Generation Y employers: Emoticon your messages occasionally

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.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

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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.

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