By Elizabeth Williams/Posted at;dtnpf.com
OMAHA (DTN) — Are we talking the same language? Curt Steinhorst with the Center for Generational Kinetics, in Austin, Texas, doesn’t think so. When he surveyed a crowd of farmers, ranchers and lenders at a recent forum sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America, he asked at what age do you think a person reaches adulthood? Consensus among the mostly older participants was between 23 and 25 years old. Steinhorst noted that most millennials will say 30.
“That’s when they start thinking about marriage, starting a family, having their own phone plan,” Steinhorst related. Millennials (born between 1977 and 1995) were raised differently than baby boomers (born from 1946 through 1964) and have different expectations.
The younger generation can be great employees and will work hard, if you know how to communicate and motivate them, said Steinhorst. In fact, consultant Lori Culler with AgHires in Temperance, Michigan, said it can be a “dream team.”
“The baby boomers have all this experience and the millennials grew up in the digital age and are focused on efficiency, growth and expanded knowledge,” Culler explained.
But getting the most out of your younger employees may take some adjustment in your management style. Steinhorst offered these tips:
1. Be brief, be specific, be visual. If you want a millennial to learn a process, such as how to get a piece of equipment ready or check everything in the tractor cab, take a video of how it’s done right and post it on YouTube. “The No. 1 source of learning for millennials today is YouTube,” said Steinhorst.
“Do away with manuals,” advised Steinhorst. Millennials may glance at a manual, but they are not going to read it. They prefer to watch a video when they want and as often as they want. They’ll learn it faster and remember it longer.
“Nobody reads anymore,” Culler noted. “I tell my farm clients their handbook needs a one-page overview and more visuals. It has to include pictures.”
Texting is preferred over calling or even face-to-face communication, said Steinhorst. “Millennials we’ve studied view a telephone call as rude, an invasion of privacy,” he said. And as a millennial, Steinhorst, 33, admitted, “We don’t listen to voice mail. A millennial will send 4,000 texts per month and the average text message is seven words.”
For emails, millennials generally will only read the subject line to decide what to do with the email. “They’re looking for photos, videos and bullet points. They skip over big blocks of type,” Steinhorst said. “They like things short and visual.”
To attract millennial employees you need an internet presence, Steinhorst advised. If not a Facebook page, create an interesting website and a LinkedIn account. For your LinkedIn page, you need an approachable photo, Steinhorst said. “Something personal. A potential employee will look at it and say, ‘Would I like this person?'”
2. Make feedback ongoing. Performance reviews limited to once a year are not going to cut it for the millennial employee. “It doesn’t have to be much,” said Steinhorst. “All you got to do is say, ‘I noticed yesterday you helped Joe out. Great job!’ That’s all they want — not a long conversation. And if you text it to them, even better. Instant gratification is a great motivator to millennials.”
Continue via… Source: How to Speak Millennial – DTN Progressive Farmer