By 2025, millennials (Generation Y) will make up around 75% of the workforce. This new wave of people are not only tech savvy, but are accustomed to being connected anywhere, at any time. Unlike the generations before them, they: can’t recall life before the Internet, have always had a mobile phone, share their photos via Instagram and communicate with friends and family via Facebook and Twitter.
In fact, according to a recent survey from Nielson, when asked what makes their generation unique, millennials ranked “Technology Use” first (24%). To leverage this emerging tech-savvy workforce, enterprises need to critically think through current technology resources and polices to bridge generational gaps and attract new talent. If accomplished, enterprises can leverage new strengths emanating from this growing proportion of the workforce.
As Gen Y eventually transitions into leadership positions, engraining their habits and practices in enterprise technology and policy becomes even more important. Businesses that provide communication and technology resources that leverage millennial talent will arguably have a much stronger chance of pulling ahead of their competition.
With improvements in mobile and cloud technologies, today’s enterprise-grade telecommunication solutions can provide focus to both minimise and leverage the generational divide. In order to meet the demands of the millennial workforce we have seen businesses reassess social media integration within marketing, PR and sales processes, as well as telecommuting and flexible work. In order to fully embrace the millennial workforce, enterprises should:
1. Satisfy An Insatiable Need For Information
Growing up with social media, mobile phones, and the Internet has taught millennials to become experts at information finding. Not only published information, but communication driven information. Millennials expect immediate access to information through “online” platforms or mobile devices, whether through Instant Messaging or social crowdsourcing.
Enterprises can support this by providing communications practices and services which encourage access to information across organisational barriers (i.e., Intranets, Instant Messaging & Presence services, etc.). In addition to accessible information and instant communication, provide the ability to collaborate, share information, and build on the ideas of others (i.e., video conferencing, web collaboration, desktop sharing).
2. Leverage A Tech Savvy Nature & Intuition
Research has shown millennials will be the first to test and implement new communication services in their daily work routines. Take advantage of Gen Y’s technical creativity while imagining and integrating future IT deployments.
Many of today’s Unified Communication features have been in use by Gen Y even before the services became known to the enterprise. Be sure to experiment with new telecommunication technologies rather than sticking with what’s known and comfortable. Who knows, listening to Gen Y ideas and understanding just may increase communication efficiency.
3. Provide Flexibility
As tech-savvy multi-taskers, it makes sense millennials are extremely mobile. Millennials have a marked ‘desire for flexibility and the freedom to work anywhere, on the go, and on a device rather than a desktop’. At the same time, they are ‘likely to take advantage and extend the use of’ communication technologies, whether interacting internally, externally or globally, with customers or suppliers and vendors.
Millennials are joining the workforce as globalisation and the acceleration of virtual organisations take place. As a generation who grew up communicating on mobile devices, from anywhere, they will be well suited to thrive in these types of environments. Allowing millennials their desired flexibility is a way to retain their skillset, yet providing the communication technologies required to succeed in a remote work environment is a must.
Technologies such as Unified Communications, hosted communication services (such as web collaboration and video), integrated with mobile, can achieve this. This also supports the success of dispersed and globalised organisations and workforces.
From business processes, to policies, to product and service advancements, Gen Y promises to impact businesses from all fronts, when provided with the resources and technology to do so. Once millennial talent and telecommunication technology is fully realised, the speed of communication and information resource availability will become integrated into nearly every aspect of the work environment and significantly speed the progress of a business.
Gen X will find continued success, along with the millennials, only if we find methods to embrace the next generation’s curiosity, find ways to harness their enthusiasm, and determine how best to apply their learnings to our products, services, and processes. Enterprise grade tools to enable millennials’ communications are already transforming enterprises, and those that strongly integrate it into every aspect of the organisation will find the most success.