For brands there may be no bigger conundrum than to figure out how to appeal to the millennial generation.
With estimates in the billions as to their consumption potential, it’s without a doubt that marketers, sales leaders, and CEO’s are spending countless hours trying to figure out how to appeal to this oft-misunderstood generation, as it relates to earning them as customers and attracting them as employees as well.
Time and time again, millennials have shown a propensity to buck social norms. The ability to purchase a luxury car, or a big house, and a high-paying job (as we know it) hasn’t been nearly as interesting to these up and comers as being passionate about what they do, having the ability to connect and the desire for flexibility in their work.
Before we pull the panic alarm, we need to consider that a different set of motivations doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Sure, the attraction to a new type of benefits package means companies will need to think differently to earn loyalty from a fickle generation that sees limited issues with changing careers every couple of years. And yes, it’s sometimes hard to figure out how to motivate employees that see travel, time off, and mentorship as slightly more important than a bigger paycheck, but it isn’t impossible.
In a world where rapid technology proliferation and an “always on, always connected” mentality is driving business innovation, perhaps there is a play that can drive millennials to want to work for your organization and embrace your company’s forward thinking.
Hint: Video = Flexibility
Companies for some time have been throttling back their investment in office space. In the past it was common for companies to want all of their employees to report in, but over time that has become unnecessary.
Companies like IBM, Cisco, and Microsoft, all tech pioneers in the business world, have put their employees in remote working situations, and by in large have been successful at it. Beyond allowing these companies to hire the best talent anywhere in the world, it has also opened up the doors to more flexible work arrangements that can attract top talent, including top young (read: millennial) talent.
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Millennials have shown that being social is critical to their development, but so is flexibility. Commuting to an office everyday makes them feel tethered to their desk and can often create a less, not more productive employee.
This is where video can be extraordinarily valuable in the development of a young workforce. From Google Hangouts to full blown Cisco or Polycom Telepresence deployments, video can bring people from anywhere into meetings with employees, stakeholders, and clients at a moments notice, and for the most part these meetings can be done anywhere, anytime on just about any device.
This type of flexibility allows millennial employees to work from home, the coffee shop or while traveling, without restriction.
So if the millennial is seeking a different set of benefits, then why are companies so stressed out about it? Thinking innovation and flexibility with solutions like video is just one example of the many ways that we can better engage a new generation that doesn’t do things wrong, but differently from the way that many of us are used to.
In the future, work will become more flexible and intertwined with our lives. The millennials are going to drive this trend as companies realize it’s the best way to help them meet their potential.
And while change may make us a little uncomfortable, it’s okay. Remember, each generation that came before had challenges, this is just one more, and for all intents and purposes, I think the millennials are going to be A-OK!
This article was originally published on Millennial CEO.