Do Employees Now Expect Unified Communications?
Management has its own (very good) reasons to deploy unified communications across the enterprise, including lower IT costs and the use of better collaboration tools. But have you considered whether your employees are also looking forward to adopting a new communications platform? Many executives, after all, worry that their employees dread any sort of change.
As it turns out, there are plenty of indications that workers might be expecting their companies to embrace UC.
Today, the American workforce is undergoing a significant generational shift. This year –2015 – the Millennial generation became the largest generational group in the workplace. It now represents one-third of all workers, a number that’s sure to grow as more of them graduate college and find their first jobs, all while Baby Boomers continue to retire.
This change greatly influences how work gets done today – and how people will do their jobs in the future. As the first generation to grow up in the Internet age, Millennials have much different expectations than earlier generations about the workplace, communication and collaboration.
Here’s an example: Millennials highly value flexibility. According to a study by insurance company The Hartford, they rank work-life balance as a top issue. In fact, says Lindsay Pollak, The Hartford’s Millennial expert, they may take the notion a step or two beyond “balance” and seek greater integration of their work and personal lives.
As the lines between work and home become indistinguishable, Millennials want the ability to move seamlessly between them. This may mean starting their day in the office and finishing it at home, while caring for children.
Offering that kind of flexibility can work in your favor. Companies that embrace workplace flexibility, mobile workforces and innovative technologies are likely to see a rise in the satisfaction of their employees. One reason: They help provide workers with choice and autonomy, the very thing that drives satisfaction, job performance and innovation, according to a survey by design and architectural firm Gensler.
Several technology trends are behind Millennial expectations. One is the ubiquity of mobile broadband, which has demonstrated that work can be done from anywhere – in a conference room halfway around the world or at a kid’s soccer game.
In addition, the explosion of smartphones and tablets has stoked expectations of simplicity and ease. As a result, the idea of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is evolving into “bring-your-own-experience” (BYOE) – the expectation of greater and more productive usability.
Thus, Millennials expect a multi-channel, seamless experience – for example, the ability to move from desktop computer to mobile phone without interrupting a conversation. As analyst J Arnold & Associates recently noted, this slice of the workforce is likely to have a large impact on the purchase and adoption of unified communications in your company.
So back to our original question: Do your workers expect unified communications? If people between 18 and 34 years old constitute the largest or fastest-growing group among your employees, the answer is likely to be yes. The same holds true if mobile or remote workers make up a significant share of your workforce.
But even if your answer is “no,” look three or five years into the future. Because if not now, then there’s a very good chance that, given the generational shifts already underway across the American workforce, expectations change soon enough.
Our advice? Start planning now.