By Ellie Martin
Millennials now make up the largest percentage of the workforce in America, passing Generation X back in early 2015. The growing influence of younger people in the workplace is prompting many old-school businesses to start adapting more forward-thinking operational practices. As the very nature of the workplace changes, with remote teams and manager-free structures becoming more and more common, so too does the way employers engage with their employees. Many Millennials are now reaching the primes of their working careers, and as they continue to have more of a say in the way companies go about their business, we’ll start to see some major changes in the day-to-day operations of teams across all industries.
A good deal of research has been conducted in order to pinpoint exactly how Millennials view the workplace and what they expect from an ideal working environment, and one thing has become clear: some of the practices that were commonplace in traditional working environments just won’t cut it anymore.
They want more frequent communication.
In a world of instant communication back and forth, 15Five reports that Millennial workers are not satisfied or motivated by yearly or even quarterly performance reviews, instead preferring 15-minute weekly check-ins via chat, conference call, or an in-person meeting. In addition to consistency in communication, Millennials value meaningful interpersonal relationships, according to the survey, and more frequent informal check-ins are a great way to satisfy both those desires.
They’re not sold on email.
While almost all workers, Millennials included, still use email, results from theEMPLOYEEapp’s survey reveal that very few are convinced of its effectiveness as a communication tool, believing it to be a messy, slow, and outdated medium. Most of us, Millennial or not, can attest to this: how often has communication broken down in the midst of a messy email chain?
Mobile has a bright future.
Using a mobile app for company-to-employee messaging is still a relatively new trend, but people are responding very positively toward it: theEMPLOYEEapp reports that 90% of workers find SMS or native app messaging an effective communication tool. Mobile devices are already being used more often for a wider variety of tasks, including everything from social media (more on that later) to personal finance tracking and much more, so it makes sense that the business world would start utilizing them for functions other than just phone calls and email.
Streamlining team management is a popular trend.
With email becoming more and more out of favor, project management apps like Asana are growing more popular for teams, offering transparent project tracking and a central communication hub for all to see. Such apps allow managers to kill two birds with one stone: they can easily reach out to communicate with teams or individuals while also tracking the progress of the various projects going on across the business.
They’re using social media in the workplace.
Yes, you read that correctly. The survey from theEMPLOYEEapp reports social media as the platform most frequently used by employees on a daily and weekly basis, and not just for tweets and status updates. Respondents indicate that social media was an especially useful venue for company news and event announcements.
They want cutting edge technology.
According to Microsoft, 93% of Millennial workers say that a business having up-to-date technology is an important factor when choosing a workplace. Implicit in that desire is the need for cutting edge communication platforms. Why have an office phone system when you could have one software platform that takes care of your team communication and project management all in one central hub?
They’re willing to bridge the generation gap.
While Millennials make up a huge portion of the workforce, many managers are still of an older generation with different expectations of communication. Workers from previous generations are annoyed by Millennials’ unwillingness to pick up the phone and call someone, while Millennials expressed frustration that coworkers of an older generation simply don’t know how communication works in today’s world. According to 15Five, though, there can be a compromise: close to 60% of Millennial workers report that a web-based Q&A platform would make it easier to communicate with team members of an older generation.
Bottom Line: They really value communication.
15Five reports that over 80% of Millennials in the workforce say they would rather work for a company that values “open communication” over one with top employee benefits, showing that they value healthy work environments and advancing their own careers more than they value material rewards like benefits and bonuses.
The workplace is in a state of flux right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s doomed or moving backward. As Millennials continue to grow their influence in the working world, expect many positive changes to the standard workplace environment that will promote openness, accountability and transparency.
Ellie Martin writes about business and technology.