The Next Big Wave: How Millennials Influence the Workplace

On the first of every month, join me as I put Partners 1st with perspectives, advice and insights into how today’s technology trends are changing the way we live, collaborate and do business.

Over 76 million of our children are now in the next cubicle, at the office water cooler and on our web conference calls. They’ve got us surrounded. And that’s really great for business.

As a leader at PGi, I’m always excited to see what the next big thing is that will take our business to the next level. We’ve had innovations in conference bridge technology, global VoIP infrastructure and now meetings-as-a-service with integrated voice-and-video group web conferencing online. I believe the new generation of workers is going to be that next big thing. In fact, generation “why” is already sparking innovation unlike anything before.

The Millennials—or Gen Y—started trickling into the workforce about 10 years ago, including my own kids. These new entrants into the workforce grew up with information technology in their homes, creating work styles dramatically different than anything the workforce has ever experienced.

They’ve never used a floppy disk or Rolodex. They demand immediate connectivity to information, social media-like work collaboration and digital everything—files, shopping, maps, creative, calendars, music—you get the point. This drive toward a digital work + life is forcing businesses everywhere to change very quickly. And for technology providers and reseller partners, that means we have both opportunities to fail epically or win big. The key to success or failure derives from four key activities that we can perform as organizational leaders:

1. Hire Millennials precisely because they’re different from us—and arm your entire organization with the tools they use to work.

Diversity is a vital tool for causing productive dissonance within organizations. Dissonance makes people think differently, which results in innovations that drive the future of work and business forward. Hire smart, motivated Millennial workers precisely because of the productive dissonance they can bring to your company. And equip them with the technologies they need and want to facilitate that next big thing.

2. Drive innovations toward this new customer without abandoning the other generations.

We all know that very few old dogs want to learn new tricks—some are game, but most aren’t. And that’s perfectly okay. The companies that win big remember that the core of today’s business likely stands with decision makers within non-Millennial generations; however, in the next 10-20 years, that landscape will change dramatically. We need to innovate today for the future of business, while maintaining products, services and offerings that satisfy today’s current market demands.

At PGi, we do this in our product lines. For employees of any age, we offer GlobalMeet® Audio and GlobalMeet® web conferencing that meet the demands of today’s worker—simple, easy-to-use mainstream web collaboration tools. For early technology adopters like Millennial workers, we’ve developed the next generation of web conferencing with iMeet®, which transforms business collaboration into a face-to-face solution for social personal communications. This unique software application takes bleeding edge trends, including cloud-based hosting, interactive user interface, social media integration and in-room note taking and chat, and combines it with enterprise-class security and audio integration.

3. Change go-to-market strategies to meet the next generations’ wants and needs.

The old-school way of going to market—traditional print/TV/radio advertising, marketing, product delivery and sales—is still viable in today’s transitioning market, yet forward-thinking companies are embracing new-era, go-to-market strategies with open arms. Interactive and mobile-accessible eCommerce solutions, social customer care, virtual sales strategies, digital advertising and content marketing are just a handful of trends that smart businesses are investing in today to meet the demands of Millennials and the up-and-coming digital natives, Generation Z. Developing smart strategies for these emerging platforms—all of which utilize Big Data trends and web- and mobile-based delivery models—is vital for carving a path into future business success.

4. Provide customer care that meets the demands of how each generation wants to interact with your brand.

As a company dedicated to meeting the demands of the web and mobile user, we’ve invested in our first interactive, web-based customer care solutions. Why? Because that’s how our software users operate. The X, Millennial and Z generations do everything online: school work, social interaction, research, shopping, banking and even recreational activities. For businesses, with 82% of consumers taking to the web before they even contact a sales rep, this virtual reality means that we need to get online NOW to satisfy the demands of our current prospect and customer base—both present and future. These people want to interact with us on the web, and to be successful today and tomorrow, we need to invest in solutions that help customers interact with us in near- and real-time.

We are in perhaps the most exciting age of business. Innovation is rewarded, and our customers want to interact with us more than in any time in history. Swift communication using social media and web collaboration enables brands to amplify their message organically, and our customers want to be our advocates with their friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. All this innovation is escalated by the hunger of the Millennial generation for innovative, fun and engaging solutions. And for the older generations, we have the opportunity to learn from these young guns, help them grow and together build the future of work.

We have a great eBook that will help you learn more about the future of work. Download The Future of Business Collaboration free. How have you and your company dealt with these trends, like Millennials and social media? Share your insights below.


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