As a younger generation of workers become a majority in the workplace, companies are starting to realise that technology is a huge factor on whether staff stay content – or whether they stay at all!
So what insights can I offer to help keep millennials connected with their aspirations – and equally importantly, your business?
Expectations of a Generation
Julien Codorniou, Vice President at Workplace by Facebook, says: “They’re not only bringing their devices into the workplace, they’re also bringing their expectations.”
When Julien talks about expectations, he does not hold the classic opinion that millennials are entitled etc. What he means here is that since they have grown up with technology rapidly evolving along side them, they understand that things can (and should) be automated, or at least digitalised.
Having an app for everything has encouraged digitalisation amongst the younger generations. For instance, I have never written a shopping list on a piece of paper, only as an iPhone note. For an even more dramatic example, my other (read better) half has never even had to read a physical map, or even print direction from google maps (you know, before you could just use your phone?).
As I well know, these “expectations” can easily cause frustrations, and an unhappy work force is an inefficient one.
“More than half of millennials are already thinking about their next job opportunity because they feel stagnant and underutilized.”
And when they are looking for that next job opportunity, they should know what to look for in a team that will inspire them to grow and encourage them to expand their abilities to their advantage.
I highly doubt a millennial looking for a job in 2020 will take a job at a company that issues 2010 hardware running 2000 software over a fresher, faster option. In that respect, they will also be glossing over any job descriptions that include repetitive, menial work (such as manually processing paper invoices) and will likely think negatively of a company when they find out the volume of paper they rinse through every month.
Automation: Solution or Problem?
Celonis co-founder and CEO, Alexander Rinke, explains: “Recent developments in robotics and machine learning have put us on the cusp of a new age of automation, and the anxiety around job loss continues to build. But is this concern being felt by all generations? For the younger workforce, automation may be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Digitalisation, with automation, is a great proponent for flexible working. For example, an accounts payable clerk whose role previously would be to type information from a paper invoice into a finance system and then file the piece of paper, can now work from home. As the invoice data gets pumped into the system via email, or scanned by the mail room, they can concentrate on building great relationships with suppliers, securing early payment discounts.
Natalie Bishop, account manager at BlueSky PR, explains: “We millennials have grown up in a culture where time is a commodity, so wasting it feels wrong”
Everything is available instantaneously in our private lives: Netflix, YouTube, FaceTime, FaceBook, Spotify etc. When something should be fast to deliver, but it isn’t, it can feel like a waste of time.
Millennials are also a generation in tune with the environment. Showing a millennial footage of paper and plastic sitting in a landfill is like showing a vegetarian footage of lambs being slaughtered. Recycling is a big factor in the life of a millennial, but why recycle when you can not create the waste to begin with? For documents, at least, this can be completed through digitalisation.
“If using a new technology means that I can spend more time at work on meaningful tasks and get better results, my productivity and work-life balance can only get better. This is important to me.”
This is a powerful statement. Improved work-life balance is probably at the top of everybody’s list, but the acknowledgement that this can be achieved through digital transformation is potentially where the line is drawn between the expectations (mentioned earlier by Julien Codorniou) of Millennials, and those of elder generations.