If part of being an effective manager is understanding who you’re managing, it makes sense to learn about the generation that identifies those workers.
There are now three distinct generations in the workforce: Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. Each of these generations was raised in a different period of time, has a different view of the workplace, and communicates differently. With nearly 80 million Millennials entering the workforce, it’s time to pay closer attention to how they’re changing the way business is conducted.
How Millennials Are Helping us Work Smarter
Two key characteristics stand out. The first is that they want a better life-work balance. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to work hard to get the job done, but it does mean they want – and indeed expect – the flexibility to work wherever and whenever they want.
And the second is just how tech-savvy they are. According to a May 2013 SHRM online survey, two-thirds of Millennials judge their employers by their technological knowledge, to the point where companies that don’t embrace a newer breed of technology and tooling may be at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring and retaining the newer generation of employees.
This message was driven home when I recently met with Alex Naddell, Partner at Vaco Technology and a passionate advocate for Planview AgilePlace. As a leading staffing and consulting organization, attracting the best talent is critical to Vaco’s success. During a conversation about what led Vaco’s Techology Group to implement LeanKit, Alex candidly responded that the younger employees coming onboard simply don’t want to work with old-style project management tools. (Read the full case study)
Spreadsheets, legacy project management systems and physical whiteboards (your granddad’s tools) just aren’t appealing. Millennials want tools that make their work more engaging and accessible. When you have to take a photo of the whiteboard before you leave the office so that you can work from home, it just doesn’t cut it.
Younger workers prefer to communicate and collaborate using technology. To be effective in their jobs they need 24/7 access to project information that is both up-to-date and that they can update on the fly. A spreadsheet is NOT a collaboration tool. And physical white boards are well… stuck on a wall somewhere adding little value when you’re away from your desk or working from a coffee shop.
Planview AgilePlace is more than just visual project management software. It’s an enabler that helps organizations meet the Millennials on their own (virtual) turf. It’s a fresh approach to work management that inherently understands how Millennials view the world and uses that knowledge to engage them.
If you want to make sure your organization doesn’t get left behind, take a look at how you do things through the eyes of the Millennials. Be willing to embrace change and try something new.