In the 20+ years I’ve spent creating, growing and nurturing PGi, I’ve seen workers come and go, technology ebb and change and the workplace itself evolve into something that would be wholly unrecognizable to my parents. Progressive offices are bright and open, creating collaborative environments with fewer walls and fewer hierarchies. Workers set their own schedules. Meetings happen anytime, anywhere and on any number of different devices. And now, the Millennial generation—our very own sons and daughters—make up the largest percentage of any one generation in the workplace today. I know their influence is very clearly felt in my company, and I imagine in yours as well.
Millennials aren’t coming. They’re already here. And it’s up to us, today’s leaders, to provide the guidance and craft the environments to motivate the leaders of tomorrow.
“Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” ~Margaret Wheatley
Millennials are driving the social, mobile and telework revolutions. Your processes and your products have to align with these new demands if you hope to attract and retain the next generation of talent and leadership.
In many ways, Millennials in the workforce represent a string of contradictions. They crave mentorship, but many are already in leadership roles. They crave a social workplace, but would take reduced pay for flexibility and telework options. It’s important, with a work generation as large and influential as Gen Y (estimated at 80 million strong), to meet them on common ground, understand their needs and provide them the tools to be successful.
Millennials are social creatures by nature. They don’t want or understand isolated cubicles and siloed departments. If you want to appeal to their social side, provide them with open, collaborative workspaces. Connect your company through a social intranet. And whatever you do, don’t block social media sites! While it’s important to work closely with HR to put a social media policy in place, having the freedom to make a quick check on Facebook and Twitter is huge for Millennial morale.
More than any generation previous, Millennials are defined by their devices. Their smartphones, tablets and phablets are an inseparable part of their daily lives and their very personalities. Embrace BYOD. Give your workers the freedom to express themselves and work with the technology that defines them, all while increasing productivity and reducing support costs.
As I mentioned earlier, 37% of Millennials would take a pay cut in exchange for flexible hours and a whopping 81% think they should set their own work schedules. One of the reasons we’re in the collaboration business at PGi is to empower and facilitate the next generation of mobile workers. iMeet® in particular is a perfect match for the Millennial mindset: intuitive, personal and mobile.
Remember—work is no longer a place. I’ve watched this happen for years; Industry X proclaims that their unique needs don’t allow for telecommuting, only to allow the practice a few years later. The trend is in place. Embracing it not only puts you on forward-thinking footing but it makes your company all the more attractive for the next generation of great minds.
Only by embracing what makes Millennials tick can you truly engage them.
Only then can today’s leaders pave the way for tomorrow’s.
For more insights on Millennials’ influence on the changing nature of business, download PGi’s free eBook “The Future of Business Collaboration.”