Why organisations need to change to suit millennials, not the other way around…

Very interesting article from CIO magazine hit the wires last week (and a hat tip to Steve Cogan for tweeting it), entitled ‘Give your workplace a Millennial makeover’:

The Millennial generation, comprised of students and workers between the ages of 14 and 27, is rocking the foundations of IT in the workplace – and is set to do so for years to come.

Global research recently conducted by Accenture on Millennials’ views and use of technology in 13 countries showed just how dramatically the first wave of this generation is impacting the workplace today. As a group, they see little separation between personal and work, virtual and physical, sanctioned and prohibited.

Although the survey identified national differences, the general findings deliver the following message: CIOs must realise that Millennials work and think differently. As a result, CIOs need to learn how to accommodate and learn from Millennials already in the workforce, and those who will enter in the future.

The article goes on to list the four key lessons that CIOs need to learn:

1. Millennials expect to use the technology and devices of their choice.

2. They either don’t care about or won’t obey corporate IT policies.
 

3. They have an entirely different view of privacy than previous generations.


4. They have little use for corporate email as a major collaboration tool.

Finally, Gary Curtis (Accenture’s Chief Technology Strategist and a Managing Director in Accenture’s Management Consulting practice) lists out some of his recommendations for methods to help organisations adjust to this new generation of workers.  I’ll leave you to check out the article to read these.

The research study’s findings definitely echo those that we see with every organisation we work with – the attitudes vary both by organisation and individual for sure – but there is no doubt that we are seeing a sea-change in the way that end users (and I’m not keen on that term – need to find a better one!) view their corporate IT provision and collaborative environment.

Tools such as Lotus Connections, Jive SBS and SocialText offer a fundamentally new way of engaging this generation of workers, in a way that email, network shares, bulletin boards and so on can never do.  

If you want to get the most talented students and young professionals to join your organisation, it is tools such as these that will convince them that their voice will be heard, that the organisation is harnessing the wisdom of all its employees, and that the leaders are open to sharing their vision and conversing with all levels of the organisation.  

Equally, if you want to keep those millennials that are already in the organisation, then perhaps it’s time to move to adopt their ways of working rather than enforcing yours?

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!