Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

Summary: Can a simple emoticon depicting a smiley face make all the difference to email? It most certainly can, especially when dealing with younger Generation Y employees.

TOPICS: Mobility

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I can guarantee that made someone smile. A simple resolution for the New Year if you employ younger Generation Y workers, is to on occasion when writing emails to your individual staff, to use emoticons to express what you think.

Emoticons are surprisingly powerful when attached to written communication. Text is the primary contact between friends and family, and employers and employees when away from home or the office.

The Generation Y are insecure at the best of times. They can't make a simple phone call without the burden of whether the recipient will pick up, or how the other will respond. Presence technology makes this easier; the 'online status' utility which allows others to know the availability of others, and has been popularised in consumer products ranging from instant messengers to social networking chat programs.

With social media acting as a crucial conduit for communications today, emoticons are used considerably by the younger generations. Combining and weighing up 'emoticon popular' technologies ranging from BlackBerry Messenger to Facebook Chat and text messages, combined they disproportionately outweigh email.

And seeing as email is still mostly used by those aged 35 and older, the demographic best representing the Generation X and Baby Boomers, these users may not be well accustomed to the power of the emoticon.

The long of the short of it is that emoticons add genuine emotion to ordinary, unconsidered text. To whop out a quick email to an employee takes little time, but it can be read in a multitude of ways.

During the working day I will receive dozens of email, and the effect a single smiley-face emoticon has on my own work ethic really adds a positive vibe. Two single characters, a colon and closed bracket, can make the difference between a positive demeanour or one which causes indifference or a potential for negative.

Even to use one in a negative way, to describe the level of frustration or annoyance at a younger employee, emoticons can help to add gravitas to the situation. It doesn't reduce the seriousness of the text, but does compliment the language used.

So employers, just consider using an emoticon nowadays. It speaks to the younger generation better than words, is instantly recognisable and can make all the difference to their day.

Topic: Mobility

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  • whatever

    I think "the younger generation" needs to get over itself and learn grammar.
    • Agreed.

      nancyjones36507 -- <br><br>I agree 100%. The solution to the impaired communication skills of GenY -- dumbed down by years of texting, IMing, Tweeting (gag), and watching <i>Jersey Shore</i> (vomit) -- is not to coddle them further by dumbing down the workplace.<br><br>These <b>children</b> (for that's what they're acting like) need to realize that the workplace is <b><u>not</u></b> there to...<br><br>1. Make them feel loved and cherished,<br>2. Foster their collaborative/social-networking impulses,<br>3. Allow them to upend corporate culture and communication methods, despite their lack of real-world experience and nascent skills, nor<br>4. Recognize them for the delicate and unique snowflakes that they believe themselves to be.<br><br>Promoting emoticon use in ANY formal setting (education, work) further degrades and infantilizes the language. Chat-speak is gibberish. Recommending its adoption in the workplace is the equivalent of teachers using baby talk during the first years of school.<br> <br>The maturity that <i>should</i> develop upon taking one's first job should include greater mastery of real language: effective verbal and written communication using real words, carefully chosen and clearly arranged. Compared to grammatically correct writing and speech, emoticons and chat-speak are crude pictographs and caveman grunts.<br><br>Disclaimer: I include the following quote <i>not</i> for any religious reasons (save that flame war for another day) but merely to express an idea that's worked for a long time, and one which we sadly seem to be abandoning:<br><br>"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."<br><br>At what point did we dissociate growing <b>older</b> from growing <b>up</b>?<br><br>(To forestall other predictable replies ... people who defend proper communication are <i>not</i> language-obsessed creeps like that lunatic in Arizona; we're simply people who prefer to converse with other adults <b>as</b> adults, using the best tool for the job: our language.)
      • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

        I'm sorry but you are going to have to begin to put up with GenY. Very soon they'll flood the workplace and the workplace will change. Bosses will need to handle GenY different to how they treat GenBB or else they wont get results.
        I'm a GenY and i know that i have to be mature in the workplace, if I'm sending a formal email i know how to write. If i'm sending and email maybe asking a favour or thanking someone generally i do put a ':)' at the end, does that make me a bad person or someone who acts like a child?

        Besides it's not the GenY's you have to worry about, i'd be looking out for the GenZ.
  • How about Gen-Y simply growing up?

    I find that a much better option than trying to be a "friend" rather than boss that earns respect.
  • I'm 26 (almost 27) and...

    this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! I would loose a lot of respect for my boss (and everyone else above him) if I got emails from them with emoticons.
    • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

      @safesax2002 In a conversation about communicating effectively, you said, "I would loose a lot of respect..." 'Loose' rhymes with 'moose' and is an adjective (or adverb). You meant the verb 'lose', rhymes with 'ooze'. You lose a lot of respect from your peers when you confuse 'loose' with 'lose'.
  • I don't know about the UK . . .

    but here in the US, most companies actually have corporate policies in place to prevent this kind of stuff, mainly to help the company avoid lawsuits . . .
  • I wonder how Shakespeare managed ...

    ... to "add genuine emotion" to his "ordinary, unconsidered text" without using emoticons.

    Oh, that's right. He mastered the use of the English language.

    • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

      @RationalGuy But so many people aren't.
      • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

        @zwhittaker: Yes, that much is painfully obvious.
      • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

        RationalGuy --<br><br>The last place I saw a zinger that good was in the Celestial Seasonings test kitchen.
  • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

    Emoticon users = Big...Giant...DORK!
  • So, Zack what you're saying is..

    Us 34 year old employers would do well communicating with our 20 year old employees if we wrote emails like a 12-year old girl? Who knew?
    • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

      daftkey --<br><br>According to this article, we'd apparently do even better if we <i>texted</i> them like a 12-year old girl rather than emailing.<br><br>Because, you know: email is, like, soooo totally old-skool.<br><br>Holla!
  • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

    Wait a minute...<br><br>:-( equals "gravitas?"<br><br>If so, then that's certainly a low-"gravity" environment. (Maybe you're running your company on the moon, or possibly Phobos?)<br><br>My point is that if a cutesy symbol like :-(, or even worse, one of the silly animated "frownies" automatically substituted by a lot of IM tools, <b>"doesn't reduce the seriousness of the text"</b> as Zack claims, then Gen Y workers should really learn a new definition for "serious."<br><br>Consider two examples of "frowny" use...<br><br><b>omg todd is like totaly takeing amy 2 the dance n not me - wtf????</b> :-( [sic]<br><br>- vs. -<br><br><b>Your productivity has slipped for the third month in a row. If your work declines any more, we'll need to have a serious discussion about the future of your career here at TLA Inc.</b> :-(
  • RE: Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

    I think the point of the article was to say that the older generations need to blend their way of communication with the modern communication standards if they want to get their message across effectively. Perhaps I'm in the minority here because I was born near the Gen X/Gen Y border, but I have always thought that, used with proper English, emoticons convey emotions the way a voice does, and e-mail alone never could. Churlish, your bottom example is an inappropriate use of emoticons. The message is clear from the text, and then it muddles the emotions by conveying sadness after sounding very angry. So yes, it looks bad and reduces the seriousness of the message.

    Emoticons should be used in those ambiguous situations
    where text alone could mean multiple things. For instance: "My sister is coming to stay with me this weekend." If you were speaking to this person, you would know whether they were excited or irritated or indifferent. In an e-mail, you could try to spell it all out: "My sister's coming to visit. I hate her visits. She's always criticizing me and she drives me crazy." Or you could give expression the same way you would vocally without the need to explain yourself. And, honestly, have you ever tried to convey sarcasm over an e-mail?
  • Emoticon your messages occasionally

    I agree 100%. The solution to the impaired communication skills of GenY -- dumbed down by years of texting, IMing, Tweeting (gag), and watching Jersey Shore (vomit) -- is not to coddle them further by dumbing down the workplace.
    <a href="">Dick Black</a>