Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S., according to Census data released in April. Not surprisingly, they also are the largest generation in the workforce.
As of the first quarter of 2015, there were 53.5 million millennials in the workforce, according to Pew Research Center, comprising about 34 percent of all U.S. workers.
Every generation likes to think it’s unique, but make no mistake: Millennials actually are, and in ways that impact how they do their jobs, which tools they prefer to use and whether they actually care about following any rules or guidelines suggested by IT.
Since Millennials will be approaching 50 percent of the total U.S. workforce by 2020, IT professionals must understand the expectations, habits and preferences of these workers — or risk making them less productive, less happy in their jobs and ultimately more likely to leave.
A 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey concludes:
Millennials, in general, express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits. This remarkable absence of allegiance represents a serious challenge to any business employing a large number of Millennials, especially those in markets—like the United States—where Millennials now represent the largest segment of the workforce.
So what can IT do to make their enterprises attractive places to work for Millennials? Here are some clues from the Society for Human Resource Management:
While they’re more pragmatic than members of Generation X and the Baby Boomers, members of Generation Y are early adopters of mobile, digital technology and will purchase apps and systems that simplify their lives at home and at work. … Millennials want “frictionless experiences” between the digital and real world.
The bottom line for enterprise IT professionals is that this emerging majority of workers has strong technology preferences, a desire for flexibility in work environments and schedules and a desire for easy collaboration and information sharing. IT can meet many of these needs by deploying cloud-based technologies, ensuring secure support for mobile devices and apps and providing tools that enable remote work, collaboration and data access.
While some forward-looking enterprises already are doing these things, others still are dragging their feet. As we move beyond smartphones and tablets in the enterprise to wearables, contextual applications and even robots, IT must anticipate and prepare to integrate and support the technologies preferred by the generation that will comprise 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Or pay the consequences.
Is your enterprise “millennialized”?