Last week, we kicked off our Communicating with Millennials series by talking about the value of transparency and how to incorporate it in your compliance messaging.

But once you’ve got your message down, how should you craft the rest of the content?

Start by realizing that millennials are digital natives. We grew up with social media, where memes and emoticons do a lot of the talking. We know how to quickly scrutinize what we’re reading, and we expect content to be direct, engaging, and well-designed.

So your message is important, but so is how it looks. A quality design tells a millennial audience that you put some effort into what we’re reading, and, as a result, that the content is important.

Want millennials to read your content? Here are three approaches to try:

1. Use visuals—like images, GIFs, or short videos.

Millennials prefer to read text that is brief and effectively integrated with images and graphics, and they aren’t the only ones.

Humans are visual creatures no matter what age or generation.

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. That’s why advertising is heavily visual, and that’s why traffic signs use symbols for quick recognition. It’s no coincidence that the internet is full of visuals — online content developers know that images and videos get better ROI than other types of content.

But too often, compliance messaging begins as words on a page — and doesn’t develop much further.

Many compliance professionals are beginning to recognize the importance of visuals and are adding things like interactive, online courses to their program. But there are many other ways to incorporate visuals across all types of compliance content.

For example, Telia, a Swedish telecommunications company, recently hired branding firm Wolff Olins to explore a different, more visually-friendly way to present their Code of Conduct.

The Wolff Olins designers quickly realized the biggest challenge would be in getting employees to actually read the Code. Their solution? They distilled the content down into 17 “commandments” and created comical GIFs for each one.

You can view all of Telia's Code of Conduct GIFS at

Wherever you can in your compliance content, let visuals carry some of the weight of communication

2. Focus on design.

As you develop your content, think about the layout.

Where can you incorporate icons to help with understanding? Can you use headings and pull quotes to make the text easier to read?

Better yet: Could you convey cohesive chunks of information with an infographic? This is especially important for users who will be accessing the content on a mobile device (like millennials) — no one wants to scroll through huge bricks of text on a cell phone. In the previous point, we covered the importance of visuals. It’s no coincidence that infographics are "liked" and shared on social media 3 times more than other any other type of content.

Some of our favorite examples are the infographics Freddie Mac created on everything from insider trading to respect. Check out the examples below.

Freddie Mac built their infographics around icons and lists to make the information easy to understand.

The right design grabs employees’ attention and makes digesting and remembering the information easy.

3. Crowd-source your content.

With the web, we’ve moved away from the one-way communication of traditional broadcast media (like radio, TV, and newspaper) toward two-way communication. Millennials have grown up with this, and they expect to be a part of the conversation.

One way to get millennials to care about your compliance content is to get them involved in its creation. In a recent study, 42% of millennial respondents said they’re interested in helping companies develop future products and services.

A large number of them also create content for the web. Why not tap into that audience to create better content for your compliance program?

Of course, the lawyers on your team may have concerns about handing employees the content creation reins. What if they create something incriminating, like have a public discussion on Yammer about the price-fixing in their department? But there are many safe ways to encourage participation.

One company we know held a cover art contest for their new Code. Employees submitted entries; all employees voted (another form of participation); and the winning entry was used as the Code cover art — and the winner got a framed copy of their art with a nice note from the CEO!

Similarly, when a trucking company feared its annual safety training was going in one ear and out the other, they held an employee video contest. This one won:

As you can imagine, this got way more interest and uptake than yet another safety video.

What other techniques have helped you engage millennial employees? Let us know in the comments!

This is part 2 of a series. Look for part 3 in the coming weeks!