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How Millennials are Transforming the Workplace

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Connectivity is a differentiator concludes Deloitte in its 2015 Millennial Survey. And while it’s no surprise that the millennial generation – defined by Deloitte as those born after 1983 – are avid technology users, their impact on the workplace is coming into sharp focus. By 2020 millennials will comprise nearly half of the workforce. That number jumps to 75 percent by 2025. Clearly this generation is driving technology trends and the ability to connect is a priority.

In fact, we are already seeing recent growth in the Unified Communications (UC) market, as businesses seek better ways to keep increasingly mobile teams connected. Where previous generations were slower to adopt UC tools such as instant messaging and video, millennials demand them. They have been the driving force behind the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend.

Millennials are Changing the Workplace

As a group, millennials feel empowered to make changes that improve how they work. The Millennials in the Workplace study by Bentley University found that “college-educated millennials clearly signal frustration with the status quo, when it comes to the inflexibility of the current model of economic and career success and display confidence in their own skills and abilities to chart a new path to success.”

This provides tremendous opportunities for businesses to attract and retain top millennial candidates. Plus, it puts an even stronger emphasis on UC and how organizations enable employees to connect. A desktop phone alone will not suffice for this generation, since they prefer – and often expect – that they connect via their preferred device.

To keep millennials engaged, organizations need to support this generation’s communications preferences, which can change quickly. Integrating mobile devices as part of the supported UC ecosystem, for example, allows easy video chats and enhances overall collaboration. A growing number of companies have experienced great success with the ShoreTel Dock as a means to bring desktop UC functionality to a preferred mobile device. Plus, ShoreTel’s new app for the Apple Watch brings another useful device into the communication fold.

But enabling flexible UC choices is about much more than keeping the growing millennial workforce happy. In reality, this greatly enhances productivity all around, which is a top goal for UC in the first place. That tablet video feature that enables a millennial employee to participate in a video conference call while working from home, for example, also allows sales people to fully participate in a video call while on the road.

In its report, Deloitte identified “super-connected millennials” as those who are more likely than average to use social media in a personal and business context. These super connected are more optimistic about the economy and are generally far more positive about businesses motivations and behavior, Deloitte states. They also feel better prepared for their careers as they graduate college and show a significantly higher self-rating on leadership.

Indeed, connectivity is a differentiator for this up and coming generation. To retain top super-connected millennials and maximize their productivity, organizations will need a flexible UC platform that enables the choices this generation demands without the complexity that diminishes return on investment. The days of assigning devices and dictating UC processes are over.