Millennials as Bosses: Forget Face-to-Face, Online Messaging New Norm for Communicating with Direct Reports, According to Korn Ferry Survey

As millennials (born 1981-1996) are increasingly moving into management positions, a new Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) survey shows they are favoring a different way of communicating with their employees.


In the February 2018 survey of more than 1,500 professionals, 55 percent said online messaging is the most common way for millennial bosses to communicate with their direct reports, followed by email at 28 percent. Only 14 percent said their favored way to communicate is in person, and 3 percent said via phone.



The survey found that when interviewing for management positions, millennials say that making an impact on organisational culture is most important to them, with salary being the least important.


Samantha Wallace, Korn Ferry Futurestep North American Market Leader, Technology said: 


“The way bosses communicate with their staff has a huge impact on organisational culture,”


“Millennials grew up using screens as their primary form of interaction, and while online messaging and email are effective, efficient tools, face-to-face communication is needed to create an inclusive culture.”


When asked what they wish millennial bosses would do more of, the largest percentage (29 percent) said face-to-face communications, followed by keeping their bosses informed at 27 percent.


When asked what they actually do best, only 10 percent said keeping their bosses informed and 3 percent said managing up to executives. The top response for what millennial bosses do best is creating flexibility in the workplace (65 percent).


However, millennial managerial approaches may not be seen as positive by bosses of different generations. Seventy percent of respondents say Gen X and Baby Boomer bosses believe they work harder than their millennial counterparts.  


The survey did find though that managers believe millennial bosses are qualified. Seventy-five percent of respondents say they believe millennial managers have earned their role.


Wallace continued;


“Members of the millennial generation are really coming into their own in the workplace,”


“They may not approach management the same way as bosses from different generations, but instead of fighting change, adapting to the dynamic culture millennials bring will help companies succeed.”


The survey also found that compared with Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, knowing what is coming next is critical for millennial bosses. Nearly three quarters (74 percent) said a clear advancement path (e.g. next two positions) is more important for millennial bosses, with 49 percent saying it is much more important.


“Millennials tend to value clear communication and feedback, and organisational leaders seeking the best and brightest from this generation must work closely with millennial managers to provide well laid out career paths,” 


About the Survey


The Korn Ferry of professionals took place in February 2018 and garnered 1,537 responses worldwide.



About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organisational consulting firm. We help companies design their organization – the structure, the roles and responsibilities, as well as how they compensate, develop and motivate their people. As importantly, we help organisations select and hire the talent they need to execute their strategy. Our approximately 7,000 colleagues serve clients in more than 50 countries.


Author: Editorial Team

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