The way in which people communicate is ever changing. The 80s had the fax machine, the 90s had email and the 00s has already gone through MSN, BBM and various other acronyms that I may have never researched.
But in a world in which you can literally order a Domino’s Pizza by screaming into a Government listening device (Alexa), how do millennials prefer to communicate at work, and perhaps more importantly, why should you even care? Well in the words of not-a-scientist Jennifer Aniston: “Here comes the science bit”.
What’s a millennial?
Born between 1980 and 2000, a millennial is typically very social, very collaborative and very passionate. But whilst a millennial is evidently very lots of things, they do have one glaring character flaw standing in the way of business domination: work ethic. Famously workshy, millennials are known for having a rather chillaxed attitude when it comes to grafting. Take me for example, I’m a millennial and it took me 2 weeks to write these first two paragraphs. Seriously.
In reality, millennials prefer to skip the ‘trying bit’ in favour of adopting new technologies that make them look brilliant in front of their old school bosses. By adopting new technologies early, they can hit their KPIs with minimum stress and maximum efficiency, ensuring a one-way ticket to promotion town and all the fashionable vegetables (I’m looking at you avocado!) money can buy.
Video is top dog and breeds flexibility
With the normalisation of video chat on popular apps such as WhatsApp, FaceTime & Facebook Messenger, millennials have observed closely as this technology has developed from 100 smudged pixels on a 1-inch Nokia screen, all the way through to bombastic HD retina displays that give you motion sickness just by looking at them. Listen, all this means is that millennials get video. They already know how to utilise the medium in order to get the most out of it in a professional capacity.
But why should you care? Not only does video have lots of clever and creative applications at work that you haven’t thought of, for example performing candidate interviews over video conferencing systems, streaming company training to thousands and/or doing new employee inductions regardless of office locations. No, as well as these obviously beneficial applications, 92% of millennials say they’d like to work remotely, even if it’s for just one to two days a week. This means that you’re more likely to attract the industry’s top young talent if your business has a strong video strategy.
Not only will you keep the cool kids happy, you’ll also enable them to be forever productive and innovative, regardless of any location constraints/work life balance challenges that they might have.
Collaboration is so hot right now
Outdated sayings aside, collaboration fosters creativity in the working environment and ideas develop more when bounced off others. Everyone knows that you can’t design a camel all by yourself and we can all agree that camels are much cooler than horses. Whatever your interpretation of that quote, the point here is that to enable younger generations minds to flourish, you need to create an environment in which they can work together. However, to really succeed here, you need let them do this in ways that suit their current working habits and preferences.
If you’re interested in achieving such nirvana, then I’d suggest you deploy a BYOD strategy alongside a UC suite that allows for such tomfoolery. For those that don’t speak fluent business jargon like me, BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device and UC stands for *Googles it*… Unified Communications. These future proofing tools connect your employees in virtual spaces AND allow them to work together in ways that suit them. For example, want to send a video via your iPhone to a colleague’s email and get your replies on WhatsApp through your microwave? It’s not a problem. By giving young people the freedom to choose which device they use at work, you grant them the freedom to be more creative, and as such, more successful in their jobs.
Keep it simple
Remember when you had to download Yahoo Messenger, click on a chat room and spam 100 people separately just to meet your future girlfriend (just me?)? Well now with apps like Tinder and Bumble, you can literally swipe left once, and you’re already married with kids and getting divorced (just me?). The point here folks is that if you want to impress young people and ‘get down with it’, then you need to transfer this ‘one click’ philosophy into your business operations. Millennials have grown up with tech consistently getting better and easier to use, so naturally they expect everything to be the same when they enter the work environment.
Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve this. Remember that old video conference solution that took up your entire wall and required 6 keys to be turned at the exact same time in order for you to talk to the person on the other side of the table? Well times have changed and providers such as StarLeaf have one click video conferencing solutions where you literally press one button and you’re instantly chatting to someone on the International Space Station in full HD. It’s so instantaneous that you don’t even have to talk anymore. You press the button and you’ve hit your KPI already based on all the time you’ve saved in just setting it up.
Other ways to succeed include making all devices automatically connect to the network (and everything that goes with it) once they entire the building. Or allow users to work from anywhere with no lengthy VPN processes. Or why not give your employees private access to internal gateways through their mobile phone and other smart devices? What about some other technology related benefits that I clearly don’t and will never understand, have you thought about those?
The point here is that lots of steps turn people off, it’s why I’ve never been up the Eiffel tower and why I won’t consider using the Covent Garden tube station. Simply put, if you make it easier for your millennials to do work, they may actually do some work, and in turn, you’ll have a more agile business that gets things done with more efficiency and fewer barriers.
Phew, there we have it, that’s officially how young people communicate at work. As a millennial I think I’ve done just about the bare minimum with this article, and as such, I can take a 6-month sabbatical. Only kidding, I’ll be back shortly. Until then, here’s hoping the boffins here at Excell can create an auto-blog that allows me to write these posts automatically… or wait… could it be… maybe they already have? Nah they haven’t, a robot would never be this bad at grammar! See ya!