The latest generation of new recruits, to which I belong, are arriving to work with a tablet in hand and an independent streak you’d do well to nurture (not naysay). We are the tech-attuned generation born during the presidencies of Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. We are chided as constantly-connected narcissists and praised as innovative idealists. Either way, we represent the newest of the new hires and we’re here to stay.
Employers across the country are adjusting to the cultural expectations of this new crop of workers and most are finding the change surprisingly refreshing. Of course, in order to benefit from the unconventional thinking and talent of the millennial worker you may have to tinker with some workplace taboos–specifically: technology use. Sorry, but we will shun Lotus Notes and give you a blank stare if you assign us to a desktop computer. But, it’s because we know there’s a better way.
Let’s take a closer look at the tech norms of the millennial worker and hash out how your business can benefit.
Millennial workers grew up in a constantly-connected world where instant messages, text messages, social posts and Snap chats were commonplace. Even email seems ancient to some of them. Where previous generations are more reticent to “put things in writing,” young employees are more than willing type things out and send them off, even when they are away from the office. This can be a boon for your business. Savvy managers should consider the tools they put in place for millennials to communicate and do their jobs. Look at tools like HipChat, Yammer and Base.
Enter Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Unfettered faith in tech solutions. By and large millennials aren’t skeptical of technology. But they may be skeptical of your technology. While previous generations might have been divided by Chevy and Ford, millennials definitively fall into either the Android or iOS (or Windows!) camps. Millennials believe in technology’s potential to solve a vast array of problems so adoption is never the issue, instead adoption of company technology is. Millennials have had their whole lifetime to develop operating system and manufacturer preferences. They know which modus operandi brings out the best in them. Your job is to not stand in their way. That means allowing them to pick the tech tools that allow them to thrive. Allowing your millennial employee to use their own device facilitates a happier and more productive experience–increasing productivity and retention.
BYOD policies allow your eager communicators to use their personal electronic devices to conduct company business when they are away from (or at) their desks. Millennial workers will come up with their own BYOD policies, like using unapproved devices to conduct company business, when management fails to put one in place. A BYOD policy structures personal device use–putting safeguards into place to protect your company’s privacy, while letting workers do what they are going to do anyway: use their personal devices to conduct business.
When you play to your employee strengths, everyone wins. Don’t fear the five gadgets and propensity to press the “publish” button, empower it. BYOD lets your employees reach their full potential, by giving them the agency to select the tools that are right for them. Of course, there are a few key considerations every company must with when adopting a BYOD policy.
- The software you use must offer security, mobility and cloud storage.
- Users need offline and online access to the programs the job requires (we all know Wifi is far from universal) and all of it must sync seamlessly to cloud.
- Make sure you set your staff up with software that uses encryption to ensure secure data transfer and you’ll sleep soundly knowing your data is safe and up-to-date.
A smart BYOD policy will inspire employees and helps your company grow. Today’s millennial recruit is tomorrow’s business manager. Business is always evolving, make sure you are changing with it.