My teenage son sent an e-mail to the camp director where he has worked the past two summers. We talked about content and he started with a handwritten draft to make certain he got it right. I read the final message after he hit send. The spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure were great, but none of the letters were capitalized.
As part of a youth group project participants were asked to take, or find, photos that represented a designated topic and e-mail them to the leader. The recipient had trouble opening the pictures and sent a message asking the teens to bring hard copies to the meeting. Half did; their parents had been copied on the e-mail so they reminded the kids. The other students said they don’t read their e-mail.
Who Is Generation Text?
The newest generation getting ready to enter the workforce has been labeled “Generation Next,” or more accurately Generation Text. It’s almost a cliche to say these 17-25-year-olds have grown up with computers and the Internet. As they mature, Generation Text is changing the face of online use. The effects are already being felt in the workplace. Pew Research tells us this group doesn’t take the time to blog — they stick to Facebook and mobile media. They have become masters of communication by text; 140 characters almost seems too long.
Catching Up with Friends During Work?
Employers may or may not allow social media use during the work day. The potential for conflict is created whether surfing is limited to break time or a few minutes checking in. According to Nucleus Research, a sizeable number of employees actually build profiles at their desk, and access to Facebook during working hours limits employee productivity.
Reach Them on Their Own Turf
It’s not time to take out your cell phone and text instructions to your staff. It is time to think about using a variety of formats, including social media, for recruitment and employee communications.
Employers have posted YouTube videos for recruitment that range from carefully crafted professionally created messages to sincere personal statements using a desktop webcam. Create buzz among the recent grads you are courting with a video that is linked to your website or job posting.
News about benefits open enrollment deadlines can be distributed in scheduled Tweets. Employers may also choose to use Yammer and keep the community closed.
Educate, Educate, Educate
Checking your e-mail inbox does not make you a social media dinosaur. Business communications today is dominated by e-mail. It’s a fabulous tool when used correctly. Most employees can use some training on content and e-mail management. Providing information sessions for Generation Text is essential.
Think about the audience before you plan an all-day offsite meeting with a well-known expert. You may get better results by starting with a video. All employees can watch it at their desk; Generation Text can simply watch it on their phones while waiting for a call or text.