Millennials and the Intranets

We spend a lot of time at Rogue talking about intranets. I mean, they are our jam. We focus tons of effort on figuring out what makes a quality intranet and what does not. We are enhancing functionality and aesthetics almost constantly. Our experts have been on the SharePoint bandwagon since the platform was created, so they have seen the evolution from document management to corporate communications hub. That’s all good stuff, right? We know some cool tricks and can make things look freaking fantastic. But when it comes to reaching your enterprise-wide audience, how do we help you account for attention from all the people, meaning across generations? As we have preached, if it’s not meaningful, people won’t use it. 

There are three generations co-mingling (tri-mingling?) at work these days:

  • Baby Boomers (born between 1954 and 1964)
  • GenX (born mid-60s to early 80s)
  • Millennials (born mid-80s)

^^I know that I will get comments (which I won’t publish) disputing these age brackets. I’m sticking to ’em. How do I live with all this power? Anyway.

Based on our website analytics, I know that most of our audience is GenX or older. [Creepy, right?] It’s a hard fact that generations communicate differently. So let’s take a minute to talk about those special snowflakes known as Millennials.

I wrote a blog post a while back about experiencing information and how that changes how we see the world and how we work. Think about the Millennial experience. They are the generation of selfies. They knew how to Tweet before they knew how to write a proper thank-you note. The transience of Instagram doesn’t scare them. They weren’t taught cursive in elementary school. THEY TEXT IN EMOJIS. I think this youtube video, which was posted in 2011, six whole years ago, shows almost everything we need to understand about experiencing information as a digital native.

Did you know that by 2025, Millennials will make up the majority of the workforce? I’m talking 75% majority. If you’re one of the four Millennials who read this blog, you’re like “HECK YEAH,” and if you’re not, you’re terrified. Like every generation after us (I’m an X’er, by a hair… one graying one that I’m clinging to), the young ones always get a bad rap. What is it about them that is so off-putting? What I hear most is that they are entitled, maybe even lazy, in their work habits, and they like to talk but not so much do the things. Generalizations are dangerous, and I personally know and love several Millennials who do not fit this caricature, so instead of focusing on the bad stuff, let’s talk about what makes Millennials in the workforce awesome. But first some scary context…

This year, Deloitte executed their sixth annual Millennial Survey. Given that the average job tenure of a Millennial in 2015 was 2 years (ouch), that’s a lot of institutional knowledge in a revolving door. Now consider this: Every year, Gallup conducts an employee engagement survey. In 2015 and 2016, before Millennials were so close to taking over the majority of the workforce, the results showed that 31.5-32.1% of employees are engaged. What? If you’re a team lead, manager, director, or C-suiter, this correlation should worry you.

Now here’s the good news: In 2015, Deloitte found that 50% of Millennial respondents would take a pay cut for a job that matches their values and 90% want to use their skills for good. 2016 was similar. In 2017, we see more Millennials worried about stability, but their tenure is TBD. This means we have an opportunity to engage and retain team members who are passionate about their jobs.

Employee engagement is a topic I feel passionate about because it is my own truth. I wrote about it last year, here. When it comes to Millennials, they must be engaged if you expect good work out of them and if you expect them to stick around (they don’t have a pension plan, after all). So how do you achieve that? One way is through your intranet. You have to answer the question that Marcee Tidwell, Rod’s wife, asked in one of my favorite movies, Jerry Maguire (see? Gen-Xer, hardcore): WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? If you don’t know what you stand for as an organization, how can your employees? Answer these questions, and you’re off to a good start:

  • What’s your mission (social impact, outreach)?
  • Why does everyone want to work there (fun, innovative, quirky, family-oriented)?
  • Why do your customers love you (service, commitment, execution, communication)?

Now go showcase these things on your intranet! If you are super into a toy drive for the holidays because it is in your values to give back to your community, blast it out, create a campaign around it, make it fun, make it memorable. Make it mean something. Give your Millennial employees purpose in their work, give them reasons to love the company they work for and the teams they are part of, and let them do the thing they want most–to use their skills for good. They want to be inspired. You will see results from them, and then you can prove all those Millennial haters wrong. Use your intranet to help you do it!

If you need help… you know I know a guy.

Thanks for reading!


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