Collaboration Tools That Cater to Millennials
If you have any doubt that technology tools like instant messaging and Web conferencing are the future of workplace collaboration, consider this: the Millennial generation was expected to surpass Baby Boomers in the workplace before the end of 2015. Already, their numbers exceed those of Generation X, and by 2020 they will represent 50% of the workforce.
What’s this got to do with technology and collaboration? As the first generation to grow up with computers, mobile phones and social media, Millennials are adept at digital interaction. Often called the “collaboration generation,” they value a business culture that focuses on teamwork.
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While they may be much-maligned as self-centered and unfocused, Millennials are not only poised to take over the workplace, they’re already moving into leadership positions. As they do, they’re bringing with them preferences for tools that make communication and collaboration easier and faster.
While in-person interaction is still the favored method of communication, a significant number of Millennials prefer to work collaboratively through digital channels. In one study, PwC found that 41% preferred electronic communications over face-to-face conversations. And a Network Computing survey said that 40% favored online meetings over in-person sessions.
Yet 71% of Millennials also expressed dissatisfaction with the collaboration tools their employers offer, according to Network Computing. This was notably higher than the 45% of Baby Boomers who felt the same way.
What collaboration tools do they prefer?
- Mobile Phones: Smartphone ownership among Millennials is nearly ubiquitous, with 86% of 18- to 29-year-olds owning one in 2015, according to Pew Research Center. Network Computing found that 32% of Millennials use their mobile devices for collaboration, compared to 23% of Baby Boomers.
- Chat and Messaging: While more than a third of Baby Boomers find chat or texting to be the least effective forms of collaboration, Millennials clearly have a different view. Nearly half told Network Computing that they prefer using chat or text messaging when communicating with coworkers, vendors or partners.
- Document Sharing: Millennials are adept at using services such as Google Docs or Dropbox. They expect to work with systems that enable them to access and share documents, presentations and spreadsheets from anywhere and any device.
- Web Conferencing: As a generation raised on FaceTime, collaborating with Web conferencing technology is natural to them.
Millennials: The Masters of Multitasking
One of the most defining features of this generation is its ability to multitask. Although the concept of multitasking is somewhat controversial, some studies suggest that the brain is being rewired, and Millennial habits are helping that happen.
Whether true or not, it’s clear that Millennials find it easier than previous generations to shift between tasks quickly – or even manage several simultaneously. In the workplace, businesses can play to this strength by providing well-integrated collaboration tools on a unified communications platform.
Expect this generation to be more demanding about the technology and tools their employers offer. Businesses that want to attract Millennial talent should be ready to invest in the collaboration tools that they love.
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