It’s official: big changes are taking place in terms of how employees, business units and organizations communicate. The use of mobile and social technologies, immediate access to data and constant connectivity are now the dominant factors and, we are told, are second nature for Millennials, the so-called ‘digital natives’.
So does that mean such developments are alien to anybody over the age of thirty? Absolutely not.
Millennials: Children of the Revolution
A key difference between Millennials (born 1980-1993) and older employees is the fact that they have grown up immersed in the digital revolution. However, this doesn’t make social business any less accessible to Generation Xers (born 1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (born 1954-1964). It doesn’t mean that employees of all ages aren’t striving towards- and indeed, achieving- the same level of digital proficiency as Millennials.
Millennials are set to make up about 50 percent of the US workforce by 2020, but employers who see this as a reason to optimize their culture for younger employees may be missing the point. Staying relevant in the digital landscape may be less about catering to Millennials than applying their most prominent strengths to the overall company culture; instilling a ‘millennial mindset’ that fosters collaboration and productivity across generations.
The Millennial Mindset
Millennials are often described as being open-minded with a strong sense of community and a desire to have a positive impact on the company they work for. But in this respect, they are no different from Generation Xers and Baby Boomers; they have simply entered the job market at a time when such ambitions are becoming more attainable- thanks in no small part to new technology and global connectivity.
Much like Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers value the freedom to innovate within a collaborative work environment. So they too are adopting new ways of doing business and are just as keen to see their employers embrace new technologies and social communication initiatives. In fact, a recent IBM study revealed that “employees of all ages have embraced the technological revolution, but organizations are slow to implement new applications”.
Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
It’s therefore up to companies to create work environments in which technological expertise and social business can develop across generations. Millennials may be at ease using Salesforce, Facebook and MailChimp, but success in the digital sphere also depends on more experienced professionals embracing such tools in order to apply their knowledge and expertise to social media marketing, brand advocacy and other digital communication initiatives. For example, the best social selling teams are often made up of Millennials, who are incredibly familiar with social media, and more seasoned sales representatives who have years of experience nurturing leads and landing deals.
New technological tools and social media initiatives are in everyone’s best interests, which is why they must be understood and executed by cross-generational teams. From e-learning to social recruitment, gamification to brand advocacy, if companies are to move with the times employees of all ages need to embrace digital developments. It is for this reason that the ‘Millennial’ is arguably more of a mindset than an age bracket.