Jason Dorsey

Win the millennials, win the future

The generation is changing the world and these changes will only accelerate.

April 22, 2016

Millennials are going to turn the financial services industry upside down, said generational expert/researcher Jason Dorsey.

Changes are starting now and they’re only going to accelerate, Dorsey told credit union leaders at the 2016 CSCU Solutions Conference in Orlando.

“We are up for grabs and whoever gets us, wins,” Dorsey said of his generational cohorts, the largest, most diverse generation in U.S. history.

Dorsey offered these insights to help credit unions connect with and influence millennials:

1. Generations have different relationships with technology

That explains a lot of the frustrations older generations have with millennials.

“Everyone has a different relationship with technology and that is largely driven by our age,” Dorsey said. “Technology is only new if you remember it the way it was before. Otherwise, it is all you have ever known.”

2. Millennials often feel entitled

But you have to be raised that way, it doesn’t just happen.

“Entitlement as a behavior is 100% learned,” he said.

Baby boomers, the parents of millennials, raised their children hoping to make things easier for them than they had it growing up.

3. Parenting defines behaviors

How you’re raised is the greatest indicator of what you will do in the workforce and how you approach your finances, Dorsey said.

4. The millennial generation is splitting into two groups

One group of millennials is progressing in work and life, “doing everything we were told we were supposed to do.”

The other group, however, is still struggling to find jobs and to get real-world traction.

As these groups separate, they find it harder to relate to each other.

5. Delayed adulthood is becoming a reality

The age in which millennials advance in their lives by getting driver’s licenses, getting married, having children, and making large purchases is often several years later than previous generations.

6. Millennials have a different concept of diversity

The generation is more diverse than any previous generation.

"We are so diverse that we do not see diversity until it is absent,” Dorsey said.

7. College debt affects choices

Millennials have more college degrees and more college debt than anyone. It is a factor in their relationships, spending, and career decisions. Millennials talk about their student loan debt on dates. “These are actual conversation topics,” he said.

8. Millennials are valuable to credit unions

Millennials have the greatest value of any members you can acquire today.

"If you do a good job with us, you'll get all of our friends,” Dorsey said. That’s because millennials are the most likely to refer others to your institution.

9. Millennials are not tech-savvy

Everybody assumes young people are tech-savvy because they’re on their phones all the time. But they’re better classified as “tech-dependent.”

How something works isn’t that important to them. “We don’t know how it works or why it works. We just expect it to work with the fewest clicks and buttons as possible,” Dorsey said.

10. Millennials communicate differently

Their preferred methods of communication, in order, are text message, email, and social media.

“Real friends don’t call,” Dorsey joked.

11. Millennials want to feel important to you

“Every millennial thinks they’re unique and special,” Dorsey said.

You should literally tell them they’re “unique, special, and one of a kind,” he said. “It works like magic. The biggest turn off for millennials is to be treated like a number,” or just another member.

12. Millennials are not linear thinkers

If you are walking a millennial through a five-step process, start with step five and work backwards. That's because millennials are outcome-driven.

“Millennials are massively compliant if you show them the outcome first," Dorsey said.

13. Millennials are visual learners

If millennials don’t understand your dress code, show them a picture.

Provide specific examples of what you expect from them, and  use visuals in your training.

“They will learn faster and then you can hold them accountable,” he said.

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