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Why businesses are failing to communicate effectively with younger employees

The majority of UK businesses are failing to communicate properly with their younger employees and it’s affecting their workplace morale and productivity, a new survey has found.
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According to research from UK software firm TechSmith, millennial workers are twice as likely to demand more visually-based communication methods from their employers than staff from the baby boom generation.

However, UK companies continue to fall short, with 44% of millennial workers claiming that their employer’s communications were outdated.

Recording the views of over 4,500 employees, the survey showed that screenshots, screencasts, images, gifs and short videos were among the types of visual communication preferred by younger workers, when compared with older members of the workforce.

The research also showed that whilst some 58% of millennials were likely to use images and video to communicate outside of work, just 28% baby boomers were likely to do the same.

Commenting on the trend towards visual communication, CEO at TechSmith, Wendy Hamilton, said that it was time for business owners to adapt to the demands of the younger generations of workers.

She added: “With millennials making up the largest generation in the workforce and Generation Z now moving through organisations too, it’s time leaders sat up and adapted to their image-hungry audiences.

“Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which rely heavily on visual content for engagement, are the go-to way of connecting outside of work because this is how people prefer to communicate. Not only that, using images, screencasts and videos in workplace communications makes it easier to get a message across clearly and concisely.”

The results of the survey revealed that 67% of millennials want to use more image-based tools and software at work, and 60% want more video-based tools. Whilst 50% wanted to watch more short videos at work, some 49% wished for more animated gifs when communicating internally with colleagues.

Businesses that fail to recognise the importance of visually-based communication methods risk seriously hampering productivity levels, the research also revealed. Visual content like screenshots, screencasts and videos were found to be more engaging than text-only communications for employees of all ages, and not just millennials.

This research shows that, in a business scenario, visual communication prompts a deeper level of understanding and a more engaging experience for audiences,” said research team member Dr. Alastair Goode.

“With our propensity for visualisation, it is no surprise that infographics, screenshots, screencasts, gifs, and short videos have become so popular — and also means people are becoming more accustomed to absorbing information visually than ever before.”

Hamilton went on to say: “When compounded per employee over every hour of every work day, the time and productivity that can be saved by communicating visually truly begins to add up.”

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About Author

Fred Heritage

Fred Heritage is the deputy editor of Real Business. He is the former deputy editor of sister title Business Advice, and has previously worked as a reporter for magazines including the Global Trade Review. Fred has a MA in international conflict studies from Kings College London, and a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent.

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