Supporting Millenials in the workplace

There’s a shift happening in the workplace. A significant and growing proportion of the working population is now made up of “Millennials” (also known as Generation Y, and often defined as people born between 1982 and 2001). Millenials tend to be tech-savvy, raised with ever-present mobile phones, ubiquitous online access and social media. But how can businesses support Millenials at work; how do they expect to communicate, collaborate and get things done? A new report over on GigaOM Pro (subscription required), Millennials in the enterprise: strategies for supporting the new digital workforce, surveyed Millennials about their use of technology at work, with a particular focus on how they communicate and learn and what they expect in regards to technology support. Analyst David Card examined Millennials’ attitudes and behavior regarding communication means and preferences, their approach to solving problems and their mobile and after-hours work habits.

One interesting characteristic of Millenials noted in the report is that they tend to rely on their own resources and network of friends or colleagues to try and solve problems before going down the official support path. This is an important point to note for IT departments that need to support Millemials: they are prime candidates both for self- help solutions and for collaborative problem-solving and training. As Card explains, “Forward-thinking IT managers will gear solutions and policies around those concepts, and engineer FAQs or self-help portals that behave like search, social networks or forums.”

The report also looks into Millenials’ use of technology. Unsurprisingly for a generation that grew up with mobile phones and ubiquitous Internet access, it found that Millennials use mobile and home devices for work, and that significant numbers of Millennials work at least part of the time from home, are extremely mobile and like to use their preferred choice of devices. Forward-thinking companies can boost employee satisfaction by respecting their preferred choice of devices; the report notes that a quarter of Millennials said the type of devices supplied by employers strongly affected their job satisfaction, and nearly half said it had at least some influence.

To get the full report, head over to GigaOM Pro (a subscription is required, but a free trial is available). Card’s report is actually only the first of two parts; it will be interesting to read the second part, which will examine how prepared corporate IT departments are to cater for the needs of their growing ranks of Millennial employees.