5 Ways Millennials Will Boost Workplace Productivity
With more Millennials in the workplace than any other generation, it’s inevitable that corporate culture will change – and swiftly. In fact, this generation’s influence is being felt already. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Millennial force is forcing businesses to rethink the technologies they should adopt.
“We have many employees who have only ever worked in an Internet-enabled economy. That raises expectations for how we use technology,” Sigal Zarmi, chief information officer at PwC, told the WSJ.
For Millennials, technology is second-nature, and this has shaped their behaviors and expectations. As they demand seamless, intuitive Internet access, apps and tools, they are pushing the boundaries of what their organizations can accomplish. And one area where they’re likely to have an outsized influence is productivity. If businesses want to reap greater productivity benefits from their Millennial employees, they should pay attention to five key distinctions about how this generation approaches technology and work.
Virtual Is the New Normal
Unlike older generations, Millennials are “comfortable building virtual relationships,” says Caroline Ghosn, founder and CEO of Levo, a Millennial-focused career platform. Because they’ve grown up with social media, text messaging and Snapchat, interacting with others through virtual channels is entirely natural.
With this generation in the workplace, businesses can’t take collaboration tools for granted. Millennials prefer to work at companies that provide modern communications options, such as video conferencing, web chat and text messaging. And, they expect these tools to be intuitive and easy to use.
Millennials have had instant access to a world of information for much of their lives. That’s why they’re quick to turn to apps and the Internet when they need answers. Self-service options such as website FAQs and message boards are their go-to solutions. And if a manager or colleague can help resolve an issue, Millennial employees won’t hesitate to send a quick text message.
Embrace Apps, Save Time
Millennials have become accustomed to apps that simplify tasks. Need a taxi? Uber can get you to your destination in a couple of clicks. Setting up a video conference? Millennials expect to open an app and schedule their meeting with a single click. Such expectations should drive technology decisions throughout the enterprise. As Millennials demand simplification of common tasks, these incremental improvements are bound to add up to significant time savings across the organization.
More Communication with Supervisors and Team Members
One common belief about Millennials is that they’re not engaged at work. But that’s a myth, according to the Association for Talent Development. In fact, “Millennials want more frequent communication with supervisors, and they work well in teams.”
PwC, for example, launched a proprietary app that provides employees with real-time feedback, the WSJ reports. With immediate feedback, Millennials feel they can improve their results and minimize errors.
Since they already work well together, there may not be many ways to improve Millennial teamwork. But providing access to collaboration tools like desktop sharing is almost certain to please Millennial employees – and boost their productivity.
Perhaps the most surprising fact about Millennials – given the nature of the criticism most frequently directed at them – is that they value productivity highly. In fact, they want to be more productive. A survey of Millennials conducted by Levo and Microsoft found that 93% of respondents believe productivity is important to happiness.
However, “only 62 percent feel moderately or very productive overall — a notable gap,” says Ghosn. “Also, those younger than 30 reported feeling less productive than those over 30. These numbers and generational differences highlight the importance of giving young professionals the right tools and resources to reach their goals.”
So it’s not simply Millennial technology habits that will change corporate culture. The behaviors and attitudes they bring to the workplace also matter. Businesses that can provide the communications technologies Millennials want and expect will almost certainly see a rise in workplace productivity and employee satisfaction.
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