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For as long as Millennials have been alive, personal computing has been the norm. They are the first generation of “digital natives,” as it’s known. And this has had profound impacts as Millennials have come into their own as the largest share of the workforce.
Pewsocialtrends.org explains that as digital natives, Millennials have “taken the lead in seizing on the new platforms of the digital era… They are … the only generation for which these new technologies are not something they’ve had to adapt to.”
And that has major implications for the way you run your business–and more importantly, your organization’s relationship with technology.
If you’re wondering what impact Millennial’s exposure to technology should have on your businesses, here are a few key things to be looking out for.
Knowing that Millennials are digital natives should be reassuring to any business owner who’s looking to adapt new technology within their company. Whether you’re looking to boost employee engagement, or simply bring your systems into the 21st century, having Millennial employees makes things a whole lot easier.
For starters, Millennials are naturally easier to teach new systems to. And that means money that would otherwise be spent on laborious training back in your pocket–yes, Millennials are better for your bottom line!
But that also means that Millennials have higher expectations about what tools they use at work; and that can sometimes add more pressure on employers to use the latest technology. If you’re not careful about what technology you’re bringing in–whether they’re simply bad systems, or just already outdated–it’s not going to sit well amongst your staff.
Translation: you need to keep up, because when it comes to technology, Millennials are moving on with or without you.
On the other hand, technology has created a more open and social world: the Internet has introduced us to all sorts of possibilities in gaming, remote work, and communication. And that has produced with it a sense of connectedness. Millennials see themselves as a part of a team.
For example, As The New York Times pointed out, technology advancements in a medium like video gaming have actually made Millennials more collaborative. “Members of Gen Y, for example, are significantly more likely than Gen X’ers and boomers to say they are more productive working in teams than on their own … To older workers, wanting help looks like laziness; to younger workers, the gains that come from teamwork have been learned from the collaborative nature of their childhood activities, which included social networks, crowd-sourcing and even video games like World of Warcraft that ‘emphasize cooperative rather than individual competition.”
So when you’re looking to new ways of promoting office engagement or efficiency, look toward technologies that bring people together–and even rely on gamification to promote a more collaborative working environment.
Above all, this understanding of Millennials as digital natives should give you the freedom to explore new and exciting ideas for in-office technology. Your number one priority should be finding the best technology out there for your team to operate at their maximum capacity and efficiency. And when the time comes: trust that your team is ready to adapt.
Companies that adapt to the new reality of millennials and leverage their strengths are going to be miles ahead of their competitors.
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