With millennial employees now ascendant in workplaces across the land, managers are grappling with how to hire, retain and engage them. In our new continuing series, Anna Fitzpatrick answers our burning questions about how to approach this exotic species of office fauna.

We hear millennials fear calling—cold or otherwise. Why are you so scared of talking on the phone?

Photo: Roberto Caruso

Photo: Roberto Caruso

Better question: Why do people who prefer talking on the phone hate telegrams so much? And what does everybody have against carrier pigeons?

Sure, a recent Gallup poll found that people under 30 are much more likely to use their cellphones to text rather than to talk. (And landlines? Fuggedaboutit.) But this is just the next step in a long tradition of new technologies replacing the old.

“[Phone calls] can be inconvenient; they require both parties to be free simultaneously,” reasons Jenna Wortham, a writer for New York Times Magazine who covers tech and digital culture. While the phone still works for longer conversations or pre-scheduled meetings, it’s just a time suck when you have to correspond with dozens of people a day.

So it’s not the phone itself we dislike: It’s the inefficiency.

This article is from the June 2016 issue of Canadian Business. Subscribe now!

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Are your millennial employees afraid of the phone? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below.

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