How millennials push their employers to move to better technologies
Millennials – sigh…everyone loves to gang up on millennials. They are impatient; short attention spans; too demanding. Whether that is true in life (and as a millennial I say it isn’t!) it can certainly be true in the way millennials interact with technology. Millennials grew up with computers and cell phones so they are used to using technology to make things simpler. This also means millennials aren’t as wowed by technology and expect a lot more from it. A millennial will abandon a web page if it takes too long to load or isn’t visually appealing, will prefer texting to calling, and will google rather then ask a question. This has led companies to change the way they do business, from offering online ordering of pizza to instant messaging customer service. But millennials aren’t just your customers they are your employees. Millennials currently make up the largest workforce in Canada, so like it or not you may need to make some of those same changes for your internal organization.
Here are some ways you can use the lessons learned from your millennial customers for your millennial employees:
- Put it online- on demand access is key for millennials who tend not to keep to strict working hours as other generations have. Most companies have an intranet site for HR forms, benefit information, policies ect. Use these spots for things like e-learning, video demos, or provide other information to keep your millennials engaged.
- Make it interactive- it isn’t enough to just have a location where you place resources online, those resources need to serve a purpose and allow the user to interact. Things like forms that are submitted at the push of a button rather than completed and attached to an email are far more user friendly and efficient.
- Make it easy, streamlined and attractive. There is a saying regarding millennials - everything I want, nothing I don’t. Millennials are so good with technology there can sometimes be a misguided sense that they can just ‘figure it out’. The truth is yes, they probably can figure out where to find the info they need, or a way to work through a glitchy website- but they won’t. Keep in mind millennials come from a world of technology competing, so if one website isn’t working they will just abandon it for a better experience. Make sure the steps required for any task are clear and upfront, only provide the information needed, and avoid pages with too much scrolling.
- Consider mobile. With any software developed consider the mobile experience. A Gallup research report found that 85% of millennials use the internet on their phone rather than a laptop1, so ensure you have a mobile experience to match your desktop experience.
- Know when technology won’t work. There is a misconception that technology is all millennials are interested in, which isn’t the case. Millennials look to technology to make their work simpler, but they still look to their workplace as a place for emotional connection. That same Gallup research report found that millennial employees are more engaged and satisfied in the workplace when they have regular feedback and meetings with their managers.
Before you bemoan the changes you might need to make I suggest this- it’s a good thing. Millennials reach for technology first but by doing so they are helping you create internal efficiencies. On-line absence reporting doesn’t just save you from having to field phone calls, it allows you to automatically notify anyone affected by an absence, ensure proper coverage all while tracking the data allowing you to find trends- with no additional work. Beyond that, while it may be millennials that push you to develop new technologies they are really just the catalyst for change that everyone can enjoy. Facebook may have been started for college kids, but now even your grandpa post status updates.
1 “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” (2016) Gallup.com http://www.gallup.com/reports/189830/millennials-work-live.aspx
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