I visited a client the other day who mentioned that their current sales force would turnover in the next 5 years and likely be made up substantially of millennials. After a recent interview with a millennial candidate, they realized that they needed to make some changes.
The interviewee asked a lot of questions about systems and technology and made some critical observations about the company website, lack of social presence etc. The position was offered and accepted with a somewhat surprising contingency; that the company has a plan to modernize their technology.
Within 5 years millennials will make up 50% of our workforce. Some interesting statistics about millennials:
- By 2018, Millennials will have the most spending power of any generation.
- Mobile commerce will be a huge contributing factor as 41% of Millennials regularly make purchases with their smartphones.
- 56% of Millennials won’t accept jobs from companies that ban social media.
- The average tenure for a millennial is 2 years (compared to 5 years for Gen X and 7 years for Baby Boomers).
- It costs an average of $24,000 to replace each Millennial employee.
With the difficulty in hiring talent, cost of turnover and short tenure of millennials, businesses need to prepare themselves to support this millennial workforce. You must ask yourself , "Is your business ready for this workforce transformation that is already happening?"
What are some specific areas that you need to focus on?
- Ability to be fully productive virtually - Millennials think about the workplace as virtual, being able to work from anywhere with full capabilities. Do you have a solid remote worker platform?
- Mobile - Millennials utilize mobile devices more than any other. A good mobility strategy is paramount to support millennials.
- Social - Millennials are the "social" generation growing up with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instrgram and others. Some businesses absolutely have to have a good social presence. Typically we think of consumer products companies as the ones who could not survive today without a good social presence but what about let's say a wholesale distributor of industrial tools? You might initially think that a social presence is not a must, however I challenge you to rethink this. Look at it this way, millennials will be in purchasing, vendor management and other influencing roles in all companies going forward. Where do you think they want to go to find a product or supplier? You bet... social media. Also consider an internal social media platform like Microsoft's Yammer. Millennials communicate over social media more than most other forms of communication including email. Building out an internal social media platform could improve communication, collaboration and productivity.
- Ease of Doing Business - Millennials will not work with companies that cannot transact business easily. They expect buying experiences like Amazon. Simple and quick with technology leading the end-to-end process. Waiting on hold to reach a sales or customer service person just to get product info or pricing will not fly. What is your eCommerce capabilities? Better get working on that if you don't have online commerce capabilities.
- Intelligent Software - Millennials will not be happy working with outdated applications, they want platforms that will enhance their efforts. They look at the world a bit differently as it pertains to technology. There is a revolution happening in software led by Microsoft around intelligence in software. Machine learning and artificial intelligence is leveraged to make software very smart. Take a look at my article on Intelligent Applications.
This millennial workforce transformation is already underway and will continue to change business for all of us. If you want to continue to attract and retain talent you need to evaluate your technological capabilities. We have been helping businesses evaluate, plan, implement and support technology solutions for 25+ years. If you would like to discuss this topic further, or to schedule a session to evaluate your current technology platform, please contact Beringer.