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Apr 04

5 Office Policies Causing Friction for Millennials

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Millennials have been caricatured in the modern office as impatient, entitled, tech-centric upstarts who demand constant attention and positive reinforcement. Sure, there are some in any office that could fit all, or many of these stereotypes; but it’s hard to paint everyone between the age of 12 and 34 with the same brush. With more than 50% of the workforce projected to consist of millennials by 2020, HR departments need to seriously consider the implications of catering to a millennial workforce.

Office Departmentalization

Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have connected people around the world in powerful ways. Millennials are bringing their passion for social connectivity to the office. They demand the ability to collaborate and work together to accomplish goals.

And just because millennials are text-message-aficionados, don’t think your management team is getting out of facetime with the new hires. According to a survey of more than 1,000 millennials conducted by Microsoft, “…sixty-five percent preferred face-to-face meetings with their managers and 51 percent preferred in-person meetings when collaborating with others on projects.”

Action Items: Reduce territorial boundaries between departments and encourage collaboration across departments. Ensure that managers are meeting in-person with their teams on a regular basis to assess progress and discuss challenges.

Communication of Vision, or Lack Thereof

Millennials thrive when they feel they are working together with a team to achieve a meaningful goal. According to Karl Moore, financial rewards are important, but they come second to knowing that the work they’re doing has meaning. The success of companies like Zappos, Google, Facebook, comes in part because of the unique working environment that highlights the employee experience within the framework of the company.

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Action Items: Strong managers will gain buy-in and help ensure that employees understand how their current work will impact the growth of the company, as well as their personal career trajectory within the organization.

Company Provided Technology Requirements

For millennials, new technology isn’t just something that’s nice to have, it’s critical to their job satisfaction. Companies with a focus on employee retention will make getting the latest tech into their employee’s hands a priority.

For millennials, the selections they make about their personal tech speaks to their most personal preferences and priorities. A smartphone is one of the most intimate devices in our daily life; providing millennials a window into their social media presences and connecting them instantaneously with friends and family.

The top companies are allowing employees to bring their personal technology to work and implement it as part of their daily routine. Completing assignments on a personal device provides millennials with a sense of comfort in the ecosystem of programs and hardware they interact with. While securing personal devices with corporate data is a challenge, the benefits in employee satisfaction and productivity are worth the extra hassle.

Takeaways: Regularly upgrade the technology used by employees to improve job satisfaction. Make sure internet connections and office WiFi are fast and reliable. Allow employees to use personal devices at work to complete tasks and increase productivity.

Heavy Reliance on Corporate IT Departments: The Dreaded Trouble Ticket

In the age of Google, employees have difficulty accepting the slow turnaround time associated with Help Desk support. Corporate IT, while a necessary evil in today’s cloud-based office environments, should be relegated to behind-the-scenes maintenance. Focus on implement software and hardware initiatives that increase reliability and decrease the incidents where employees need to rely on the IT department to resolve issues.

When something does go wrong, millennials are equipped with the skills to self-diagnose and perform basic troubleshooting. Giving employees access to basic troubleshooting functions on company equipment reduces the number of Support Tickets, and gives millennials a sense of control over their technology at work. There’s a reason every visit a millennial makes to see parents and grandparents involves free tech support; they know how to leverage resources to solve every day technical glitches.

Takeaway: Reduce reliance on corporate IT and empower individual employees to resolve simple technical issues independently.

Traditional Career Tracks and Chains of Command

As mentioned earlier, millennials are hyperaware of the fact that a company will throw an employee overboard in order to save a couple dollars. They realize that a job just doesn’t offer the security it used to, but they still want to build a career within a quality organization. Companies that want to extract the most productivity out of their teams need to spend resources communicating the values and priorities of the organization to the individual team members.

Takeaway: Spend time mentoring employees and providing them with a sense of purpose. Their long-term value needs to be communicated. Provide millennials with a roadmap that entails their path with the company, and how they can get to a position where they feel they will be most fulfilled at work.

Millennials: The Most Important Resource Your Company Has

As millennials increase to become the majority of the workforce by 2020, learning how to motivate and engage them is key to the long-term health of your organization. Their production will have the highest quality when they feel their tasks serve a positive purpose in the world around them. Is your company positioned to thrive on millennial ingenuity?

Source: 5 Office Policies Causing Friction for Millennials

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