The workplace is changing, especially as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age and more Millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000) enter the scene. According to an article in Entrepreneur, the Millennial Generation (also known as Generation Y) will make up nearly half of the US workforce by 2020. That’s right around the corner! Those witnessing the shift are well aware of the significant generational differences at play.
As digital natives, Millennials are looking for different things upon entering a workplace than their Boomer counterparts once were. As they enter the ranks and begin to climb, it’s important for business leaders to accept and accommodate their preferences. The most millennial-friendly companies have a focus on technological innovations (including cloud-based technology and document management systems), flexible work schedules, and more rewarding work. Further, the Millennial workforce is looking for a specific company culture.
Here are some of the Millennial workforce’s characteristics and their implications on recruiting, engagement, and retention. These are all vetted by this blog post’s author, a proud Millennial.
Face it, some of your most experienced employees are going to be replaced someday by Millennials. This kind of turnover has happened to every generation before the Boomers, and it will continue to happen to every new generation that comes down the pipe. By nature, the Millennials are less experienced (because they’re younger), and there are fewer of them. But there’s good news! If your processes are electronic and automated, Millennials already possess the technical skillset to learn them quickly. While the changeover from paper-based processes to computer-based processes might have been difficult for some, they will not be difficult for your Millennial workforce to pick up. After all, this generation was born with computers in their homes, and they had cellular phones long before they earned their driver’s licenses. If you don’t have a document management system in place, that is a good place to start.
Importance of Culture
The culture of your business is of high importance to the Millennial generation. Think about the rising emphasis on the culture of Millennial-friendly companies like Google, Zappos, Twitter, and Facebook. Whether you’re a tech company or used car lot, it’s important to think about the culture of your team and how they work together. When it comes to Millennials, they’re looking for a culture that includes collaboration, flexibility, and innovation. When you employ automation technology, it helps communicate to potential employees that you have a Millennial-friendly work culture. If you’re wondering how this can affect your bottom line and your company in the long term, think about recruiting. When a Millennial is faced with the choice between several different job opportunities, he or she is likely to consider the company culture as the deciding factor.
Whether at work or at home, Millennials want to feel engaged. Growing up in a high-tech world of instant gratification, they have short attention spans, but that doesn’t mean that they are not willing to work hard and learn. What is does mean is that training programs and office processes may need to be escalated to account for their speedy uptake. While the status quo may be acceptable to long-standing employees, your future workforce is going to rally behind more progressive practices.
Process automation and cloud-based technology allow for a more flexible workplace. When they are stored in the cloud rather than in physical filing cabinets, documents and processes are collaborative and accessible from any device with an internet connection. Employees can be mobile. They can work from home. They can travel. Have you ever found that sometimes you do your best work in the most surprising location – maybe a coffee shop, your living room, or even your bathroom? Well, the Millennial workforce has discovered the same thing. The clear line that once existed between the “workplace” and “home” has been blurred by ever-present mobile devices. A cloud-based workspace is something that digital natives expect from your company.
With technology like Amazon’s 1-click ordering and Instagram’s easy-to-use photo editing and sharing platform, it’s no wonder that the Millennial workforce can appear to have a short attention span. The truth of the matter is that they are a generation that expects to do high-level, engaging work. As digital natives, they are accustomed to being able to share information with the touch of a button, without having to do any manual work on the back end. If you print off a stack of electronic invoices and ask a Millennial employee to file them, she is going to 1) wonder why you don’t have a document management system in place and 2) feel like her potential is being undervalued, as this is a job that a machine can do. Millennial-friendly companies are those that are able to task their workforce with rewarding, higher-value work, not busywork like data entry and document filing.
Since the Millennial takeover is inevitable and is already afoot within many organizations, it may be time for your organization to consider the above suggestions if you haven’t already. The sooner you make the switch to cloud-based technology, like document management and workflow software, the sooner your business will become a Millennial-friendly workplace, able to recruit the best and the brightest from the emerging Millennial workforce.