The rise of millennials in the workplace have great value to help shape the future of organizations. Those born in 1980’s through early 2000’s are now accounting for nearly half of employees in the world. We, as managers, colleagues, market leaders, CEOs, must understand how to integrate and improve the digital ecosystem within our organization to encompass the technological demands that exists outside of the workplace for millennials. Millennials have certain expectations when it comes to productivity at work and collaboration. Empowering a modern digital workplace is key.
Millennials have been raised during mainstream social and collaboration era, often referred to as “digital natives.” They grew up with technology in their homes and in their day to day lives. The advances in devices and applications provide robust communication and computing, yet the technology used in many organizations is outdated and lacks being cutting-edge.
The modern digital workplace is a key component to keeping employees motivated to stay, engaged and productive in their work. The choice for employers is straightforward: give employees tools that are innovative and collaborative or do not expect them to stay in the organization for long. Organizations must adopt similar productivity and communication tools that millennials are using such as Google applications, WhatsApp and social media. Millennials and many other employees are turning away from email and hoping to use tools that are more conversation-based. One way to do this is by transforming your current collaboration experience with cloud solutions, like Microsoft Office 365, for the reasons below:
- Stay Connected: Since Office 365 is hosted on the cloud, users can stay up to date with various Office 365 apps on the go through their devices. There is no longer a need to flip open a laptop to access documents, email, calendar and corporate intranets. If you have a smartphone, you are connected.
- Chat with Colleagues: Microsoft Teams introduction is key to driving millennials towards the Office 365 suite. Microsoft is focusing on digital transformation and finding ways to better engage users through chat-based productivity tools such as Microsoft Teams. Millennials can easily use their devices and chat with their colleagues which ultimately helps bring the team together. Millennials want the ease of conversation which fosters relationships within their team. Microsoft Teams has removed a burden for me to consistently send e-mail to a more communication chat-like nature which is fluid and natural to our day to day lives.
- Speed and Accessibility: Just as content and data are easily accessible via social media and collaboration apps, the cloud provides faster access to proposals, documents, and people/expertise in my company and corporate information to keep me in the know.
CIO’s and other market leaders need to be open to the types of technologies available within their workplace. There should be flexibility to deploying technologies easily in the organization. While some organizations are more constrained than others, those that do have some flexibility should encourage millennials to bring innovative solutions to improve processes to ultimately create products that are fruitful. Millennials can use their social communication channels to help influence how employees think about adoption of modern technologies and tools.
Bringing to Life an Innovative Idea
Being a millennial myself who has supported both commercial and government clients with intranet transformations for 5+ years, I have understood the protocols and limitations that exist to put technologies in place. However, there are several avenues and pitches that can be made to enhance an existing and potentially new tool.
For example, I suggested to a client who could not buy a third-party tool to use their existing Microsoft SharePoint platform to engage employees through an Idea Lab, where employees can post ideas on how to improve their project, tools to purchase, organization suggestions – topics that ranged from technology to strategic initiatives. Once those ideas are posted, they can be voted on, iterated and come to life with support and mentorship of senior leadership. I was able to help put together the social aspect of communication to meet business needs while collaborating. This empowers the employees to be connected and challenge one another, a key feature that will attract millennials and retain them.
Leveraging a tool such as Office 365 easily connects colleagues and helps to nourish team-building and communication naturally.
Have specific questions about Office 365? Set up a complimentary consultation today, or give us a call at 240.348.4208