Millennials and the Modern Worker: What are Companies Doing to Adapt?
This year, like all years before it, the workforce shifted a little more towards modernity in practice and expectation. Another generation of baby boomers and GenX-ers retired, taking with them dusty desk objects and antiquated work schedules, while eager Millennials and Generation Zs arrived to fill their place, smartphones in tow.
Millennials now make up the largest generation of workers in the labor force, and are expected to make up over 50% of the U.S. workforce by next year. This group of young people has access to more resources and career options than
any group before, giving them more flexibility with how they spend their working hours and with whom they choose to work. Also, like the technology they grew up around, this new workface is fast moving and always looking for ways to improve. This can make it challenging for companies to pin down young talent before they move on to new and sometimes better opportunities. The modern workforce is rapidly morphing into a highly efficient and versatile technological powerhouse, now allowing employers to expect more from their worker – but only so long as they meet the employees’ discerning work standards.
One of the most important ways for companies to adapt to the modern workforce is to digitalize. Digitalization is proving to be necessary to keep up with worker trends - in 2011, a study in France found that the internet eliminated 500,000 jobs in the past 15 years, but created 1.2 million more. That’s 2.4 additional jobs for every one position lost. Digitalizing on the highest level is also one of the biggest favors companies can do for themselves. It has been shown that organizations with the most advanced and efficient technology in their fields also have some of the highest productivity margins and revenue growth compared to other, less digitized competitors.
A company’s technological literacy is no joke to millennials. The success earned by companies with the best technology eventually trickles down to their workers, who see double the wage growth as other workers at more outdated organizations. Companies who upgrade their infrastructure are also able to tap the full potential of millennials, who have an abundance of technological skills to offer, having learned to type before they became acquainted with cursive writing (if at all).
Opportunities and Perks
One of the best uses of a digitalized workplace is to invest in employees. Educational opportunities are vital to a company if they want to keep the top talent in their company directory. As mentioned in our previous blog, workers now have more control than ever over their own skill advancement through online learning platforms. Chances are, if their employers aren’t offering professional growth or advancement opportunities, employees are taking matters into their own hands by completing courses that qualify them for higher paying positions at more tech-savvy companies.
Millennials are also notorious for always wanting what’s bigger, better, and new. While some may grumble over the lost tradition of a company relationship that lasts as long as a career, young professionals are too busy looking out for themselves to care. Whether it’s from earning a constant stream of participation ribbons, or witnessing their parents laid off after decades of company loyalty, it’s important for modern workers to feel appreciated and secure in their workplace. In a survey of more than 3,000 companies representing over 200,000 employees, the top driver for millennial workers was to “feel valued at their organization and invested in their communities.” In response to this need and moral obligations, many companies now have partnerships with organizations in their home communities that connect workers with volunteer opportunities.
Other perks like unlimited vacation days, lenient leave compensation, and onsite amenities like gyms, recreation rooms, and cafeterias, are slowly becoming the norm at large and small companies alike. Integrated work and play office concepts were originally designed to help employees with intense responsibilities blow off steam. Now, however, all employees expect their offices to accommodate their creative processes and non-linear workflows. Most importantly, they expect their employers to trust their staff to produce up-to-snuff deliverables without the rigid structure of a 9:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday work schedule. Mutual trust goes a long way: millennials are more than 22 times as likely to want to stay with an organization long-term if they think their company has a “high-trust culture,” compared to Gen Xerss and Baby Boomers who were 16 and 13 times more likely, respectively.
While it’s true that every year a new wave of bright-eyed young professionals joins the workforce and keeps their aging employers on their toes, these past few years have seen an onslaught of young people with more technological skills and higher standards than ever before. The workforce is changing to become more digital and ambitious, making it now more imperative than ever for employers to step up to the (virtual) plate and adapt with it.
James Manyika. 2017. “Technology, Jobs, and the Future of Work | McKinsey.” McKinsey Global Institute. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/technology-jobs-and-the-future-of-work
Kara Driscoll. 2016. “Local Companies Adapt to Millennials in Workforce.” Daytondailynews. October 28, 2016. https://www.daytondailynews.com/business/local-companies-adapt-millennials-workforce/FfSbbx83KVVzg90qF3OoaJ/
About Transaction Innovation Corporation (TIC) Software:
Founded in 1983, TIC Software was created to address the challenges of keeping Tandem/HP NonStop legacy systems current with ever-evolving “modernization” technology – providing consulting expertise and software solutions designed to keep mission-critical applications up-and-running. Today, we continue to meet these modernization challenges – as well as offer migration solutions to organizations looking to explore other technological options.