Word has it that millennials are changing the way that we work. By the year 2025, millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce, according to Forbes magazine. At some companies, they are already coming close to reaching that number. The distinguishing characteristics of millennials – their habits, their expectations, and their values – will have a major impact on business culture and management. What they want in a workplace will start to become the norm.
So what is it that millennials think the workplace should look like? Ironically, the “me” generation idealizes many things that are not just good for them, but also good for others. And true to their digital native, tech-savvy nature, technology plays a big part in achieving those ideals. Many of the values that millennials uphold can be achieved with videoconferencing – a technology that works for interest of the whole organization. Adopting a video conferencing platform is one tool in the toolbox for attracting and retaining millennial talent.
Rather than being relegated to a closed-off cube or isolated office, millennials prefer to be around others and collaborate as a team. Specifically, they work best when they’re collaborating on projects designed to meet specific goals. A new study by IdeaPaint showed that 74% of millennials prefer to work in small groups to working alone. The collaborative technologies that they’re accustomed to – like wikis and social networks – have influenced these habits. Videoconferencing fits in with this trend perfectly, allowing for collaboration at the office or on the go. It allows team members to regularly touch base and truly work as a cohesive unit.
Flexible Work Schedules
Millennials value their free time and are highly protective of it. For this reason, they appreciate having flexible work schedules as well as the ability to work from home. In fact, one study found that 92% of millennials want to be able to work remotely and 87% would like to be able work outside the typical 9-to-5 workday hours. This isn’t something that employers should be wary if; in fact, Gallup polls have found that employees with these privileges are more productive and engaged. An essential component to any remote work arrangement is a solid, reliable videoconferencing platform like ClickMeeting. Having a software program that seamlessly allows remote employees to attend meetings, have one-on-ones with their boss, and otherwise feel connected to their work and colleagues will make millennials want to stay on board.
You won’t have to convince millennials that videoconferencing is the future of meetings – they’re most likely already using it (or want to). While older managers often stick to in-person meetings, millennial executives think video is the way to go. A study by Cisco found that 87% of millennial managers think videoconferencing has a positive effect on businesses. When millennials take the lead in the workforce, it’s expected that videoconferencing will become the new norm, while in-person meetings will take a back seat. As videoconferencing technologies improve, this trend will become more pronounced. While face-to-face meetings and telephone conferences may never go away completely, videoconferencing gives the best of both worlds and is millennials’ strong preference. With so many millennials working from home and prioritizing efficiency, they’ll want to connect via videoconference as much as possible.
Need for Feedback
Being told how they’re doing and what they can do to improve is something that millennials are practically addicted to. Perhaps it’s because they grew up with games and technology – which give immediate feedback and instant gratification, respectively – but whatever the reason, millennials need regular feedback at work to feel like they’re making progress. One annual review per year just isn’t going to cut it. Rather than having to wait a whole year to get feedback, millennials would much rather have regular meetings with their boss. They’re driven by this feedback to learn and grow as professionals, so giving them what they want in this case will almost always boost productivity. How can videoconferencing help? As with telecommuting, videoconferencing makes it easy to remote in to a one-on-one for a feedback session. Whether it’s direct feedback on a project or an overall evaluation of their work performance, giving feedback becomes as easy as clicking a button to connect with their employees.
Millennials are already proving their worth in the workforce in business, technology, and the gamut of industries and specializations. For managers who are accustomed to a certain way of doing things, some of their work habits and preferences may seem a bit unorthodox, and indeed some managers are resistant to making changes that accommodate them. However, businesses can benefit greatly by offering a little flexibility and maintaining an open mind. Catering to millennials isn’t “giving in,” it’s recognizing that minor adjustments can make millennials much more productive and successful. Adding in or increasing use of videoconferencing is a crucial step in making a business “millennial friendly.”