Because millennials live and breathe technology, most people assume that they would prefer to communicate through technology whenever they can — even in the workplace.
A new study has revealed this is not the case. Studying survey data collected from more than 40,000 people in 22 different countries, researchers at the Center for Effective Organizations at the USC Marshall School of Business and London Business School, in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers, outlined the communication preferences across the generations.
In their personal lives, millennials are much more likely than Generation Xers to use instant messaging (39 percent and 24 percent, respectively), texting (59 percent and 39 percent) and social network sites (67 percent and 49 percent). And while it seems to many supervisors that social media is a language of preference (as social media conventions have crept into professional written communications authored by millennial and younger generations), it turns out that at work, millennials and Gen X are surprisingly “old school.”
When communicating with colleagues, both generations overwhelmingly opted for face-to-face meetings (80 percent and 78 percent). Similarly, more than 80 percent of both generations said that communicating through face-to-face meetings is vitally important to maintaining relationships at work and greater than phone, email, instant messaging, texting, social network sites and video chat.
Even more striking were the results for communications related to performance evaluations, career planning and compensation. When asked to rank how they would prefer to communicate with their immediate supervisor about their performance evaluation, both generations overwhelmingly choose face-to-face meetings (93 percent and 92 percent). Ninety-six percent of millennials and 95 percent of Gen Xers demonstrated a preference for face-to-face meetings with supervisors regarding career plans and progress; 82 percent of both millennials and Gen Xers preferred in-person conversations when discussing compensation.