How millennials are shaping your IT

Millennials have grown up using devices every waking hour, and their entire existence is interconnected. No wonder they have very specific demands when it comes to the workforce – both in terms of the technology they want to use and how they want to use it.

So what influences are we seeing from these shifting generational behaviours, and how can IT teams adapt to this new breed of worker? Here are some key ways to engage and power millennial talent.

Encourage collaboration

Over a third of millennials prefer to collaborate online, according to the 2015 Internet Trends report. They’re so advanced when it comes to collaboration that the term BYOC (bring your own collaboration) has been coined. If they aren’t provided with collaboration tools at work, they’ll use their own with Dropbox, Google Drive, Asana or Evernote.

Three-quarters of millennials (74 per cent) prefer to collaborate in small groups, according to a study by Idea Paint, and 38 per cent “feel that outdated collaboration processes hinder their company’s innovation”.

In response, IT departments should consider offering collaboration tools such as online meeting, project management and videoconferencing services that can securely enable this.

Empower mobility

The idea that you can’t work whenever or wherever seems absurd to the generation that gave rise to the ‘digital nomad’. The lines between millennials’ work and leisure hours are also blurred, with many wanting to be able to work flexibly from home and in the evening. This can be an advantage; remote workers are more engaged than on-site workers according to Gallup research.

To facilitate this, ensure that multiplatform apps are available, give remote users secure access to your network and consider staggering IT support hours so there’s someone on call around the clock.

Embrace personal devices

Millennials insist on using their own gadgets, with 45 per cent wanting to use their personal smartphones for work. It’s an unstoppable trend as smartphones become the norm and people increasingly expect to access their personal device as a basic right.

This is a headache for IT departments already having to manage security on their own fleet of devices. But BYOD doesn’t have to mean ‘bring your own disaster’. The challenge is balancing user freedom with your workplace’s security policies. Set policies, educate users about them and work with them to find ways they can use their devices securely without being hampered by restrictions.

Enable app downloads

Gone are the days when staff waited for the IT department to install new software. Millennials are used to buying and downloading their own apps at home, and around two in five are likely to purchase and download applications to use for work with their own money.

The problem is that they’re not overly worried about security, with 60 per cent unconcerned about corporate security when using personal apps instead of corporate-approved apps, according to TrackVia research.

Consider why they are doing this. Studies suggest the key reason is because corporate apps don’t meet their needs. IT departments should find out what users need to be productive and then buy or build more flexible, custom solutions.

Ultimately, keeping on top of technology trends is critical if you want to attract and hire the best millennials, and get the most from them. If you’ve already fixed your IT policies and processes to get them in the door, you’ll be much better adapted to their expectations once they start work.


Originally published on ThinkFWD