The millennial generation is different in many ways, from its reluctance to invest in the stock market in the wake of the Great Recession to its preference for experience over material goods. But for businesses, there are other, more important differences to consider.
In the next few years, the millennial generation are expected to make up half the workforce, and their influence is growing daily. Millennials, it seems, do everything differently, and that includes the way they work.
If you want to manage the members of this incoming generation effectively, you need to think the way they think, and that can mean changing the way you manage and secure your corporate network. Follow these five simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to a millennial-friendly network.
1) Embrace the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Trend
Millennials love their devices, and more than 7 in 10 say the way an organization views technology influences whether they want to work there.
With businesses competing for millennial talent, a robust BYOD policy could prove essential to retaining members of this massive generation. Aside from keeping them happy, BYOD is great for productivity. There is compelling evidence that a well thought out BYOD policy increases productivity.
A BYOD policy also settles the endless debate over Apple vs. Android. Millennials have strong feelings on these matters, and allowing them to bring their own devices is a great way to avoid feuds over competing platforms and technologies.
2) Implement a Mobile Device Management (MDM) Plan
For millennial employees, access to mobile devices is not optional – it’s essential. If you want to create a millennial-friendly workforce and at the same time, keep your data safe, you need to have a mobile device management (MDM) plan in place.
Some millennials may be skeptical over the amount of privacy they will have on their devices, so it’s important to create an MDM policy that stresses security and privacy.
Educating your workforce on what your MDM policy is, what it covers, and how it works can set millennial minds at ease. For example; when Ontech implemented BYOD and MDM, we brought each employee in the manager’s office separately and showed them the portal and exactly what Ontech can and can’t see.
In addition to a MDM plan, it’s also a good idea to lock down your network with a secure VPN. A mobile workforce is convenient, but you can’t afford to sacrifice security for convenience. Millennials don’t want to be chained to their desks or trapped in their cubicles – a secure and robust VPN gives them the freedom they need, whether they’re working from home or grabbing a bite at the local coffee shop.
3) Put a Solid Data Backup and Business Continuity Solution in Place
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses that suffer a major data disaster never reopen. The loss of network data could be an existential threat. A business continuity plan to restore critical files is not only your first line of protection, it’s also the path to a more productive millennial workforce.
Ontech crafted these steps by going ‘straight to the horse’s mouth’ and asking millennials exactly what they do and don’t like about their place of work.
One millennial worker expressed how her paperless office suffered mightily from network outages – network-stored blueprints were often unavailable, and work ground to a halt until connectivity had been restored.
But it’s not just millennials who feel the pain, younger workers in general are more attuned to these problems. If you want to keep your millennials happy and productive, a reliable wireless network, robust data backup and business continuity plan is an absolute must.
4) Make Company Tech EASY
As digital natives, most members of the millennial generation have never known a time before computers, cell phones and other tech devices. They’ve grown up with these devices in their pocket, and they are used to fast response times, intuitive designs and simple operation.
If your own tech is not easy, your millennial workers could move on to greener, more tech-friendly pastures. If you want to attract the best millennial talent and convince them to not only stay, but grow with your business, focus on ease of operation.
There are many ways to make your network easier to operate such as cloud-based software and storage systems used in conjunction with mobile apps.
Millennials prefer clear, step-by-step processes from employers. Microsoft Sharepoint allows those processes to be easily documented and shared between appropriate team members. Microsoft Sharepoint also allows your management team to lock down those specific documents to not be edited without the proper user permissions in place.
Dual monitors are another must for the millennial-friendly workplace, allowing employees of all ages the flexibility and freedom they need to stay happy and productive on the job.
Strong support is another key to ease of use. If your business operates in multiple shifts, a 24/7 help desk could be a lifesaver. Nothing is more frustrating to a millennial than needing help and not being able to perform their job due to lack of support.
For some companies, a millennial friendly network might extend beyond making things easy. A well-known pioneer of healthy workplace culture is Google who offers a wide variety of perks for employees. But at a smaller scale, this might mean opening up the firewall between 11:30am – 1pm for millennials to stream content or browse social media over lunch. After all, a healthy work/life balance is key to keeping millennials happy.
5) Create a Collaborative Environment
This generation is increasingly looking for a collaborative work environment that encourages the sharing of information and free exchange of ideas.
Nearly two thirds of workers ages 18 to 34 say they are motivated by video meetings and team messaging apps. Microsoft Teams is one of the most valuable tools for collaboration in the modern workforce, and adopting it can give your organization a powerful edge when attracting and retaining talented millennials.
Members of the millennial generation are already having a profound impact on the modern workplace, and their influence is only expected to grow. If you would like more information on any of the steps described, just contact Ontech’s support team by phone at 262-522-8560 or send us a message online.
We will work with you to create a powerful, secure, and stable network – one that will enhance the productivity and job satisfaction for all of your millennial staff.