Don’t Try to Email or Call Millennials: Connect with Them via Instant Communications

176622316Gone are the days of communicating with your team solely via email and phone, especially when your colleagues are Millennials spanning the world.

As a Millennial and the chief revenue officer of a global company — with salespeople in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific — communicating with my colleagues might seem challenging across multiple time zones, but it isn’t. Because most people on my team are also Millennials, they’re naturally tethered to their smartphones and instant-communication and social media outlets such as WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Skype, Snapchat and YouTube. And that means they’re incorporating these channels into their business communications.

Over the past several years, the rise of chat apps, SMS and social-messaging platforms have dislodged traditional forms of online messaging. According to Deloitte, instant messaging and texting were the first things 35% of US consumers checked in the morning in 2016 — up from nearly 30% in 2014. Email, on the other hand, saw a decline as 22% of US consumers checked their email first in 2016, dropping from 29% in 2014.

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Instead of writing lengthy emails to your team about quarterly updates or hosting conference calls for status meetings, try connecting with them via chat apps and social media. My smartphone continuously pings with messages from my team throughout the day, so I don’t need to constantly rely on just email or calls to get in touch with everyone. I can quickly address messages in real time, even if it’s a response that says, “Let’s connect on this item in a few minutes.” The result: greater efficiency and engagement.

Increases Work Productivity

The best part of connecting with my team via WhatsApp or Google Hangouts is greater productivity. Things won’t get lost in the daily deluge of email because there are so many other avenues to use to ask questions. This is especially helpful when managing teams in various time zones all over the world and tackling urgent requests. Recently, one of my colleagues in the US asked for a reference in the UK. I immediately messaged, through WhatsApp, one of my sales leaders in London, who could find a reference and then put my colleague in touch with them. The whole process took about 10 minutes — and if we only relied on email or phone, it could have taken two days to make that connection.

Encourages More Natural Communication

Nearly two years ago, I ditched typical “all-hands” meetings in favor of short videos conveying our sales updates because the meetings had become less effective, harder to coordinate, and overly formal in structure. Video allows me to provide brief updates to my team that they can view on their own time. The videos are simple — a quick YouTube clip released every quarter or whenever we win a major client or announce team promotions — shot largely off-the-cuff to create a casual dialogue betweenme and my team. The videos are direct, allowing my team to re-watch them to reinforce strategic messages and other departments to view them so they can cross-collaborate with our sales department.

Develops Stronger Relationships

Texting, video and social media humanize my leadership. With a salesforce of more than 100 people, it’s difficult to know every single person, so these channels allow my colleagues to connect with me personally. The more personal connections you make as a leader, the more your team will find you approachable. And that creates greater camaraderie amongst our entire sales team that helps us to deliver an incredible customer experience.

The next time you want to further engage your team, especially Millennials, try incorporating methods of instant communication into your leadership strategies. Millennials demand connections that transcend traditional communications, and leveraging new channels will further drive productivity, foster more natural conversations and deepen personal relationships.

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Mike Restivo
Mike Restivo is chief revenue officer of Bullhorn, a global provider of CRM and operations software for the staffing industry.

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