Millennials are the fastest growing generation in the workplace and it is estimated that by 2020 they will account for approximately 50% of the global workforce. This new generation is coming in with different views and approaches to working. Businesses that have hit a slump may find that the fresh ideas and alternate perspectives millennials are bringing to the table might just reinvigorate them. So what positive workplace practices can we learn from millennials?
Unlike the generations before them, millennials have been brought up with technology at their fingertips. They are used to having access to information almost instantly and from many different sources. This attitude towards technology appears to also branch out into their working world. A report by PwC found that three-quarters of the millennials in their study believed that access to technology made them more effective at work.
Understanding how your business can embrace new technologies has many benefits. With the use of mobile devices employees can be connected anywhere, anytime. In the palm of their hand, they send and receive emails, hold Skype conferences and even digitally manage their expenses. Productivity, therefore, has no boundaries and work can be as flexible as you need it to be.
Applying a flexible working style within your business means that you can retain or even attract valuable employees who prefer a remote working style. You can even employ individuals who do not work in the same country as you, giving you access to a much greater pool of talent. This may be a good attitude to start adopting as Ernest & Young’s found that 56% of millennials would prefer to choose when they work and 79% prefer to be mobile when working.
This ‘virtual’ office attitude has largely been made possible by the development of cloud technologies. With a central platform that can be accessed anywhere, employees are no longer glued to their desks and can work where they need to. Employing this working style within your business may even increase productivity levels. A study by Deloitte found that millennials regarded a flexible working style as supporting greater productivity and employee engagement.
Cloud technology also has many other advantages compared to in-house infrastructure. One very popular advantage to cloud-based solutions is that you can scale up your business with ease. No need to buy more servers, just buy more cloud storage. No need to extend your office for new employees as many can now work partly or wholly at home.
There is another very important aspect to bear in mind when it comes to adopting millennial attitudes to working. Millennials are not just a growing part of your workforce, but also your customer base too. Just as these employees will respond to these new changes, you will also find that this starts to mirror how your customers interact. Flexibility and embracing technology are just as important to those buying a product or service as to those looking for a new job. When it comes to customer support, for example, digital channels such as social media and live chat options are becoming increasingly popular. This may reflect the need for a dynamic and digitally focused change in the way that we interact with businesses.
You may be asking yourself why the real need for change? Many companies have been functioning in a similar way for years and still remain successful. However, these changes can help really set your company apart in a world where competition is harder than ever. Chances are if I asked you to pick today’s most progressive and innovative companies, Facebook, Twitter and Spotify would be pretty high on the list. What do these companies have in common? They were all started by millennials.