How To Use Digital Signage To Engage Millennials In Your Workplace

October 26, 2017 by guest author, Stuart Armstrong

Guest Post: Sean Matthews, Visix

Millennials currently make up a third of the workforce, and that percentage will only increase in the coming years (by 2025 it’s estimated they will account for 75% of employees).

Who are they, what do they want, what do they expect and how can you get the most out of them? These are questions every organization should be actively finding the answers to. The good news is that this is the most tech-savvy generation ever, and you probably already have a technological tool of unprecedented power, reach and flexibility – digital signage.

Sean Matthews

Basically, Millennials are people currently in their 20s (though the category extends to as low as 18 and even into the early 30s as well). They are the most racially diverse generation ever, making up 43% of primary working age minorities. Nationally, only around 56% of Millennials are white (compared to 75% of the US as a whole and 61% of Baby Boomers), though this will vary according to the state (for example, in California, less than a third of Millennials are white and in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia and New Jersey less than half are white). This trend is intensifying with the post-millennial generation, the children of Millennials, who are only around 51% white overall.

Yet most Millennials feel like they are part of a coherent generation – racial and cultural diversity is a “given”, and expected and encouraged. They came of age in the era of the internet, social media and other technological advances, which makes them quite different from previous generations. Boomers and Generation Xers remember the ancient time of rotary dial telephones, of making arrangements to meet far in advance, or actually standing up to manually change TV channels.

For Millennials, communication has always been easy, fast and flexible, even with people quite far away. With the advent of mobile devices, like smartphones, they are constantly in communication with anyone they wish to be, no matter where they are. Being connected to others is standard for this generation.

Possibly as a result of this, Millennials want to feel part of a larger community, part of something worthwhile. If they don’t get what they want from a job, apart from the salary, they tend to move on to somewhere else. 42% of Millennials expect to change jobs every 1-3 years, and employee turnover from this generation costs the US economy $30.5 billion a year.

Only 29% of Millennials say they are actively engaged at work, 55% say they are not engaged and 16% are actively disengaged. Yet 64% of engaged Millennials say they are less likely to switch jobs, even if the job market improves in the next year. Getting them actively engaged at work is vital to making them happy and keeping them around. So how do you engage them? What do they want from their employers?

When choosing a place to work, 78% say that “workplace quality” is important. By that, they mean things above and beyond the money:

None of these should come as any surprise. This is a generation that lives on social media, where they are constantly collaborating with others, receiving recognition, have multiple options and platforms, can interact with others from pretty much anywhere, and have access to the entire contents of the world wide web anytime they want.

It may seem like a time burden to someone from an older generation – constantly check in with these younger workers, evaluate them, give them feedback and opportunities, figure out ways they can collaborate and still meet deadlines, and do your own job as well. Technology like your digital signs can help.

Millennials already spend a good deal of their time looking at one kind of screen or another, so displays placed in high traffic areas are a great way to reach them and get them engaged without spending hours with each one individually. They are very comfortable with an environment that is saturated with information. While digital signage might still seem somewhat new or “cool” to some Boomers and Xers, Millennials see it as a given – an extension of how they live their lives.

It’s a common image these days… a group of people sitting around, apparently friends or co-workers, each on a smartphone, not communicating. But in fact, they are communicating – partly on the web and social media platforms, and partly they are looking things up and exploring the online world for things they can talk about to share with one another. This is a multi-tasking generation, used to receiving data from multiple inputs. It is almost impossible to overload Millennials with too much information. In fact, the more that’s available to them, the happier they are.

To apply all these ideas to your digital signage, think about the way Millennials interact with the web, with their friends and colleagues, and with their mobile devices.

Include messages that are not just about work. Many Millennials feel social issues are as important to life as work, so let them know about opportunities to help out in the community, or initiatives and charities the company is involved in. It’s been said that the current increase in corporate philanthropy is a direct result of the influence of Millennials. 63% of them say they want their employer to contribute to important causes (compared to around 50% for Boomers and Xers). Many Millennials spend time and money on causes – 81% have donated money, goods or services in the short time they have been working and earning.

It truly is about much more than just the money for this generation. Many say they’d prefer to work at a lower paying job that they love, than a higher paying one they don’t. Perhaps the best thing you can do is get some of your Millennials on board with your digital signage – advising, creating content, developing campaigns, and thinking about all the types of messages and information that they would find engaging. And if they’re engaged, they’re happy. If they’re happy, they work harder and longer, are more productive and innovative, and less likely to seek employment elsewhere.

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