I attended a convention recently and entered a seminar on social media strategy. Hoping to blend into the crowd of Millennials that filled the room, I casually slipped my tablet from its sleek case and positioned it in my lap. Once ‘connected’ to the network, I sat poised with my hands over my tiny keyboard and waited. Turning my attention to those sitting around me, I noticed that the majority of them were drinking coffee, checking their phones, and comfortably chatting with one another. As soon as the seminar began, I became quickly aware that the generational chasm between us was widening and I would fall in if I could not keep up. While I furiously took notes, many of which I hoped to understand more fully later, my peers simply snapped a couple of photos of the screen and listened attentively. Later, I found that all the slides, as well as an audience response system was available online.
The largest segment of the workforce, known as Millennials (those 25-35 years), has great expectations. Having grown up with rapidly changing technology, they are accustomed to version updates and take them in stride. In the workplace, they expect access to the most advanced tools to get their jobs done well. They are extremely reliant and comfortable with technology. In spite of their inexperience, they bring a refreshing confidence in technology to the meeting table, where older generations, like myself, can often be cynical and clumsy. Nevertheless, the generational challenges must be faced and bridged in order to join experience and leadership with the enthusiastic and energetic Millennial.
How this is accomplished will vary from organization to organization, however, there are some suggestions to bridge the gap that have been offered to benefit all. In regard to meetings, where there is a gathering of generations at the table, ease of access to high-speed wifi is a necessity, both on-site and off. These days it’s not just the ‘digital natives’ that rely on the internet to gather information, calendars, mail, etc. In light of this, providing good lighting and charging stations are simple alterations that show consideration to all.
With digital document libraries available, less printed material can be generated which appeals to the ‘green’ sensitive Millennial. It saves time, money, and trees.
Responsive computer software systems are wonderful tools that enable two-way communication during and after meetings. Although some programs are expensive, the investment communicates to the younger generation that their responses are valuable and that you want their input.
Telecommuting and remote attendance with live streaming allow those off-site to participate in daily business. Millennials are often willing to take less salary in lieu of a more flexible work schedule. Working outside the office provides the flexibility they desire in maintaining a balanced work and personal life.
A willingness to make changes in your work environment, even at some expense, will pay off in the long run. Attracting and retaining young talent in your organization is and should always be a priority to the companies that wish to remain relevant and successful.
Beall, Alex. “To Retain Millennial Workers, Groups Must Embrace Tech.” RSS 20. Associations Now, 13 Nov. 2015. Web. 21 Nov. 2015.
Byrne, Jeffrey C. “Leverage Technology to Engage Millennials | Smart Meetings.” Smart Meetings. N.p., Nov. 2015. Web. 21 Nov. 2015.