The Silent Generation: Why Millennials are Talking Less

Recently, JPMorgan Chase attempted to minimise spending, by getting rid of voicemail for the thousands of employees that don’t have direct interactions with clients. About 65% of the people involved in the campaign were happy to take the offer – something that led to around $3 million in savings (per year).

Lately, the evidence suggests that voicemail simply isn’t as popular as it once was. A lot of younger workers, (particularly those under 30), prefer to turn to text, email, and instant messaging to stay connected on the job, rather than using a phone. That’s something we’ve seen more of in the last couple of years, as more communications company turn towards workstream apps and instant messaging, instead of the standard phone call.

Millennials and The Rise of Silence

As with many of the technical changes taking place of late, the changing approach to voicemail has been led by the rise of the millennial generation. A Gallup poll shows that text messages are more popular than phone calls for communication.

Today’s millennials consider phone calls as an intrusive form of communication. In fact, one younger worker told the Wall Street Journal that they felt as though calling someone before emailing them made it seem as though they didn’t care about that person’s time. Similarly, a lot of millennial workers today just want to get things done quickly, and effectively. They don’t want to have to deal with voicemails, but would rather read quick, simple text.

Although there is something to be said for texting from an efficiency perspective, it’s worth noting that texting has its problems too. Today’s messages are so deeply condensed that they can often cause problems when it comes to conveying the meaning and tone of senders, causing misunderstandings and other issues. Fortunately, a few apps have started to play with visual-based texting to reduce these misinterpretations.

Texting and the Professional World

Relying on text instead of voice can lead to further problems for companies who use a lot of verbal communication to make sales. This is something that has pushed companies to hire consultants so that Millennial staff feels more comfortable on the phone. Some companies have even turned to big data to transform sales methods, using CRM platforms like Salesforce to build profiles for which customers to call, and which to email.

There’s hope yet…

Although it’s important to remember that the world of traditional communication is far from over, it’s also worth noting that things are changing in the workforce. Millennials aren’t completely opposed to having conversations with other people. In fact, one study found that over half of all 18 to 34-year-olds will prefer to communicate with their colleagues in person. This number far exceeds the share who would rather text or email.

Still, in spite of this, it’s safe to assume that many of the conversations from the next generation won’t be recorded on an email tape. This is one of the forms of conversation that has officially been moved into the past.