millennial worker

The digital workplace was made for Millennial workers

Like a slow-moving tsunami, millennials have seeped into every nook and cranny of the modern workplace.

I must admit, I’m one of “them”.

Just your everyday beany-wearing, meme-sending, coffee-roasting, emoji-speaking, all-entitled millennial. Ok, not all of those stereotypes are true but some do fit.

There’s been a lot of shade thrown towards my generation these past few years. Some of it is justified ($10 avocado toast, really?!) but most is unwarranted. This sort of tussle between young and old happens with every new generation but something is strikingly different this time around. Millennials are finally starting to find their sweet spot in the workforce. We’re no longer studying, travelling or “finding ourselves” like we were a few years ago

Now we’re here, working right beside you.

We’re “adulting” or trying to at least just like everybody else. That’s right, love it or hate it, millennials are the harbingers of the next-gen workforce—from banking and coding to cooking and recruiting—we make up nearly half the global workforce and by 2025 we’ll represent 75% of all workers. Which means competitive businesses need to strap-in and think about what this means in terms of their future hiring, productivity and retention strategies.

In the market today there is both a serious talent shortage and a rise in turnover rates. Everybody seems to have a different strategy on how to hire and retain millennial talent, but by and large Digital Employee Experience (DEX) is the one approach that has been proven to work for young workers.

The good news?

Millennial workers know technology really well. So employers don’t have to worry too much about the digital dexterity of their future employees because for us, it’s practically instinctual.

The bad news?

We know technology really well. Which means we expect it to work really well. All the time.

Let me explain.

For us, technology is more than just an ally.

Growing up, my millennial colleagues and I were in the center of the hyper-evolution of technology—pencil to keyboard, home phone to smartphone, dial-up to Wi-Fi, VHS to Netflix. We witnessed history’s greatest expansion in technological innovation while our young brains absorbed every detail like a dry sponge to water.

Digital technologies became routine and central to our upbringing and education, not necessarily because we wanted to but because they were (and still are) so readily available.

The point is, for us, using well-functioning technology has become embedded in our DNA. We understand how technology works, and we expect it to improve every year because that’s the only world we’ve ever known.

Maybe 15, 20, 30 years ago all this didn’t really matter for employers and employees.

But it does now.

There’s an easier way to keep Millennial workers engaged and it doesn’t require cold brew or foosball.

Don’t get me wrong, stuff like free pizza and pool-tables at work are cool and all, but I’d prefer a functioning laptop first, and I’m not alone in that belief.

A Microsoft/SurveyMonkey survey showed that 93% of millennials believe “modern and up-to-date technology [is] one of the most important aspects of a workplace”.

I could not agree more. It’s more important to us than bean bags, free snacks, or the social corner’s foosball table. And coming from a millennial, that says a lot.

But companies barely cater to basic employee digital satisfaction needs. Last year, only 54% of companies said that they started to put digital workplace strategies in place. Even worse, most businesses implement strategies based on a “gut feeling” as opposed to real measurements.

Millennials expect our digital experiences to be flawless in any situation. And when they aren’t, we get frustrated, and move onto something better. It’s no different at work—if employers can’t provide a modern digital experience, we get annoyed because we can’t do our job, and if it doesn’t improve we’re not afraid to do our infamous millennial job-hop onto the next opportunity.

So where should companies start?

It’s not rocket science. Millennials just want their everyday digital work experiences to not suck.

And it all starts with IT support—they need ultimate visibility into their end users, and the technical agility to match the digital demands of their millennial workers.

IT has the power to provide an amazing DEX across the entire organization when they have complete visibility into their employees’ actual digital experiences. Which, as it turns out, they can with the help of some critical metrics that can unlock powerful insight into both employee sentiment and hard technical data.

No more gut feelings.

Once companies have a solid understanding of their baseline DEX Score, IT can investigate areas of improvement and make sure they meet the digital expectations for any millennial worker.

If businesses want us to stick around and be more engaged, they have to ensure their tech support is prepared to act. And there are plenty of solutions out there that can help them do that.

BTW, you think we’re bad?

Just you wait until ‘Generation Z’ joins the party.