According to a recent study, millennials are the largest growing generation in the workforce. This generation of workers is flexible, team-focused, creative, entrepreneurial, and an asset to businesses large and small. By 2030, it’s predicted that this internet native, tech-savvy workforce will represent 75% of our working population.
To make the most out of this switched-on generation, businesses need to understand that millennials are used to being immersed in technology and always being connected. After all, this is a generation that has little to no memory of the world before the internet and has 24-hr access to it on their smartphone. Thanks to the rise of the cloud, social media, and unlimited wifi access, millennials are used to connecting with people all over the world.
What they’re not used to are being restricted by outdated IT and the limitations that comes with it.
Millennials will not accept the argument: “that’s how we’ve always done it”
Millennials aren’t prepared to put up with outdated technology with poor functionality. Working in separate silos, unable to communicate and collaborate goes against the way they see the world. File sharing and communications tools are so fundamental to the way millennials deal with day-to-day activities, that going to work can feel like stepping back into the Stone Age. There is a wealth of online tools available to businesses that give them access to technology that millennials have come to expect. So, while legacy systems represent the bedrock of many business structures, this does not have to remain the case and millennials will not accept the argument: “that’s how we’ve always done it”.
A study by technology company Huddle revealed a number of universal frustrations in business technology that highlight the danger of this kind of thinking.
- Searching for documents: 28% of the total sample base found this frustrating versus 38% of 18 – 24 year olds;
- Figuring out who has specific information about a project: 17% of the total sample base compared to 33% of 18-24 year olds;
- Trying to find co-workers’ contact details: 10% versus 24% of 18–24 year olds, and 14% of 25-31 year olds.
The study clearly demonstrates that poor IT systems frustrate everyone, but particularly millennials. To attract millennials to your business, your organisation needs to be rolling out intuitive IT services that encourage collaboration, easy access and flexible working opportunities.
The UK is falling woefully behind other countries in offering flexible working
If your business is prepared to offer flexible working opportunities, you will look very attractive to millennials. Flexible working models have a proven track record of increasing productivity. Studies have shown that 83% of businesses agree that adopting flexible working had resulted in improvements in productivity. Plus, the UK is falling woefully behind other countries in offering flexible working. An analysis of more than 5 million UK job adverts by Timewise found that less than 9% of vacancies for decently paid jobs even offer flexible working. Flexible working is the very antithesis of traditional desk-shackled silo working that embraces millennials’ expectations of flexibility, freedom and technology. If you want your business to stand out of the crowd, you should embrace millennials’ expectations of flexibility and freedom by adopting flexible working.
Millennials are hungry to grow and learn on the job
As an inquisitive and entrepreneurial generation, millennials value the benefits of personal growth. When asked about the value of personal development, 52% of millennials said that opportunities for career progression made an employer more attractive, while 65% said that an opportunity for personal development was the most influential factor of their current job. Millennials are hungry to grow and learn on the job, so if you they’ll flock to you if you can invest in them and help them learn. Investing in millennials will require coupling structural assignments and frequent feedback with opportunities for them to learn, grow and contribute. Millennials want to work in an environment that is comfortable and inspires them to contribute without fear of being criticised.
Millennials are more adaptable, creative, independent and ambitious than any generation that preceded them. To maximise their talents, they must be given freedom and flexibility to unleash their true potential.
Written by Brad Girtz, MRS Digital.