Many planners focus their energy on understanding how to attract millennials to their meetings, but there may be an easier way to learn: invite them into your office and pay them.
Having veterans in your office is undoubtedly one of the key pieces of laying a strong foundation for success. However, heeding the advice of just-out-of-college minds can provide the additional spark your organization needs to navigate the changing norms of connecting with people. Consider these three reasons why an employee who lacks experience can empower your meetings.
- Get a Clean Slate for Creativity
How do you inspire innovation? Hire someone who doesn't mind breaking the traditional boundaries of meeting planning.
"Millennials aren't predisposed to cut and paste from last year," Carolyn Clark, VP, Marketing & Communications, PCMA, who recently added two twenty-somethings to her team, says. "They're anxious to make their own mark in the organization and infuse their creativity into each project they own."
That creativity paves the way to the outside-the-lines thinking that can fuel a new approach to audience engagement.
"Fresh eyes provide a new perspective to the team," Roberta Kravitz, Executive Director, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, says.
Approximately 40 percent of ISMRM meeting participants are students, and nearly all of them fall into the millennial age bracket. With such a large segment of millennial attendees, Kravitz recognizes the importance of having employees who can see through their eyes.
- Do More with Less
Many planners understand the pinch of hearing that familiar saying: I have to do more with less. With millennial employees, doing a lot is simply part of how they're wired.
In the recently released Millennial Report commissioned by the PCMA Education Foundation, nearly 85 percent of respondents indicated that they are multi-taskers. They're responding to email inquiries while finishing a PowerPoint deck while inserting their next volunteer project into their smartphone calendars.
When it comes to meeting management and the ability to handle immediate concerns as they arise, those multi-tasking powers can prove to be invaluable on-site assets.
- Get Tech-Savvy Members on Your Team
While every organization has been forced to make technology a priority, plenty of them continue to struggle to maximize its potential for reaching new audiences and engaging attendees for both face-to-face and virtual meetings.
"The millennials who were weaned on technology, even without experience in the industry, can provide valuable input into the types of media provided at our meetings as well as how to craft messaging to that age group," Kravitz says.
From knowing how to speak in the casual conversation tones of social media circles to keeping an ear to the ground to know what's next for their age bracket, millennials are masters of putting the potential of online technologies and community-building tools into motion. Should your organization start a Pinterest page? Does Google+ matter? Is Diaspora the next Facebook? Count on millennials to keep you ahead of the curve and help you prioritize your resources.
Mentoring Millennial Employees
While new perspectives can help push your organization and your meetings in a new direction, millennials will still need some guidance as they enter the industry.
"Make the time for weekly one-on-one meetings," Clark says. "You'll exponentially reduce their learning curve, demonstrate your genuine interest in their ideas and gain their loyalty."
That loyalty will prove to be invaluable as your millennial employees grow to be your organizational leaders. What started as a lack of "experience" will evolve into the driving force that powers your organization into the future with increased relevancy that connects your mission and your message to an emerging attendee audience.
Access the complete PCMA Education Foundation research
More on the PCMA Education Foundation Millennial Series