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Generation Now: Millennials Could Be Great for Business

by Susan Edevane

3 min read

They’re lazy. They’re entitled. They’re addicted to social media. They don’t respect age or experience. You can’t get them off their smartphones. They can’t commit to a job. Are these your preconceptions of millennials – the ‘internet generation’? If so, you need to think again.

A slew of recent research – by IBM, Deloitte, CEB and others – has busted many of these myths and has instead found that millennials possess valuable skills that can revolutionise a business.

Some millennial habits and expectations are different, but that’s true of any generation. The reality is that millennials’ differences aren’t all disadvantages. Many are of huge benefit to your organisation, and here’s why.

Millennials Are Much Bigger Technology Users

From birth, millennials have grown up with a connected, internet-enabled world. They’ve had personal computers and mobile phones for as long as they can remember. No wonder, then, that millennials are far more reliant on technology than other generations. According to PwC, 41% prefer to communicate electronically at work rather than in person or over the phone.

They’re also demanding about getting the latest and best technology and having more control over it. This includes using their personal devices at work and downloading their own applications to use at work.

But this is a good thing. It cuts down a lot of IT support costs, for starters. It means they can introduce you to technologies and services you may not be aware of. They’ll also be more productive with the right technology. In the same PwC study, 78% said they’re more effective when they can access the technology they want.

Millennials Are Driving Mobility

Millennials demand mobility and flexibility, and to be able to work from wherever they need. Being required to sit in an office all day for the sake of it makes no sense to them. Conversely, they’ll check and reply to work emails in the evening and on weekends – they never ‘switch off’ as previous generations do. There’s no finite COB (close of business) for them since 20% identify as “night owls”.

You may have been hesitant to allow remote working, but there’s research to show that remote workers can be more engaged than on-site workers. They even log more hours. 71% of millennials are interested in working overseas, which is great for any business looking to grow internationally.

Many millennials are also keen to work freelance and contract. 38% of under-35s are freelancing, compared to 32% of over-35s. A third believe they’ll be working “mainly flexible hours” in future. This gives your own business flexibility and agility, enabling you to access talent when and where you need it, rather bear the expense of full-time employees.

Millennials Have Strong Social Ethics

Millennials believe in the Google business mantra “don’t be evil” and measure business success in more than purely financial terms. Social causes are very important to them. According to Deloitte, nearly half believe the government is failing when it comes to issues such as employment, resource scarcity and income inequality.

That same research also found that 63% of millennials gave to charities, 52% signed petitions and 43% actively volunteered. As such, they will be very useful in driving your business’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) program.

Millennials Are Ambitious

It is true that millennials have higher expectations and big ambitions to move upwards in a company. They want to climb the ladder quickly – this is considered even more important than competitive salaries (52% versus 44%), according to the PwC study. They also welcome regular, detailed feedback.

Just over half (51%) of millennials are looking outside their current company for career opportunities, but research suggests this is more to do with wanting to try new experiences than wanting new job. They’re very willing to learn and be mentored, which means you end up with more skills in your organisation, as well as a pool of future managers and executives.

Making an active effort to hire millennials could help grow your business and keep you up with the times. Consider their unique traits when hiring your next employees.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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