This month, The Measurement Standard is all about millennials in the PR and communications field. We know what you’re probably thinking: “do we really need to read more about millennials?” But the fact is, there’s a lot to learn about this generation, and their impact is important, especially since they took over as the largest living generation in the US as of 2016.
There are a lot of perceptions and opinions about what it means to be a millennial. Even just agreeing on the birth years that comprise millennials is a contentious topic.
Whether you’re looking from the perspective of a communicator trying to connect with millennial consumers or a manager trying to hire and retain millennial employees, there’s a lot to consider about this generation, their priorities, and what motivates them.
This month, as we explore the role of millennials in the PR and communications field, we’ve collected some of the best content discussing this generation. From studies on how millennial romantic partnering is changing the process of climbing the corporate ladder, to considerations on what millennials expect from their employers, to tips on the kind of marketing that sways millennial shoppers, June’s content is sure to leave you with a better understanding of this generation.
Mentoring and Maintaining Millennial Talent
According to Adam Robinson, CEO of a hiring and talent management company, businesses should invest in their employment brand in the same way they would invest in their customer-facing brand. An investment in employment brand attracts better talent. Additionally, it can contribute to the bottom line, as modern employees, especially millennials, are unlikely to purchase from a company they had a negative experience with as a job candidate. Inc.com provides six tips for improving your employment brand and attracting millennial talent.
Although Gen X is often referred to as the forgotten generation, the professionals who belong to this generation are knowledgeable, driven, and taking on more senior roles that are being vacated by baby boomers. As they move into these senior roles, they will work more closely to mentor and manage millennial employees. Additionally, they will be in a position to teach millennials important lessons for their professional journey. Fast Company outlines five lessons other generations can learn from Gen X.
Today, nearly half of American couples both have full-time jobs, an increase from only 31 percent in 1970, and assortative mating (coupling between two people with similar education, ambition, and outlook) has risen 25 percent over the last three decades. With this in mind, the traditional path to career advancement meets some challenges, namely the fact that younger professionals are not willing to relocate for a promotion if the move would negatively affect their partner’s career. Jennifer Petriglieri, assistant professor at INSEAD, worked with Rice University’s Otilia Obodaru to study more than 100 dual-career couples from various generations and positions, as well as professionals working in people strategy at 32 companies across various industries. Their work found that the main problem was companies’ commitments to the traditional path to a leadership position. Petriglieri discusses new strategies organizations could adopt to develop and maintain talent, including reverse mentor partnering between millennials and more senior professionals.
Ninety-three percent of millennial employees are open to hearing about new job opportunities. With such high numbers of millennial workers entertaining the idea of leaving their current job, it’s important for managers to consider tactics for retaining the younger members of their team. Buzzfeed provides five tips for empowering millennials and motivating them to remain with their current company.
Millennials now comprise the largest portion of the US workforce. With such a large population of millennial employees in the workforce, business leaders must understand what motivates them to effectively manage and retain this talent. Entrepreneur discusses seven surprising traits that contribute to millennials’ success in the workplace.
Generalizing millennials as lazy and entitled is, according to Sara Rude, just a poor excuse from older generations for failing to commit to being a better mentor and teacher for this younger generation of employees. Rude explains that millennials will soon take over more senior roles in the PR and communications industry, and will eventually be responsible for maintaining the relevance and integrity of this field. Check out Rude’s list of millennial behavior she believes to be true and how organizations can adapt their behavior to help millennials succeed.
What do Millennials Want in the Workplace?
What do millennial professionals really want? Workplace culture and environments have certainly changed since millennials entered the workforce. Companies, especially larger corporations and Silicon Valley companies, have introduced interesting work perks, like unlimited vacation and catered lunches, and beautiful, open office spaces to attract and retain the best talent. Forbes describes how one New York-based communications firm recently redesigned their 10,000+ square foot office space with the millennial design aesthetic in mind, heavily featuring open, collaborative spaces, but a recent survey from Bospar PR found that this office style may not be what workers actually want.
Millennials get labelled entitled, but is this just a misinterpretation of their frustration at outdated, rigid traditions in the workplace? In this Mashable article, Rachel Thompson speaks with Emma Gannon about her book The Multi-Hyphen Method, which considers the future of the workplace and explores how millennials are different from other generations in the workforce. Thompson also spoke with Claire Jones, associate director of employee engagement at Weber Shandwick, about millennials’ expectations for their employers.
Millennials are a diverse group, but members of this generation do share some opinions. It’s important for brands to consider these shared opinions and priorities if they’re attempting to market to millennials or appeal to millennial candidates seeking employment. Entrepreneur.com outlines three strategies organizations should consider adopting to become a millennial-friendly brand.
Although there are specific perceptions and stereotypes about millennials, Michael Ventura explains that this generation is largely being misinterpreted. Millennials’ goals and expectations challenge traditional workplace operations, advocating for more flexible PTO and working hours, more positive workplace culture, and better communication about feedback. Gen Y is in a great position to understand the perspectives of people from the generations older and younger than them and bridge the gap between these employees. Ventura offers a list of insights he has gathered to boost empathy and understanding between millennials and baby boomers.
Marketing to Millennials
Although data is necessary to understand the success of communications strategies and make better decisions, Tyler Barnett explains that communicators can’t rely solely on data to understand millennials. According to this millennial PR-agency owner, millennial opinions, beliefs, and interests change often, so communicators don’t have sufficient time to gather and analyze data on millennials to make major marketing decisions. Instead, Barnett explains what millennials value in businesses and how organizations can make the necessary adjustments to effectively engage with millennial consumers.
Millennials are aware of traditional marketing tactics and they’re not being persuaded by them. According to research by Euclid Analytics, less than one third of millennials are swayed by an ad to visit a store, even if the ad highlighted exactly the product or service they wanted. Euclid’s research, which surveyed 1,500 US consumers about their shopping habits, uncovered trends and motivators for people across different generations. Check out the key takeaways from the study and the lessons marketers can learn from each of them.
Have brands already missed the boat on millennial marketing? According to AdWeek, maybe so. Marketers used to wait to engage with consumers until they have the independence and money to make purchase decisions. Millennials were the first generation to have early access to technology and social media, which influences purchasing decisions, so they may have missed their chance to form lasting connections with millennial consumers. If brands wait to market to younger generations, they could miss another opportunity to make an impression. As Gen Z, a digital-first generation, gets older, marketers must consider how to make early introductions and develop relationships through the tactics that will resonate with this younger generation.
A one-size-fits-all approach to marketing has never been effective. This approach really fails to be effective when marketing to millennials and Gen Z. These generations have distinct differences that influence the kind of marketing they want to see from brands. To better understand these differences, specifically relating to influencers and their audiences from each generation, Sara McCorquodale created CORQ, an objective influencer review that compared “qualitative journalistic insight with quantitative data analysis,” to identify the main differences between millennial influencers and influencers from Gen Z.
Every generation has its differences, but all consumers, regardless of age, want basically the same things from their shopping experiences, namely friendly, responsive customer service and reasonable pricing. This article from Multichannel Merchant explains how and why organizations should understand and implement these basic expectations before focusing on targeting consumers from specific generations.