We are in the midst of what is being billed as the “Me Generation.” While many firms are targeting millennials today because of their ability to easily adapt to new advancements in technology or social media, a significant percentage of millennials want more freedom, and would prefer working mobile.
The results of the Mercer Turnover Survey show that millennials comprise 42 per cent of workplace departures. Additionally, more than 70 per cent of employees between the ages of 18 and 29 indicated that they favour working remotely using cloud-based software.
Enterprises are now faced with a dilemma – should they let these people go, or become more generation-friendly by rethinking their mobile strategy? Michael Murphy, vice president and general manager of Citrix Canada, shares his thoughts on the answer to this important question.
IT in Canada: According to the results of the Mercer Turnover survey, millennials have the highest employee turnover rate, at 42 per cent. Why is this?
Murphy: I think there are a couple reasons. One, they’re a generation that believes much more in choice, meaning they’re not the generation that’s going to be necessarily loyal or beholden to any one organization. Another one is they have the ability or capability to go and do something else.
I don’t think they’re as pigeonholed into that particular job or career, just by the very nature of when they grew up, how they grew up, and I think it’s a little bit about the technology they were born digital. I think it’s afforded them a lot more options, the generation before them probably had a little more loyalty, less choice.
The generation before had a lot more handcuffs at the companies they worked for. They needed to find pension plans, they had to stay there to get it, it was corporately funded, and I think today that is kind of going by the wayside. Millennials in the next generation are going to have to fund their own pension retirement, which doesn’t lock them into one given employer.
ITIC: Why do more than 70 per cent of millennials want to work remotely with cloud-based software?
MM: I think “working remotely” means not working from that traditional, monolithic workspace. To me, “working remotely” means being able to work from the place of their choosing that allows them to be productive, enjoy their work, but provides flexibility and choice that we talked about in the previous question.
Using cloud software is the other part of that statement. Cloud is a mechanism or a capability infrastructure to provide some service, some delivery mechanism, of a compute environment or what is part of a compute environment. So cloud software, in this context, means mobile device, independent device with mobile applications. That’s what I think this definition of cloud software means in this statement.
And why the 70 per cent? I think it’s a high number, but probably a reasonable number. Corporations think that remote access means taking the monolithic desktop paradigm and moving that almost lock, stock and barrel to their home or residence and replicating that environment so it’s the same traditional office, just remote.
I think millennials and a lot of people (believe) we’re kind of redefining that remote workforce so it’s truly a mobile workforce. That mobile workforce certainly ties into what millennials are looking for, that definition of mobility, the quality of being mobile, delivered by a user experience that they’re comfortable with, having grown up digital – not dictated or mandated or given to them. Which is really that replication of what a physical office might look like.
ITIC: How does working freely impact company loyalty?
MM: It’s not about entitlement and it’s not about narcissism. It is about believing that they can add value, which tied to doing a lot more social and good, righteous work. Out of that comes a loyalty to whoever can best provide them and satisfy what makes a millennial a millennial.
I don’t think the traditional companies or corporations are going to have more success attracting a global talent pool of this generation, but also retaining this global talent pool by providing that flexibility, addressing their needs and wants, and also appreciating what they’re contributing or can contribute.
I think exploiting that, if not leveraging it, creates that loyalty and sense of belonging. It’s different from the generation before and what they felt – loyalty to them was job security for life, a mandate for retirement at a certain age, and a defined index pension for life.
ITIC: How can organizations develop scalable mobility solutions to attract millennials to work for them?
MM: I think companies can look at their technology footprint, look for ways to improve or upgrade what they have with this mobile paradigm built in from underlying architecture. It’s probably starting small; not necessarily starting from scratch, but as newer initiatives and smaller initiatives become available inside a company or an opportunity to upgrade or transform.
I think they need to include the millennials in those conversations and decisions, and in test projects or pilots. That would go a long way for helping the company’s IT people. If millennials are as people describe them, I think having them inclusionary and involved will help create that loyalty, but also develop a solution built for customer wellbeing. And that is a millennial employee, given the size of the workforce they currently occupy – nearly 40 per cent.
ITIC: How does mobility increase employee satisfaction and productivity?
MM: I think millennials showcase those to their friends and colleagues who might be in the same age category or next generation. They like to showcase that by saying, “Look what my company is doing for me”, or “Look how they’re doing what allows me to be flexible and do the things I want to do.”
This helps that company attract other (millennials), and shows that company is willing to embrace the new paradigm of compute and work. I think it’s positive; it goes both ways. Millennials will showcase how great their company is, the benefits they provide, the work environment, the technology they provide, and all the things they’re doing to help keep them happy, retain them and provide them with freedom and flexibility.
ITIC: How can a mobile workforce be run to ensure productivity?
MM: I think it comes down to ensuring that the tools and technology. In essence, it really comes down to how the infrastructure, the architecture, the tools and the technology are seamlessly integrated.
That increases helps to increase productivity, but also allows that level of visibility that people are willing to work harder and extend themselves on the weekends and evenings as necessary. It also allows companies to extract from a more global pool of resources, as opposed to a local pool, to increase their reach, scale, and leverage.
For smaller companies, it allows them to look bigger. But in order for larger companies to act more globally, I think mobility and the underlying technology will enable them to do that.
ITIC: Do you envision that millennials will be given more freedom in the future?
MM: I think everybody will get more freedom, whether or not it’s specific to millennials. It will be by the nature of just how technology is being developed, how it’s being demanded, and how it’s being looked at.
At some point, millennials will evolve into another generation; they’ll be the baby boomers of today, and the next gen, the “iGen,” may be the next wave. Millennials are creating the greatest shift in the adoption of technology and mobility because they’re front and centre, having grown up digital.
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