Millennials are now the largest and most diverse generation around the world, surpassing the baby boomers. By 2020, they will account for 50% of the workforce globally. It’s no wonder that with this staggering number, there is a cultural revolution occurring within workplaces around the world. Millennials are a new breed of employees, injecting new ways of thinking and forcing their older counterparts to adapt to a new culture within the organization.
So who are millennials? Born in the early 80s to early 2000s, this massive group is beginning to make its voice heard in every possible arena. They come with ideas of what they want and when they want it. Millennials are loyal to tried, tested and true brands and to communicating through whatever digital channels makes the most sense. Even before millennial professionals enter the workforce, there is an emerging trend of negotiating with their prospective employers, be it on their working hours, or digital preferences including choice of devices and apps. This group projects a confidence from the get-go that other generations did not possess and it’s an accurate indicator of things to come in the workplace.
When they enter the workforce, millennials tend to be more self-sufficient, expressing the desire to self-manage their workload. This type of mentality is leading organizations, whether voluntarily or not, to rethink the way they are doing business with their employees. More companies are beginning to offer flexible work schedules, a better work-life balance, transparency and new digital tools, all in hope that it will allow employees to communicate effectively and efficiently and be more productive in the long run. There is a greater demand for digital collaboration tools such as Skype, Slack, Google chat and other peer-to-peer programs by millennials because they prefer the immediate conversation rather than the inconvenience and slowness of emails.
Raised in a technologically advanced era, millennials are capable of managing an array of applications with the ease of a seasoned juggler. Their expectations of technology are unforgiving as they actively seek out ways to maximize the efficiency of their time. Studies indicate that a large percentage of millennials are using their personal devices at work without company clearance and as a result, it is now leading CIOs to encourage employees to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) into the organization. By implementing BYOD, companies are investing heavily in resources to ensure there is seamless integration of technologies used both in the workplace and for personal use by its employees without any significant digital disruption. With BYOD and other forms of communication including face-to-face interaction, this ambitious group is hoping to achieve the ultimate work-life balance. They want it all and they are not shy regarding their intentions.
This new attitude is placing organizations in a precarious position of balancing the old with the new. Facing challenges dealing with the cultural shifts introduced by this group - a generation that sneers on the hierarchical structure of the workplace - employers are seeking ways to create harmonious working environments for its employees. Organizations are more aware than ever that effective communication is paramount when dealing with cross-generational employees with differing mindsets and ethics. With that in mind, some companies are beginning to implement digital collaboration tools within their marketing departments to encourage open dialogue with their employees. Others have imposed a one day a week internal email ban to facilitate face-to-face discussions with peers. All in hopes of providing a cohesive work environment for all its employees.
Gen X employees are finding this new way of doing business either exciting or challenging. Organizations are hoping that welcoming change within the workplace will allow employees to broaden their experiences by learning from their peers. This is even more obvious with the injection of tech-savvy millennials. They are introducing the workplace to new technologies, they are subject matter experts when it comes to Snapchat, Instagram and other apps. In return, millennials are learning from their older counterparts about the nitty-gritty of the job.
Slowly but surely, employers are beginning to say goodbye to old business practices, along with the 9 to 5 workday and companies such as Capgemini are offering organizations the ability to empower its employees with the ultimate seamless and secured user experience. Millennials are in effect the evolution of the business world. The changing of the guard is in effect. For you see, there’s a new kid in town dictating the future and culture in the workplace – the millennial. And, there’s a new way to describe the structure of that workplace – flexible.
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.