingertips, they’re accustomed to instant access to information that lays out the situation. 

Help Millennials trust your organisation by publishing information about your company online and being upfront and honest about the positions they’re applying for. Everyone expects that jobs come with their ups and downs; just let people know ahead of time the difficult aspects of their future jobs. Once hired, provide Millennials with regular feedback on how they’re doing. 

As customers, Millennials like to be able to read product reviews and know ahead of time what they can expect from your company. Lay it all out there, and produce as much content about your company as you can. Frequent blog posts and detailed descriptions of your services will help Millennials put their trust in you.

They Want Recognition

This is a little different than Generation Xers, who were largely independent during their growing up years. Millennials grew up with constant praise from their parents and teachers. They were awarded participation ribbons for just showing up to competitions. This is not necessarily good or bad; it’s just the world they’ve known. 

As an employer, you can use Millennial’s need for recognition to help them reach goals and advance their careers. Explain to them the importance of their positions in your company and how their work contributes to the overall big picture. Help them to set challenging-but-achievable goals in their jobs, and then publicly recognise them when they achieve those goals. This strategy will keep your work moving forward and increase Millennial’s job satisfaction.

Millennial customers like recognition as well. Offer them rewards for making purchases or referring customers. Encourage them to post reviews online, or offer discounts for customers who create their own marketing materials for you (like posting pictures of themselves wearing your products). 

Millennials may have grown up in a slightly different world than previous generations, but they’re just like the rest of us. By understanding what motivates and inspires them, you can help them to become reliable, resourceful workers and excellent customers.

 

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