The Inevitable Rise of the Millennials: What Can Be Altered to Cater Them

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Alwin Adityo's picture

Millennials are gradually making their way into the workforce and corporations are seeking ways on how to adjust their corporate employment practices to appeal to Millennials. Strategies and plans on how to cater and appeal to Millennials should be on every corporate agenda by now, as the Millennials are expected to make up 36 percent of the American workforce in 2014 and 75 percent of the global workforce in 2020. Furthermore, companies need to cater to Millennials as they possess different capabilities and demands from their predecessors, especially technological capabilities and preference of working conditions. Millennials, not surprisingly, tend to use technology more natively and in a different way compared to previous generations and prefer more liberal working conditions. Companies though cannot tweak every corporate policy to suit the preferences of the Millennials, as some procedures are deemed better to be left as they are.

Having access to technology at a young age makes Millennials very ingrained in technology and the technology offered or allowed in a workplace does affect their choice of employment.  According to Nielsen, Millennials ranked “Technology Use” first when asked what makes them unique. Moreover, citing data from Accenture, on average of 37 percent of Millennials consider state-of-the-art technology to be a key factor in selecting an employer and 46 percent want to choose their technology in the workplace. This means that corporations who would want to appeal to Millennials need to adjust corporate regulations on technology. One policy that can be adjusted is the bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Aside from making workers more happy by giving them the freedom to choose what device they can use, a study by the New York Times in 2011 has shown that it can save the company money. Employees, in some cases pay for the equipment and seeking help or after sales service is handled by the store staff or the phone manufacturer instead of the company’s I.T. department. It must be noted by Millennials however, that companies such as Banks might not implement this policy due to the sensitive nature of information and data retention laws. Millennials who are faced in such situation and are inclined using the latest technology in the workplace must carefully review what devices that the employer offers. In turn, the employer might want to expand the choice of corporate approved devices to appeal to Millennials.

Moreover, the Millennials deep connection with technology use can affect on how they prefer certain working conditions and the industry they prefer to work in. Technology allows interactions between individuals to be made even though they are physically apart from each other. For example, a meeting between individuals in different parts of the world may be done for a small fee or even free through video calling services such as Skype. Having a meeting with the participants not physically present might not sound natural with employees coming from the previous generations but Millennials prefer such type of setting. Furthermore, the millennials deep affection with technology is also reflected in the top companies they want to work for. According to Forbes, citing a NSHSS survey using millennials in the U.S. as the subject, 7 companies based in the technology or creative industry sector made it into the list of top 25 companies Millennials want to work for.  Some of the technology or creative industry companies that made it onto the list were Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Apple and creative industry powerhouses such as Dreamworks Animation and Walt Disney Company.  Companies outside this list, whether based in the technology sector or not, might want to see whether they could adapt certain practices by companies in the Top 25 list. For example, Google’s liberal corporate culture is highly popular amongst the Millennials. Google has a relaxed dress code and it offers stellar benefits in its workplace to its employees such as onsite cafes and wellness centers.

If adapting certain procedures from companies in the technology or creative industry sector is deemed too liberal, companies can adjust their corporate strategies to add a sense of social responsibility. Millennials have shown to be very aware and active in addressing social issues. In Deloitte’s 2014 millennial global survey it was revealed that millennials want to work for organizations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills and a make a positive contribution to society. What this means for companies is that aside giving more freedom and adapting a democratic or laissez-faire approach to management, they need to promote their CSR efforts in order to appeal to millennials. Sources such as Forbes and Chicago Business have claimed that companies that actively engage in CSR efforts are attractive to millennials. In a 2011 study by ad agency network TBWA/Worldwide and take part, 7 in 10 young adults consider themselves social activists and according to a survey by Net Impact, 35 percent of millennials are willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that is committed to CSR.  Furthermore, as millennials are very engaged in using technology, companies must also find innovative ways to promote their CSR activities. Instead of reporting CSR activities only as part of an annual or quarterly company report that could stretch for hundreds of pages long, the reporting of CSR activities can be conducted through social media. An example of a company that has implemented such measure is AMD, who releases condensed reports of CSR activities through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  Social media such as Twitter limits messages posted to 140 characters and is heavily populated by millennials, therefore the message conveyed by the company on its CSR activities can be more direct and is more effective to be used a communication tool.

It is inevitable that Millennials are entering the workforce and companies need to adapt certain strategies and policies in order to appeal to Millennials. As the Millennials are fond of technology, the use of technology in the workplace and to report corporate activities are some areas in which companies can adjust their policy or strategy in order to appeal to millennials. Moreover, it has been shown that the Millennials affection towards technology is also shown by the sectors in which they seek employment. Aside from firms working in the IT sector or in creative industry, Millennials prefer companies that are socially responsible and active in addressing social issues. However, due to regulations and security reasons, companies in certain industries may not be able to adjust their corporate policies in order to meet the demands of the millennials. It is therefore recommended that Millennials seek out as much information about the employer and its policies in order to ensure it suits them. On the other hand, due to their rising presence in the workforce, companies need to adjust their policies as much as possible in order to appeal to this generation of workers.