Workplace Slideshow: Engaging Millennial IT Workers: Rethink EverythingBy Don Reisinger | Posted 08-30-2010
Go Where They Are
Millennials, and even some Gen X workers, don't have landline phones. They don't use newsgroups. They're communicating via social networks, Instant Message, Twitter and smartphones. This is where you need to engage them.
Talking on the phone is passÃ©. It's reserved for conversations that are considered too complex for a quick text message, and even then the call has to be arranged in advance via text or IM. Need a fast response? Send a text. If you're a BlackBerry enterprise, use BlackBerry Messenger.
E-Mail Is Old School
For younger workers, it's a relic. Stick with IM. It makes communication speedy and appeals to workers who have grown up with such services.
Collaboration is Key
Millennials prefer teamwork, according to the TEKsystems survey. Boomers and Gen X workers might like autonomy, but Millennials are social and want to bounce around ideas. Bring collaboration into the IT mix.
Baby Boomers, and many Gen X workers, learned what they know about computers while on the job. Smartphones were a sci-fi pipe dream when these folks entered the workforce. They have a tech learning curve that simply doesn't exist for the "Digital Natives."
Give Them An iPhone
BlackBerry is ideal from an enterprise perspective, but young workers want the latest, greatest smartphone, and they want to upgrade often. They expect to do more with it than e-mail and voice calling; for them, the smartphone is a full-fledged computing device.
A Little Freedom Goes A Long Way
Millennials want to check their Facebook news feed and talk with friends over IM while at work. Set corporate policies that give them some leeway and you'll all be better off for it.
You are Renting Their Time
Baby Boomers joined a company after college and expected to be there until retirement. Millennials job hop. Establish an institutional knowledge repository that lives on as the talent pool churns.
Legacy Hardware = Bad Morale
Please, don't give your Millennial workers that old Dell laptop that has been passed around the company for years. They want to be wowed by the newest, fastest, lightest devices you can offer.
Show Me The Flex-Time
Money isn't the only motivating factor for Millennials. They expect a fair wage, but they also covet a work/life balance, according to the TEKsystems study. Do away with the old time-clock mentality. Give them time off, have flexible work hours, and offer work-from-home options.