Keeping up with the millennials – why it’s so important for companies to keep innovating

Graeme Wright, Associate Director for Manufacturing at Fujitsu, recently wrote a fascinating blog post on the challenges facing companies who are looking to hire the next generation of so-called millennials, and who may find it difficult to live up to their high expectations in terms of technology, and communication in particular.

Graeme’s son James plays games online with his friends using a gaming PC he built himself. The friends also stream video game tutorials, and their online community keep in touch through a variety of means including live video streaming, text-based chat and voice. As Graeme points out, if teams across the corporate world were to follow their lead, moving away from more traditional modes of communication such as email and phonecalls, the shift could be a corporate game changer. The main question from Graeme’s blog is whether the corporate world is ready for the arrival of the tech-savvy millennials? As Graeme points out – IT departments in many companies would currently struggle to implement and manage so many different levels of communication, with policies and procedures and other forms of red tape getting in the way of adopting multi-channel communication and virtual reality as part of everyday working life.

Millennials – those born between 1980 and 1999 – are predicted to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Problems may arise, however, when this post-internet generation arrive in the workforce expecting the kind of technology and innovation that they are used to, having created and adapted it for their own needs with their peers. Providing this generation of workers with the technology they have come to expect may well be the next big hurdle facing the corporate world.

Many companies have been highlighting what they view as the shortfalls of traditional corporate work practices, in initiatives such as Virgin Group’s Corporate Day  where employees were expected to leave their normal expectations of Richard Branson’s company working conditions at the office door, work a 9-5:30 shift, wear a suit and tie and limit social media activity to their lunch hour. This traditional model of working is likely to die out over the next few decades as remote working, cloud-based data sharing and IoT all help to make the workplace a more flexible and life-enhancing place to be.

Millennials have drastically different expectations for the workplace from those of the previous generations. A ‘job for life’ is no longer the norm, and a better work-life balance is high up on their list of priorities. Companies that enable them to work remotely, keep in touch with friends and family, and enjoy their surroundings in the corporate environment stand a better chance of attracting the next generation workforce.

Kids have grown up with the internet and have been taught from an early age how to stay safe online. They expect to be connected all the time and they expect everything to be accessible via the internet – they might not use the words but they expect the Internet of Things and will thrive on it. For some, years of online gaming experience will make them masters of the still occasionally dreaded “conference call” – they know full well the impact that network delays can have on online chat and more to the point the game experience. If they haven’t asked for a faster internet connection yet – they will soon. This is all transferable in the modern workplace.

Providing the latest in communication technology, enough time and space to explore virtual reality, and encouraging them as a generation to develop and adopt new innovations may be the way forward. At Arkessa, we are certainly looking to the future, rather than back.

By Arkessa

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