What Every Manager Needs to Know About Millennials and Technology
As you welcome more and more Millennials into your company, you may notice many things beginning to change.
I, for one, have seen this for myself and am happy to report that the vast majority of these changes will improve your company greatly.
That’s not to say that there won’t be challenges along the way, but most of these are things you can prepare for and address.
One specific example that comes to mind is Millennials and technology. Their relationship and use of technology is different than any generation that came before them. Understand this and managing them will become significantly easier.
4 Things You Need to Understand About Millennials and Technology
Almost everyone born in the 80s and especially those in the 90s grew up with the Internet. They take for granted the ability to have an unprecedented amount of information within their reach at all times.
This has certainly affected the way they view technology, but if you can understand the following four things about this relationship, you’ll find it’s extremely easy to make the most out of your Millennial employees.
1. Technology Has Become the Expectation
We all know that technology is an important investment for companies in the 21st century. In fact, the difference between those leading the field in technology adoption and those lagging behind is absolutely staggering.
It’s one of the underlying factors behind the productivity paradox, the fact that the increased adoption of technology seems to be negatively correlated with productivity. One reason is because those that aren’t leveraging technology are dragging down the average.
The importance of adopting technology goes far beyond creating a more productive staff, though. It’s becoming central to replenishing that staff, too.
Millennials expect their employers to prioritize technology, not because they want an easier job, but because they see it as being essential to doing their job well.
That’s not to say that all their job expectations are as altruistic, of course. 87% of Millennials report that professional development and opportunities for career growth are important to them. If they won’t be given the technology required to do their job well, you’ll have a hard time convincing them that your company is going to be a good fit.
2. They May Assume Others Have the Same Comfort with Technology as They Do
Their comfort with technology can be a blind spot at times. Remember, many of them have never owned a phone that didn’t have apps on it. Most can’t remember a time when they couldn’t immediately send a message to anyone they knew whenever they wanted.
According to a report by PwC, many HR managers have had to address the relationship between Millennials and technology and how it differs from that of older generations.
For example, those who grew up with instant messaging often have the expectation that people will reply to them immediately. However, many older workers don’t see instant messages this way and may treat them more like emails – something that deserves attention but not necessarily right away.
At the same time, Millenials and technology can create tension in your workplace simply because of how comfortable they are with using it. As one Millennial noted, her generation needs to be careful not to announce that a new devise or software is “so easy” around older coworkers who may struggle.
3. BYOD Is Growing in Popularity
This point underscores the last two: that Millennials expect their employers to embrace technology and that this generation is extremely comfortable using it.
As such, you can expect BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies to continue growing in popularity and, once again, Millennials preferring those employers that offer them.
84% of Millennials say that they enjoy some degree of flexibility at their workplace and while this can entail many things, one of them is the freedom to choose the device they do their work on.
In fact, BYOD policies are becoming increasingly important to Millennials. As Jeremy Sherwood, the product manager of virtualization and cloud at Science Logic, states, “Because younger people grow up with the devices and constantly use them, they are accustomed to them being available and expect to be able to leverage the devices and the offerings that are made through them.”
That doesn’t mean you should announce tomorrow that everyone can bring in their own laptops. You want to create a comprehensive BYOD strategy first, one that includes antivirus software, security measures, and training so that no one’s performance is restricted by this new approach.
Make that a priority, though, as Millennials want technology they’re already accustomed to and know how to use. The sooner you support this, the better.
4. This Is Only the Beginning
The Millennial generation now represents the largest sector of the workforce in America. That’s not going to change anytime soon, but, when it does, it will be because Generation Z has taken over.
There are plenty of differences between Millennials and Generation Z and, eventually, your company will need to adapt to the latter’s unique demands.
However, one place where they overlap is with technology. Of course, Generation Z has proven even more adept. They have no experience using dial-up Internet. They’ve always been able to immediately download movies and music right to their phones and keep them in the cloud.
The list goes on and on.
So even if you think Millennials and technology aren’t a major force that will affect how you manage, keep in mind that you’re only a year or two away from when Generation Z starts showing up for interviews and bringing their technological acumen with them.
Adapt now before this major tipping point occurs.
Embrace Millennials and Technology to Ensure Your Company’s Future
Although technology will continue playing a bigger and bigger role in successful companies, that’s not to say your talents as a human being will be replaced.
In fact, as technology continues to level the playing field between organizations, it will be your unique abilities as a manager that provides differentiation. If everyone is using the same devices and software, what else is there to provide a competitive edge?
If you’re not completely confident in your talents as a leader, I would highly recommend you consider RedRock Leadership’s eight-week Take the Lead™ program. You’ll learn how to better make use of your time, set accountable goals, and coach your staff.
The ability to sell is another example of how you can maintain your value despite the ongoing influx of technology. Join RedRock Leadership’s Systematic Foundation™ course and I’ll walk you through discovering your buyer’s motivation, creating win-win situations, and much more.
Founder of RedRock Leadership