Is your small business technology meeting the needs of the millennial worker?

 

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Say what you want about millennials, there seems to be no debate that they are having an impact on the workplace. A Gallup study, “What Millennials Want From Work and Life,” finds that like most generations, millennials want a life “well lived” with 30+ hours a week of work and regular paychecks. But that doesn’t mean that they accept the status quo. Millennials want flexibility that permits a better work/life balance; they want employers to invest in their development; and they want to work for companies that advance change for the better.

Considering that more than one-in-three American workers is a millennial, according to the Pew Research Center; this generation representing those 18 to 34 is proving to be a force for small businesses to reckon with. Regarding work options, for example, a Plantronics survey found that 64% of small business leaders said offering flexible, mobile and remote work options has assisted them in hiring or retaining key employees.

When it comes to technology, this is the generation regarded as the most digitally connected. So it should be no surprise that millennials have specific expectations about the use of technology in the workplace. A study of millennials from 75 countries entitled “Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace,” commissioned by PwC found that:

  • 59% of those surveyed said an employer’s provision of state-of-the art technology was important to them when considering a job
  • over half surveyed routinely make use of their own technology at work
  • 78% said access to the technology they like to use makes them more effective at work
  • 41% of those questioned said they would rather communicate electronically than face-to-face or over the telephone

In fact, it was millennials’ penchant for the use of preferred devices at work that fostered Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). BYOD helped to fuel the consumerization of IT, whereby technology first emerges in the consumer market then flows upwards to business, turning the trend on its head.

Millennials want a great, personalized tech experience

Whether your small business enables BYOD or you provide your team with devices, satisfying the tech needs of a millennial workforce is essential. To that end, millennials want a slick user experience. Devices and apps must be simple to use and powerful. The tech savvy generation that probably could “figure it out,” won’t take the time to do so and will look for an alternative if the user experience is not satisfying.

Millennials also see devices as a reflection of how they collaborate and communicate with each other. In this regard, tech devices are considered a status symbol. This very personal view of today’s tech devices has resulted in a new generation of smartphones, tablets and laptops that are stylish, powerful and flexible. Also to accommodate work anywhere, compact and portable counts a lot.

Laptop charger company Zolt says that millennials also want devices and gadgets that work the same way so that the experience is consistent across all of them. Consistency in style among peripherals, such as keyboards and even headsets, also is a consideration. Millennials don’t want devices to look out of place with each other.

By blending lifestyles with professional values and workstyles, millennials are changing the game in the workplace. Small businesses that need this new workforce are learning to play by the new rules.

About Judi Hembrough

Judi leads Americas Marketing strategy and go-to-market programs for the Small and Medium Business (SMB) customer segment at Plantronics. Judi has been a marketing director at Plantronics for 10 years in various roles focused on Strategic Alliances Marketing, SMB and Home & Home Office solutions. Prior to Plantronics, Judi was President of William-Christie Associates, Inc. -- a management consulting practice, for 10 years where she guided numerous companies such as Palm, Intuit, CBS MarketWatch and HID, in driving new initiatives.