As we discussed last week, millennials are changing the way we think about work. As they enter the workforce en masse, they’re bringing with them new attitudes, technology and ideas. In order to attract talented up-and-coming millennials, employers must adopt forward-thinking policies that accommodate their unique needs. IDG Research Services surveyed IT managers and identified several key ways companies can adapt to the needs of millennials.
1. Mobile here, mobile there, mobile everywhere
In the survey IT managers already noticed millennials changing the nature of work. Most obviously, they’ve made mobile tech the norm, rather than the exception. Mobile compatibility is now an essential component of every major tech company’s game plan (arguably the same is true for all companies, not just IT companies.) Whether that means adopting mobile-friendly websites, making documents mobile-accessible, or enabling remote workplaces, it’s impossible to deny the impact mobile technologies have had in tech. Over half of IT managers surveyed (60%) said they plan to increase their investment in mobile technologies over the next year.
2. The rise of BYOD aka Bring Your Own Device
Adopting a bring-your-own-device policy is quickly becoming common practice in tech. Millennials want to use their own smartphones wherever they go. They’re also the quickest adopters of wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches. There is a downside, however. As workplaces become more dependent on technology, security becomes problematic. How do you balance the needs of your millennial workforce, with keeping your information secure? Investing in mobile security is a start. More than 50% of IT managers surveyed agreed mobile security is a key factor to provide strong, consistent, reliable service.
3. Combat security issues with a dedicated mobile app
One way companies are upping their mobile security is by creating a dedicated mobile app for workflow. A well-built mobile app developed expressly for your company keeps confidential data secure, while also allowing employees access to private data anywhere, anytime. This kind of constant accessibility is incredibly important to millennials. Furthermore, adopting a dedicated mobile app for your business enables the adoption of a seamless BYOD policy.
4. Stay nimble with the cloud
The flexibility of cloud computing is a godsend for millennials who crave constant connectivity in all areas of their digital life. Cloud based email, video conferencing tools, file sharing and online project management tools are central to the new way of doing business from anywhere at any time. Furthermore, they empower a diverse workforce of full-time, part-time and contract employees. With cloud-based tools, it’s simple for employees to work together harmoniously, no matter their work schedule or location.
5. Enable workers to share anything with anyone at any time
IT managers are increasingly recognizing the need for collaborative communications tools. Some already exist in the marketplace, such as Google’s ecosystem, including Drive, Hangouts and other tools. Skype and FaceTime are also increasingly used in the workplace. 73% of employers say they’re increasing their use of collaborative tools. Doing so supports a flexible and diverse workforce that includes millennials and boomers, part-timers and full-timers, contract and work-from-home employees.
6. Make knowledge transfer a priority
A mere 22% of IT managers said they have integrated technology in place to handle the transfer of knowledge from experienced workers to millennials entering the workforce. There’s no denying that boomers and other previous generations in established careers have a vast knowledge base. Transferring their knowledge to young, up-and-coming generations is becoming problematic. Strong training and educational resources are essential to successfully navigating the millennial shift.
7. Embrace flex and contract workers
As we recently noted, in our article on the benefits of temp work, there’s been a significant shift toward temporary and contract labour in recent years, with a whopping 34% of the workforce made up of contract workers. That number could climb as high as 50% over the next 5 years, as millennials make their preference for short-term work assignments known. With flex schedules, freelancing and consulting gigs popular amongst millennials, contract work is quickly becoming the norm rather than an exception. This is especially true for in demand skills such as mobile development and security where millennials tend to hop from trend to trend as the new cool thing emerges. Filling gaps in the workforce with skilled temp workers will be a necessity.
8. Stay ahead of the tech curve
Adopting new, more efficient and user-friendly technologies isn’t only important to advance your company, it’s also a key attractor for millennial talent. Companies that make adopting new, innovative tech a priority are more likely to draw in millennials who are seeking innovation. These companies also have higher millennial retention. Research shows this is also an area where tech companies are most uneasy. As many as 37% of IT managers expressed concerns about their ability to adopt and provide access to the latest technology. Some companies bound by traditional or enterprise software with outdated or complicated user interfaces may find it causes younger employees to balk.
9. Enable custom career building
Millennials consistently seek out new, interesting work. Companies that encourage young workers to learn new skills and forge a unique career path for themselves are most likely to retain talent. How do you keep work from becoming stale? Rotate talent in and out of different roles. Provide online education, training and other resources to encourage skill upgrades. Allow employees more control over how their work hours are spent. For instance, flex time (such as Google’s famous 80/20 policy, where employees spend 80% of their time on mandated work projects, and 20% on projects that interest them) empower and draw the best work from millennial employees.
Adapting your company policies now will be the key to attracting and retaining strong, capable talent that will ensure future success. Do you have questions about how your company can address the needs of an increasingly millennial workforce? Reach out to a Randstad branch near you. Our recruiters can provide additional resources to help you shape your company policies and accommodate future generations. Also, be sure to download the ‘millennial checklist’ attached to the bottom of this article!