Millennials and the Momentum of Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

The Changing Workplace and the Challenges It Presents

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Digital (r)evolution needs to be embraced in the years to come by all companies in order to stay competitive. However, even if organizations have the best ideas for launching this evolution, obstacles can appear. And some can seem insurmountable.

In this article we’ll focus on one of these obstacles: the resistance of employees.

The Changing Workplace and the Challenges It Presents

We are undergoing an important transition in the work environment. For the first time in history, two generations co-exist in almost equal numbers. However, within a matter of years millennials will be the most represented generation in the workplace. This opens up huge opportunities for companies that have embarked upon digital transformation – or that are about to – because this generation has grown up with new technologies and social media. In fact, 85% have a smartphone and 91% are registered Facebook users.

Millennials are aware of social media best practices and know how devices work, so it should be easy for them to adopt new digital behavior at work. However, as we saw earlier, they aren’t the only people in a company. Generation X-ers also use new tools, though not necessarily with the same ease. So why should we always think that the older generation is there to teach things to the younger one? What if this time, it was the other way round?



Social Media: Not Just for Millennials

In some respects, employers need to address two separate groups with their own codes, their own identities and their own knowledge. Two groups that don’t necessarily use the same language or references, and who don’t always start with the same level of knowledge about IT and social media. So what should companies do, create two different communication plans and split the workforce down the middle? Of course not. That would create a gap between generations and seriously damage cohesion.

Given that millennials have grown up with IT and the development of social media for business, they can help spread the word and lead the way when it comes to digital transformation. By convincing millennials that new tools can improve productivity and workplace culture, companies will be better able to accompany Generation X-ers, helping them to understand how new tools work and why social media in the workplace is not only useful, but integral to the business landscape of the future.

That said, we frequently encounter people of all ages who are against social media for different reasons. We can sum these reasons up in 4 Cs:

  • Conviction: they’re not convinced about the usefulness of social media at work
  • Confidence: they’re not confident about the security of their personal data online
  • Comfort: they’re not comfortable with new devices
  • Curiosity: believe it or not, some people simply aren’t interested in social media


Cross-Generational Digital Transformation

The key to overcoming these obstacles lies in identifying early adopters of new business practices and empowering them as advocates of digital transformation. Whether they’re millennials or not (and often they won’t be); these people can act as internal coaches who help others address issues relating to conviction, confidence, comfort and curiosity. This could start with the ABC of social media, covering things like registering on Twitter, personal branding and sharing content on social networks. Then, these early adopters could go further by leading internal workshops about new tools and practices concerning IT, social media and employee advocacy.

Historically, revolutions have always resulted from the action of a group uniting people around an idea, a design, a concept or a specific form of behavior. So while each company’s digital revolution may stem from millennials; they’re certainly not the only ones who can boost the momentum moving forward.

For more on millennials, read The Millennial: More of a Mindset than an Age Bracket?

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