Today's employees expect a workplace with flexible technology policies, telecommuting and flex programs, challenging and meaningful work, and a fun work environment.
By Samuel Greengard
Over the last decade, the rules of business and IT have been completely revamped and rewritten. Employees—increasingly wired into work and required to juggle an ever-greater array of tasks—are changing their expectations. Nowhere is this more obvious than with Millennials, who aren't comfortable with the rules that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have lived with. Here are five things today's employees demand:
Cool technology. BYOD is only part of the story. In addition to using their smartphone or tablet, employees want to use their preferred apps, including cloud-based software tools that aid in their productivity (think Evernote, Dropbox, Salesforce and Google Apps). They also want to have their social media apps available at a thumb's distance. Deny them and they will use them anyway—and cast a long shadow on your IT department.
Greater flexibility. The days of 9-5 are ancient history. Let's face it, everyone checks e-mail all the time and many workers continue to juggle tasks before heading off to bed or after their daughter's Saturday soccer game. In order to aim for some level of sanity, organizations must establish telecommuting programs (sorry, Marissa Mayer!) along with flexible schedules and vacation policies. Basically, workers want the freedom to work how they want and when they want. Managers who can't adapt should be escorted to Room 101.
More autonomy. The command and control approach that worked fabulously for the 20th century is a complete train wreck in the 21st century. Employees increasingly want to work in way that suits them—without a boss issuing edicts about how best to tackle a project or what tool to use. They also want to create their own ad hoc network of coworkers and colleagues (think social collaboration) that leads them down the path of enlightenment.
Appreciation, recognition. Money, bonuses and old-school perks probably won't light a fire under today's workers. Sure, they want to get paid. However, their motivation is often derived from engaging in meaningful work, knowing that it matters and seeing the results of their work. By the way, a bit of recognition goes a long way—and seemingly little things matter, like a handwritten thank-you note from a senior executive or pizzas for staff working late to complete a project.
Fun, good food and much more. Younger workers, particularly Millennials, see no reason to work somewhere that's rigid and boring. Take a page from Google, Facebook and Apple, even if you can't do all the things they do. This means creating a challenging and stimulating work environment, dishing up good food, and providing facilities—such as gaming rooms, a hair salon or massage area, concierge services and workout facilities (with really cool gear!). That way, people don't mind spending 10 or 12 hours a day at work.
Now, be honest: How are you doing with these five?
About the Author
Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for CIO Insight. To read his previous CIO Insight blog post, "Five Ways to Maximize on Mobility," click here.