This year, for the first time, the millennial generation will surpass the baby-boomer generation to make up the highest percentage of the workforce.
According to Jamie Gutfreund, chief strategy officer for the Intelligence Group, 86 million millennials will be in the workplace by 2020, representing a full 40 per cent of the total working population.
While the implications of this for businesses might not be apparent, millennials (those aged 18 – 24 years) and baby boomers (those aged 50-plus years) are characterised by different skills, attitudes and technical abilities that impact the way they act and interact in the workplace. The knock-on effect for businesses is huge, impacting everything from the way businesses communicate with employees to the tools they invest in to help employees do their jobs.
But it’s not as black-and-white as saying millennials are tech experts and boomers are technophobes. While boomers are tech-savvy, having learned digital skills in the workplace as tech capabilities evolved, millennials have grown up in a digital world and rarely see a difference in the technology they use personally versus professionally. What’s separating the two demographics is their digital proficiency - the result of growing up immersed in a digital world as opposed to learning how to use technology in the workplace.
In this article, Dave Paulding, UK Regional Director for Interactive Intelligence, looks at the impact millennials are having on workplace technology, and how cloud services for communications and collaboration can help create an inclusive work environment for all employees regardless of age.
How millennials are reshaping today’s workplace
Among other prominent characteristics, millennials, who have come of age in the text message and social media era, demand real-time tools and flexibility from employers. In fact, research shows that 81 per cent of millennials think they should be allowed to set their own hours at work, compared to only 69 per cent of boomers.
Connected devices paired with cloud technology have revolutionised what it means to work remotely, with employees now able to access emails and their entire workplace network from any location, on any device, at any time.
On top of this, millennials favour fast-paced work environments and lots of communication and transparency. No easy feat for businesses!
It’s clear that one of the quickest ways to turn millennials away from your workplace - and toward the competition - is by denying them modern, real-time, anytime/anywhere communications apps. The question is, should businesses be implementing cutting-edge technology at the expense of the other 60 per cent of the workforce?
Striking the right balance with the right cloud solution
The simple answer is no. Today, solutions exist that optimise the skill-sets of both generations using single-platform, multi-use cloud architecture for flexible and cost-effective services.
These solutions are built on a single, enterprise-grade cloud platform capable of running multiple communications and collaboration services - from standard voice services like faxing and audio conferencing, to group chat, video conferencing and document sharing.
These services can be deployed on an as-used basis, quickly scaled up or down, and are built with critical security and reliability features in mind. Equally important, as a multi-use platform, businesses enjoy simplified deployment and administration across all device types resulting in increased operational efficiencies and reduced costs.
It’s good to know that businesses no longer have to piece together multiple solutions to support the varied communications and collaboration needs of millennials and boomers. So don’t wait.
By deploying the right cloud solution, businesses can give all generations what they want for increased productivity, higher employee retention, and reduced costs.
Dave Paulding, UK Regional Director for Interactive Intelligence