I am that strange animal which has been the subject of so much discussion, questions and conjecture lately: the fabled Millennial. Soon, my peers and I will be the largest percentage of the workforce; how are you going to cater for my foreign approach? How do you plan to engage me? The struggle is realll!! Please read on.
My generation has grown up with social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MixIt, Instagram, Pinterest: name it and I am there and slaying. We are the digital natives, and we expect a similar digital environment in the workplace. Not because we’re demanding (although we can be: “#BoringMustFall!”), but because that’s what we know, it’s how we live and it’s part of who we are.
So how do you plan to connect with us? An intranet I hear you say? Not a bad idea, but you need to remember the ground rules. If you get it right, you may just hold our attention – and loyalty – long enough to get the best out of us. So, let me talk you through my expectations of your intranet.
Firstly, I want to be able to connect wherever, whenever. I want to be able to halla instantly with anyone in the organisation. Telephones – Really? E-mail? Meh. Desktop – Why? I have my smartphone with me. Give me some data and enough bandwidth to access your intranet anywhere, anytime or I’m done.
Show me what I need to see instantly. If I have to dig through piles of information that has no bearing on my life, or is just too boring, I am going to lose interest. #SorryNotSorry. Keep it intuitive – if I have to spend more time searching for it than I will be reading it, I can’t deal!
I know you think there’s a lot I need to know, but fam’ that’s not the case. I want my info in bite-sized chunks – because if it’s too long I’m probably gonna skip it. And why use so many words? Haven’t you ever heard of YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest? You can relay a message in pictures too.
You may think your corporate news and HR memorandums are interesting. I don’t. Not all the time. I want to have fun, too. An intranet that wants to engage me needs to include some entertainment like trivia, celebrity news, games and competitions. I will be more likely to remember what you are saying to me if you add a bit of humour. Bottom line: if your intranet is a dull, boring place that’s all work and no play, it’s an epic fail. Jussayin’.
Lastly, I want to be able to talk to you. Please listen to what I have to say. I have ideas. I’m smart. I want to be part of the decision making process. Let me micro-blog, contribute to forum discussions and comment on stuff. Make sure your intranet doesn’t talk at me. None of the other social platforms do. They create spaces where I can contribute and collaborate, where my opinion is valued. They encourage conversation. You should too.
When it comes to anything online, my generation has huge expectations and we are looking for the same things in an intranet. You must make us want to smash that site or don’t bother.
Thandeka Ntanda is the Project Manager and Millenial at The human.kind Group.