Note: This blog is the second in a monthly co-authored series written by Charlotte O’Donnelly, Research Associate at Blue Hill Research, and Matt Louden, Brand Journalist at MOBI. MOBI is a mobility management platform that enables enterprises to centralize, comprehend, and control their entire device ecosystems.
There’s a new force changing the business landscape: Millennials. More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials, and in 2015, Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce. As we can both attest, Millennials are digital natives – technologies like computers and mobile phones have acted as our new-age pacifiers. To some extent, Millennials take technology for granted. We often demand it at work.
This demographic is vastly different from previous generations, and enterprises need to not only understand these differences, but also provide Millennials with an environment that fosters their productivity and success. (And no, this doesn’t just mean free snacks, a ping-pong table, and beer on tap – but those don’t hurt!)
As Millennials, we’re torn; we hate to perpetuate stereotypes about our entire generation (lazy and entitled?!), but we also love talking about ourselves. When it comes to technology, there are some enterprise trends the majority of Millennials can agree upon:
We are comfortable with a range of devices and technologies, but we have our preferences.
Millennials grew up using a lot of different devices, applications, and operating systems; we’re comfortable learning how to use new gadgets. However, as digital natives and dependents, we have developed specific technology preferences. Expect Millennials to want to use their preferred devices and applications in the workplace.
We believe work can be done from anywhere, at any time.
Gone are the days of nine-to-five, clocking in and out, and being shackled to a desktop computer. Mobile devices have made it possible to check and respond to email on the go, send files via Instant Message (IM), and work from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. Expect Millennials to work remotely and outside traditional office hours.
We love to collaborate, and we value technologies that can support this.
Despite what people may say, Millennials are team players. We’ve had group projects and team sports drilled into us from a young age, and these skills and preferences have translated to the workforce. Communications technologies like, Slack, Google Docs, video/voice conferencing, and screen sharing are intuitive to us. Expect Millennials to value these technologies and integrate them into their daily workflow.
We don’t believe there should be any limits to mobile.
Millennials are more comfortable texting than talking – it’s just how we’ve grown up (ICYMI). What aren’t we comfortable with? Plans that have limits of any kind. We expect to be able to use our mobile devices for anything and everything, and often this means using cellular data if a secure Wi-Fi connection is not available. Expect Millennials to exceed their monthly data, voice, or text plan if it’s too limited or restrictive.
We have our devices with us at all times, and so we tend to wear them down quickly.
Millennials use mobile devices constantly – some of us even sleep with them. This daily usage exposes a device to the elements, and can necessitate frequent repairs or replacements (particularly that oh-so-fragile screen). Expect Millennials to request device upgrades or repairs often, especially as the line between personal and corporate devices becomes blurred.
We think technology should just work. Period.
Millennials have probably never touched or even seen an instruction manual. Instead, we prefer to play around with technology until we can figure it out. We expect problems to be infrequent, insubstantial, and easy to resolve, and we have limited tolerance for device downtime or lengthy support processes. Expect Millennials to lack patience for technology that doesn’t perform or for organizational processes that offer slow resolutions.
What this means for enterprise mobility
These generalizations are increasingly coming into play not just with mobile devices but also with connected devices such as Internet of Things (IoT) assets, wearables, and sensors. How can enterprises ensure Millennials remain productive and satisfied while simultaneously taking steps to protect devices and business information?
Few enterprises are equipped to fully support all aspects of mobility in-house. If enterprises were a little more “lazy” like Millennials (we prefer the term efficient), they’d likely all be using Managed Mobility Services (MMS) solutions to reduce costs, speed up logistics and workflow processes, configure devices with standard application and security environments, support related technologies, facilitate BYOD or flexible device ownership policies, and more frequently refresh device inventories.
Millennials aren’t going anywhere, so it’s time modern enterprises start paying attention if they haven’t already. Though we sometimes get a bad rap, our comfort with technology is a key workplace strength. As for face-to-face communication? We’re working on it.