In 2017 in America, there are roughly 79.8 million Millennials with ages ranging from 20-37, including a large amount of immigrants. This can be attributed to the fact that most immigrants entering the United States are young adults, of working age. In fact, over half of the immigrants that came to America between 2000-2005 were Millennials.
No matter where they come from, Millennials are a highly educated, always-connected majority that come to the workplace with high expectations about technology and how companies should do business.
For a generation that was raised on the Internet, they live, eat, and breathe technology. They are used to being plugged into the world 24/7, with instantaneous access to all the information, tools and communication they need and desire – regardless of where they are.
What they are not used to, nor will accept, are limitations on connectivity, or the free exchange of data, files, and resources due to outdated or inaccessible technology.
According to WIRED’s Enterprise Information Landscape study, Millennials were more frustrated than other workforce sectors about time spent searching for documents, not knowing who to go to regarding specific task or project information, and having to dig around for colleagues’ contact information.
Some companies struggle to address the technological demands that Millennials insist on in order to perform their work quickly and efficiently. So how can you tell if your company’s technology is cramping your Millennial employees’ style? Here are a few signs.
- They Created a More Efficient System in 15 Minutes with Google Docs As a testament to their ingenuity (and complete disinclination to be tethered to outdated modes of operation), Millennials will either attempt to solve their own problems, or create their own work-around solutions to cope with inefficient technology.
- They Can’t Find The App Through The App Store (Because It Doesn’t Exist) To a generation that has never NOT had cell phones, their love affair with, and reliance upon, apps continues to deepen. In fact, a recent study shows that Millennials spend 90 hours every month using apps on their smartphones. If there’s an app to perform a function they need, they’ll find it.
- They Ask If The System Can Text Reminders When asked if they’d rather lose the ability to call or text, an overwhelming majority of Millennials say they prefer texting – according to a recent survey by OpenMarket. This survey also revealed that three-fourths of Millennials consider text reminders to be helpful.
- They Always Borrow Your Pen And Stapler (Because they Don’t Own Their Own) Millennials clearly have their own way of working, and are accustomed to non-traditional tools to get the job done.
- They are constrained in face-to-face customer meetings and suffer through collaborating with team members with incomplete information Most Millennials are most comfortable communicating via online meetings and chat apps. Yet when necessity dictates they participate in what they may consider an old-fashioned sit down, they will need easy access to information and efficient collaborative channels.
WIRED’s study revealed that Millennials will be more likely than other generational work groups to use cloud-based technology such as Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud. What’s more, they enjoy getting the chance to flex their innovative muscles by pitching in and devising creative solutions to technological challenges.
However, this is not the best option for the enterprise as a whole. Millennials taking matters into their own hands by creating spreadsheets in Google Docs, for example, can wreak havoc on a company’s security and proprietary content.
More and more, Millennials require tools and resources on their smartphones, and to a lesser degree, on their tablets. Enterprise-level upgrades in technology such as mobile software for tablets and smartphones must be implemented to comprehensively satisfy Millennials’ signature m.o. – which has earned them the “facedown generation” nickname.
As a preferred method of communication among Millennials, texting reminders not only keeps the majority of your workforce on time and prepared, it can save money and improve efficiency across your enterprise.
For this group of workers who grew up using computers to complete assignments and write reports in school, googled instead of looking in a dictionary or encyclopedia, and finds keeping track of anything with pen and paper old fashioned, paperless solutions to everyday tasks are must.
Collaboration is a big deal to Millennials, yet 71% report challenges in that area, according to the BPW Foundation. And with Information-age.com reporting that “Legacy file sharing systems that don’t allow access to smart technology is potentially the biggest barrier to collaboration in the modern office,” poor collaboration methods pose problems not only for Millennials, but for the entire enterprise.
A lack of easily accessible collaborative tools prevents all team members from being fully prepared and informed. You risk losing engagement if Millennials aren’t equipped to provide the correct feedback to customers or add value to a team of peers.
Offering real-time collaboration tools accessible to every team member assigned to a project is the logical upgrade to legacy content management systems that restrict efficiency for Millennials and other generational work groups.
Arming your entire workforce with complete customer details puts the power of good customer service in the palm of their hands.
A study conducted by Ernst & Young of 1,200 professionals in management and non-management roles found that 75% of managers cited “managing multi-generational teams as a challenge.”
Use Your Millennials’ Instincts To Take You To The Leading Edge
Instead of automatically dismissing your Millennials’ trust in technology to be able to provide solutions to your company’s challenges, listen to what their instincts are telling them, and explore all options. They represent a new way of thinking and doing that is highly-tuned to the world of connectivity and technology.
Remember – you can’t fight the tide. It’s better to get on top of the technology wave to ensure that everyone gets safely to shore.
Check out these three tips on how to create a Millennial-Friendly Workplace.
Signs Your Company’s Technology Is Holding Back Your Millennial Workforce by Mike Pandl