The millennials, those born between 1980-2000, also known as Gen Y, are the first Internet generation, and their technology and workplace expectations are vastly different from those of us who preceded them. Electric typewriters and analog phones, calculators and Liquid Paper (for whiting out errors) have been relegated to obsolescence, but their successors – the PC, cellphones and spreadsheets – aren’t far behind them.
According to a recent study from Avaya (and BT), 66% of millennials hate their company’s technology. The survey also found that 31% believe they would be much more productive if there was better information sharing.
Just over a third of the US workforce, 36%, is made up of millenials, but that number will rise to 75% by 2025. And it’s not just technology that troubles them.
Transparency and collaboration are also vital. Most millennials (74%) prefer to collaborate in small groups.
Security is another issue troubling millennials, according to a recent survey from Fortinet. For instance, when it comes to passwords, 41% of both millennials and Gen-X never change their online password or only change it when prompted, 16% (19% millennial, 13% Gen-X) change them once a month, 30% (25% millennial, 35% Gen-X) change them every three months and 9% (11% millennial, 7% Gen-X) change them at least once a year.
Last year’s Gen Y study from Cisco found that not only is the age of privacy waning, 60% believe it is dead. While 90% of professionals said they have a policy governing the use of certain devices at work, only 40% of Gen Y respondents said they were aware of such a policy, and 80% of the ones who were aware said they don’t obey those policies. IT monitoring was another issue: 66% Gen Y respondents said IT has no right to monitor their online behavior, even if that behavior is conducted using company-issued devices on corporate networks.
In the millennial world, everything and everyone’s connected and there is an expectation of immediate gratification and instant results, which requires enterprises to adapt their technologies to this new mindset, said Chris Moyer, Vice President, Global Chief Technologist, HP Enterprise Services. In a recent interview he said it’s a vicious circle: to attract (and keep) the right people you need the right tools.
“We are getting people on our teams that are digital natives. They’re asking for a different set of support tools.”
Organizations must adapt their technologies to the millennial mindset to keep pace or risk falling behind to competitors that embrace this new paradigm. This means the consumer and enterprise experience must be bridged, shifting the way traditional IT in the workplace looks, feels and operates.
Moyer identified five areas to be addressed this year:
-transform applications to the cloud as employees increasingly demand a user experience similar to what they encounter in their personal technology;
-leverage everything-as-a-service to give employees access to workplace tools anywhere, anytime, and on any device;
-enhance protection from cyber-attacks that will allow the end-user to be increasingly mobile while still having secure access to applications and information;
-embrace gamification by using game design techniques—thinking, mechanics, and analytics within a business context—to change the behavior of employees and/or customers; and,
-utilize big data to analyze and engage with customers who expect information and services to be personalized and targeted to them.
Almost all millenials (92%) work remotely, and 87% want to work to their own clock instead of a 9-to-5 fixed schedule. They believe video had a significant impact on business results (87%), and that videoconferencing is just as viable and often preferable to in-person meetings.
There are three big themes CIOs are grappling with, said Moyer: security, gamification and Big Data/analytics. “They want improved protection… they’re taking a much more comprehensive approach to handling security and are looking for more help.”
Gamification comes down to allowing people more choice. “We’ll put applications out and let people rate content that is shared”, he said.
Last but not least is people want to understand the data that is being generated. “It is Big Data meets analytics. It’s not one or the other.”