By Dr. Nicole Scott, People Strategy Expert
It is true. Millennials are constantly connected. The Millennials are the first generation to grow up completely surrounded by and immersed in technology. This drives most of the rest of us crazy. Technology for the Millennial (and foreseeable subsequent generations) is not an extra or an added bonus; it is THE way people work and play today. Heck, I can take a virtual run through the forest in another country if I want to… if I have the technology.READ MORE: Building Partially Collapses In Perry South
As organizations struggle to keep Boomers and even Gen Xers connected using the rapidly growing menu of options for technology in the workplace, Millennials are probably left wondering what all the fuss is about. I know that differences in technology use vary by industry, but I also know that there are people in every industry who are fighting the use of new systems. Why? Resistance is futile (sorry, had to make the Borg reference. It was just too easy). Many Boomers and Gen Xers still view technology as something we have to adapt to. Um….hasn’t everyone heard of Siri? Probably, but I doubt that this familiarity has translated into a full blown change in perspective. So, let’s take a minute to review, shall we?
You don’t have to adapt to Siri. Siri adapts to you. She learns your language usage at several levels and can return ever increasingly personalized search results. Anyone use iHeart Radio? It learns your music preferences to improve your music experience. How about the Nest Thermostat? I have one. It learns your routine and handles keeping you comfy all by itself. You just have to live your life, and it does the rest! What if we dealt in reality and accept the fact that technology now adapts to us?READ MORE: 94-Year-Old World War II Veteran From Allegheny Co. Finally Receives High School Diploma
While we are considering the stereotypes about technology which sometimes color our perceptions about Millennials in the workplace, let’s not overlook the stereotype that electronic interface is impersonal. Anyone on Facebook can attest to the complete incorrectness of that notion. The Millennials, with their noses pointing down and buried in their phones are, indeed, social.
In fact, this generation craves collaboration. Millennials are products of group projects and instant information. Put these two things together and you have a generation tied to tech with the goal of communicating, accessing information and getting things done faster and more efficiently. The increased speed with which you can access information and communicate with others via technology is just a fact. A PricewaterHouseCooper report found that 41% of Millennials report preferring electronic communication to face-to-face communication. They feel that the traditional way of doing business is holding them back. So, if you are hoping that this technology thing is going to go away, or are struggling to figure out why your Millennial employee won’t come to your office when s/he has questions, Or if you are wondering why your Millennial will not answer the phone when you call, but responds with lightning speed when you text or IM them, here is your answer. Reality bites if you are resisting…well…reality. This is simply the way young people communicate.
Here is another tidbit of reality that bites in relations to technology and the attraction of Millennial talent. If your application for employment is not mobile friendly, you are losing candidates in this war for talent. You probably will want to look at how your organization utilizes technology and adjust your expectations for Millennials’ preferred, and frankly ingrained, way of communicating. I highly suggest looking at your recruitment and retention strategy beyond just your application. Market the aspects of your culture that appeal to this group such as collaboration, mentorships, flexibility and rapid access to information (including feedback, which is Part 3 of this series).MORE NEWS: On A Positive Note: 5th-Grader At McKee Elementary School Becomes Children's Book Illustrator
Dr. Nicole C. Scott, SPHR holds a Doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and is available for consulting engagements in HR/Talent/OD Strategy, Organizational Culture and/or Change Management. She can be reached at email@example.com or via LinkedIn. Check it outwww.agile-edge.com!