Millennials are reshaping the workforce with new ideas and attitudes, especially when it comes to technology.
Within 10 years, they are expected to comprise 75% of the workplace. This massive shift in the labor market is forcing companies to consider the best strategies to attract and retain talent from this demographic.
Raised in a digital world, millennial job seekers want companies that offer employees the latest tech tools. But are information technology departments prepared for these hyper-connected workers who prefer video-conferencing over meetings, easy-to-use applications over complex operating systems and project management tools over to-do lists?
For many IT departments, the answer is no, according to research conducted by IDG Research Services on behalf of Randstad Technologies.
The survey asked IT managers across a range of U.S. company sizes and industries about their preparation for the upcoming influx of millennial employees.
One-third of respondents said that they haven’t addressed millennial-related technology issues in any formal way.
Of particular concern for IT leaders is the significant gap between what millennials want from workplace technology and what IT departments offer.
- For example, just one-third of organizations said that they are extremely or very confident that their existing IT staff levels and skillsets can support the onset of millennials.
To win the talent war among the millennial set, IT departments must rapidly adopt the latest technologies into their infrastructures. Failure to make these changes could result in high turnover among younger workers and a struggle to recruit the best employees from this generation.
Here is a four-step plan to prepare for the millennial shift:
1. Invest in mobile technology. Millennials are accustomed to having technology at their fingertips, with information just a swipe or scroll away. When it comes to work, a smartphone can be an efficient tool to get work done among this tech-savvy generation. In fact, 60% of survey respondents said that they plan to increase investments in mobile within the next year to meet the needs of millennials. Advisory firms should invest in mobile technology and have a bring-your-own-device policy in place.
2. Offer collaborative tools. According to the survey, more than half (57%) of IT leaders view communication and collaboration tools as essential to supporting the millennial shift. Known as the “sharing” generation, millennials are accustomed to collaborating through technology, whether it is sharing content or swapping documents. Rather than work in silos, they value teamwork and want instant feedback. Offering collaborative tools is one way to attract, engage and retain this generation.
3. Use the cloud. Millennials want access to information anytime, from any device. Firms must have the cloud capability to meet this demand. The survey showed that 40% of organizations recognize cloud computing as a requirement to meet changing workplace dynamics, and 49% of respondents said that they will invest in or increase investments in cloud computing over the next year. Millennials already use cloud-based email and project management systems and likely prefer companies where they can use these tools instead of complex, proprietary systems. What’s more, by allowing employees to work anytime, anywhere, IT departments will accommodate the growing freelance contingent of the workforce.
4. Enhance security management. With the rise of mobile, BYOD and the cloud, IT leaders are evaluating whether they have the right security measures in place. According to the study, 40% of organizations said that they recognize that cloud computing is a requirement to meet changing workplace dynamics, and 49% of respondents said that they will invest in or increase investments in cloud computing over the next year. Mobile and cloud security must be a high priority among IT leaders in order to keep millennial employees engaged, productive and efficient.
Bob Dickey is group president, technology and engineering, at Randstad US in Woburn, Mass.
This story is part of a 30-day series on leading tech trends for advisors. It was originally published on Sept. 18, 2015.