Today’s modern enterprises often have at least three generations (and as many as five generations) of employees working side-by-side. According to research done by Media Partners, some people from the Pre-Baby Boomer generation are still working, and individuals born after the year 2000 (in the Gen Z or Post-Millennial generation) are just starting to enter the workforce. Millennials, those born between 1978 and 2000, make up the largest percentage of the workforce, at 44%; while Gen Xers, born between 1965 and 1977 make up 27% of the workforce.
Millennials have different work preferences and expectations of employers than previous generations. Any company that wants to successfully compete in the marketplace for top workforce must be prepared to meet their demands for appropriate business technology and solutions.
Here’s what you need to know about their work preferences, expectations, and how that should influence the choice of technology solutions you deploy in your organization.
Millennial Work Preferences
While Millennials have earned a reputation for jumping from one job to the next, the Pew Research Center found that their job tenure is actually very similar to that of Gen Xers at the same age. For example, in the year 2000, 21.8% of Gen Xers had worked for the same employer for five years or more. Similarly, in 2016, 22% of Millennials had been with the same employer for the same length of time.
The Millennial generation is motivated to find job security and competitive pay in positions they feel are meaningful and make the world a better place. They like the idea of making a difference with the work they do, rather than simply reporting to work to bring home a paycheck. Millennials who are 22 or younger are more competitive in nature and entrepreneurial, while older Millennials between the ages of 23 and 39 tend to seek employment at companies that fit into their overall life plan and offer a highly collaborative environment.
Three-fourths of Millennials would like to turn a hobby into a full time job or hold multiple roles within the same company. And because more than half of all Millennials would like to stay at one company for over 10 years, it’s in employers’ best interest to make their company enticing to this generation.
The majority of Millennials don’t think about work in terms of a “place” to go. Instead, they think about work as a “thing” to do. While older generations measured productivity by the number of hours they logged at the office, Millennials expect their work performance to be measured by the results of their efforts.
What Do Millennials Expect from Employers?
Millennials are technologically sophisticated and therefore expect the companies they work for to accommodate, with BYOD policies, the diverse devices they choose to use in and out of the office, as well as allowing remote work with flexible hours. In fact, 84% of Millennials report they enjoy some level of flexibility in their organization, which may include some or all of the following:
- Choosing when to start and end the workday
- Choosing what responsibilities fall under their positions
- Choosing whether to work from home, the office, or any other location
- Choosing from different types of contracts, crowdsourcing talent, or full-time employment
- Choosing which devices to work on
Some people call Millennials the “entitled” generation, but their desire for flexible work arrangements and the ability to work from a variety of devices indicates the always-on nature of this age group.
Millennials will be the first to say that you can never really “leave” work. With their smartphones and tablets within arms reach at all times, they are just as likely to receive a midnight text from a friend as they are to send an email to their boss at that hour of the night. The ability to log into work from whichever of their devices is at hand, from any location, helps them achieve a better work-life balance. This is a far cry from the Baby Boomer generation which was raised on strict 9-to-5 schedules and a very bright line between work and home life.
How Millennials’ Expectations Impact Enterprise Technology Decisions
Keeping and attracting talented workers is a challenge every organization must overcome in order to remain competitive. To attract Millennials, companies must keep up with BYOD trends and make use of remote desktop access solutions that enable them to work from any device, any location, and at any time with the same user experience they would have in the office. Companies must also ensure that policies and technology are in place to meet the growing security implications that BYOD requires. Using the right managed access solution, which allows them to set role permissions easily, is the best way to accomplish this.
Based on a lifetime of close relationships to everything digital, Millennials expect all technology, from websites to mobile apps to SaaS apps, to provide the best user experience possible. Millennials’ technology savvy allows them to figure out how to use a clunky app or poorly written program, but they have no interest in tolerating a bad user experience, especially in the workplace.
Why do employers and leaders exert so much effort to design mobile workplaces with flexible work arrangements? It’s simple. When Millennials are satisfied with their workplace, they put in significantly higher levels of discretionary effort. Creating the optimal employee experience generates loyalty, and when employees feel loyal to their organization, they go above and beyond their job responsibilities. A happy workforce is a productive workforce, and a productive workforce can be measured in an improved bottom line.