Millennial bosses overwhelmingly prefer ‘online messaging’ over face-to-face communication

Is your boss a millennial? If so, chances are, they prefer communicating with you online more than any other method.

Is your boss a millennial? If so, chances are, they prefer communicating with you online more than any other method.

New research from global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry found that when it comes to communication, 55% of survey respondents said that millennial managers mostly get their message across to their employees via “online messaging,” compared to 14% who chose to do so “in person.”

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that they “agree to some extent” that older managers (like those in Gen X and Baby Boomers) believe that they “work harder than millennial bosses.”

According to the press release, “more than 1,500 professionals” took part in the survey. Millennials were defined as those born between the years 1981 and 1996. Here are some of the points that stood out.

30% see millennial bosses as “somewhat worse” than older leaders

The research found that the second most-popular way that people said millennial managers communicate with those who work for them is email, with 28% choosing this option. The least popular method is via phone, at 3%.

Samantha Wallace, Korn Ferry Futurestep North American Market Leader, Technology, commented on the research in a statement:

“The way bosses communicate with their staff has a huge impact on organizational 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 survey respondents were asked how millennial bosses do in the “managing up” department versus older people, the largest number of them said they’re “somewhat worse” at it, at 30%. Twenty-two percent said millennial supervisors are “somewhat better,” 20% said both groups are equally as good at it, while 17% said millennials are “much better” and 11% said they’re “much worse.” “Managing up” was defined as keeping their bosses in the loop and “following through on executive initiatives.”

Most agree that older managers think they’re harder workers

A combined 70% of respondents said they either “agree to a great extent” or “agree to some extent” that older managers (Baby Boomers and Get X) believe that “they work harder than millennial bosses.”

Twenty-seven percent had a neutral opinion on this topic, while a combined 3% either disagreed “to some extent” or “to a great extent.”

When it comes to interviewing millennials for jobs at the management level, 25% of respondents said these young people consider “a good work-life balance” to be the most crucial aspect. But “ability to make an impact on organizational culture” also came in first place with 25%.

Seventeen percent each chose “career progression” and “ability to work flexibly,” respectively, while “salary” only raked in 5%.

Here’s how people say millennial bosses can do better

Korn Ferry’s research revealed that the most popular way people said millennial supervisors could improve is to step up their “face-to-face communications,” at 29%, with 27% saying they could do better at keeping their supervisors completely in the loop with what’s going on.

The respondents were asked to compare millennial bosses and older ones in terms of how crucial it is for them to be able to visualize rising up the ranks through the “next two positions” during the management recruitment process.

A whopping 49% said this is “much more important” to millennials and 25% said it was “somewhat more important,” but only 3% said it was “much less” significant to this group.

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.