IT as a Differentiator – Attracting Millennials in the Work and Market Places
I am the proud parent of 3 children ages 14, 17, and 23…
Bear with me for just a bit before you stop reading because the voice in your head is saying “What do the ages of his children have to do with technology or my business?”
What it has to do with your business is that, as of 2017, more than one-in-three American labor force participants (35%) are Millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. My oldest child is one of them, and I have had the pleasure of having her at home for a short spell as she transitions into a new job. During this time I had the pleasure of contrasting how differently she and my wife (who also working) use technology, and how drastically different their use of technology at work and at home really are. (As a side note, I used my wife as a contrasting example because I am a self-proclaimed geek and am not your typical Generation X workforce participant.)
Below are a few of the major differences I noted and corroborated with a little research:
- Lost phone
- Gen X – Not to worry, I can find it later.
- Millennial – My connection to the world is lost and I must find it now!
- Work provided devices
- Gen X – Cool, one less thing to worry about.
- Millennial – Why can’t I use mine? I know it and can get things done faster on it.
- New Applications/Updates
- Gen X – Okay, but this will take a little while to get used to.
- Millennial – Sweet! This does so much more, and it’s faster!
- Social Media
- Gen X – Check Facebook before bed and maybe at lunch.
- Millennial – Gets notified on pop-ups and their wearables as soon as something posts. Also, post and monitor on Snapchat and Instagram. Facebook is for old people now.
- Shopping Online
- Gen X – Will buy apparel and such …after looking at it in a store.
- Millennial – Will buy everything they can online. Go to stores to hang with friends, but not serious shopping.
- Laptop vs Smartphone/Tablet
- Gen X – Laptops for work, every time (except for simple texting and calls.)
- Millennial – Doesn’t matter, as long as it is not a spreadsheet or writing a paper.
- Work Hours
- Gen X – 45-50 hours a week in the office
- Millennial – 45-50 hours a week, from wherever unless there is a face to face meeting (which could have been done on video anyway.)
…and the list goes on.
So why is this important? If you want to attract Millennials to your business as customers or employers, you need to give them the tools they grew up with. Why is this a challenge? Most security standards/policies and business workflows are not tuned to working from anywhere, on any device, at any time.
So, as an organization, what should you be doing to be sure you are “of interest” to the largest part of the workforce and a growing part of your marketplace?
#1 – Have stable and reliable IT. The #1 pet peeve of Millennials is not being connected, or losing valuable time due to slow connectivity. Solid wireless and web performance is a must!
#2 – Have security policies and tools that allow for secure BYOD and remote access. Do not be OS or platform specific.
# 3 – Tune your applications to cross platform use, and use from anywhere. Yes, cloud is probably a good idea.
#4 – Have policies and tools that allow effective communication and marketing on social media, both internally and externally.
#5 – Promote use of video, for business and marketing.
#6 – Adapt and upgrade. Old tools and legacy user experiences are a huge turn off.
So, in summary, secure, reliable, fast IT with cloud capabilities are all critical to your ability to attract and retain both employees and customers, as far as Millennials are concerned. That means IT is now likely the core your businesses whether you think so or not. Treat IT that way :).
Noel Barber is a veteran of the IT industry and serves as the Vice President of Professional Services at ABS. In addition to staying on top of industry trends and changes, Noel works to ensure ABS continuously brings the best technology solutions to our clients.