By Kevin Nicosia, Senior Manager - Cloud Applications Professional Services
Millennials (ages 18-34) now make up the largest segment of the American workforce. Currently one third of the labor market, millennials are expected to comprise a full 75% within the next 10 years. And, millennials are not as loyal to employers as their Generation X counterparts; they are likely to leave if they don’t get what they want, which includes anytime anywhere access to the latest technology.
While most organizations are already experiencing some impact related to the millennial shift, few are effectively strategizing how to accommodate and engage this new generation of workers. IT is key to this effort. Having grown up with the Internet, expecting immediate answers to questions and access to data, millennials are technologically savvy and accustomed to change. IT departments must adapt for the business to remain competitive.
Has your organization identified the gaps between what your IT department has to offer and what millennials want?
What Millennials Want
A recent study by Randstad Technologies and IDG Research Services suggests that to attract and keep top millennial talent, businesses and their IT departments need to invest in millennial-friendly technologies, such as mobility, cloud, big data, and social media. Millennials, who already use cloud-based email and collaboration tools, expect employers to provide access to the latest technology and the ability to use the mobile devices and apps they want. Cloud-based storage, Software as a Service (SaaS), Desktop as a Service (DaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) all provide millennials the flexibility they expect in their work.
The labor market is clearly changing. Coinciding with, or perhaps reflective of, the millennial shift is a substantial move towards contract/freelance work, which the Randstad/IDG study notes could reach 50% of the workforce in the next five years. Among the best ways to accommodate these workers – the key IT investments – are BYOD, cloud-based communications and collaboration tools, and mobile and cloud-based security.
Flexibility is key to successfully navigating the millennial shift. According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 75% would like to start working remotely and feel they would be more productive doing so. This figure is significant and nearly twice the share of workers who currently work from home. The study also found that 88% would like to have flexibility in their work start and end times, confirming that the traditional workday no longer defines when work gets done. And, 77% would like increased mobile connectivity in the workplace, including using smartphones and remote access solutions to conduct business on their own schedule.
Why a Cloud Strategy is Essential
Millennials expect to use cloud-based technologies in the workplace; contract and distributed workers rely on it. In a climate where IT departments are having to do more with less, a move to the cloud may seem out of reach. However, cloud can be a disruptive technology, one that frees IT from the day-to-day routine operations. Cloud implementations can empower your IT department to be innovative and focus on the projects that make them more relevant to the business.
Cloud solutions, like the suite of Office 365 applications, keep workers connected while in and out of the office, increasing productivity. As-a-Service options allow workers to be mobile while keeping the company’s data secure and enable IT to provide up-to-date, cutting-edge services. These solutions are also expertly managed and maintained by external service providers, offloading the time and expense associated with operational management.