Millennials have a reputation for being difficult, demanding, lazy, and disloyal; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Millennials are at the helm of plenty of successful businesses in the IT industry, and they’re working with yet more millennials to grow these businesses and the industry as a whole. It’s therefore important to recognise the value they add and stop denigrating an entire generation of workers.
At a recent CompTIA panel event in Melbourne, we canvassed the opinions of millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers in an attempt to create connections and bring people together to learn from each other.
An important question arose regarding how to prioritise three different motivators: money; career progression; and achievements. Collectively, there was a sense that, among millennials, a sense of achievement is the number one motivator, followed by career progression, then money or remuneration.
Millennials have come of age in a different landscape compared with Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. The older generations come from a world where the expectation was to work hard and climb the career ladder so they could save money and buy a house. By contrast, millennials want to be part of something bigger than they are; they want to be able to put their name to something and say they achieved it.
Education is helping drive this mindset shift. Today’s education system reinforces that millennials shouldn’t stay in a job that doesn’t provide satisfaction, and that it’s worth continuing to look until they find a job that delivers a sense of purpose. Understanding these core drivers and motivators are important for businesses hiring millennials because it helps managers understand how to lead them.
Specifically, many millennials are looking for the autonomy and flexibility to create meaning in their own job, to make their own decisions, and to carve their own path to the end result.
This attitude is particularly valuable in the IT industry and the channel, because the speed and pace of technology evolution means team members need to be agile and aligned to the business’s direction. Millennials were born into a technology-filled world, which helps them make technology decisions faster and more instinctively. They’re accustomed to the pace of change and are, therefore, comfortable operating in a world with slightly less certainty.
As the workforce continues to skew toward younger people, the demands on businesses will include faster, better technology tools to help them do their jobs. Millennials and the next generation will challenge traditional expectations and demand tools that deliver instant results. This is likely to add to the already-growing trend of consumerisation of corporate devices and applications as the born-in-the-cloud generation enters the workforce.
This will speed up the pace of business and the level of speed required means businesses will have far less tolerance of their systems going down for any length of time. Businesses will need to continually evolve and drive faster, more effective decision-making through technology.
To manage the growing population of millennials in the workforce, managers should create an environment that lets millennials work for something bigger than themselves that is relatable. They need to create a community to get better engagement. And managers should have frank conversations with their millennial workers to find out where they want to be in the next three years. Then, managers can help them achieve those goals while aligning them with the corporate vision.
James Bergl is a CompTIA ANZ Channel Community executive council member and director of sales, APAC, at Datto, Inc.