In 2015, Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. By 2025, they will account for more than 75 percent of the U.S. labor pool. With this new generation of workers craving flexibility, open dialogue and collaboration, our organizations must evolve today to ensure a stable, productive and engaged team tomorrow.
The Millennial workers bring immense value to a team, including self-motivation, creativity and enthusiasm. Recruiting and retaining Millennials requires that companies cultivate the type of work environment they value – one that is highly collaborative and offers flexible work options. More than two-thirds of Millennials believe office attendance on a regular basis is unnecessary, and 89 percent would prefer to choose when and where they work rather than being placed in a 9-5 position.
Sophisticated technology is intrinsic to this type of flexible work environment. For example, if employees are given the opportunity to work from home but they aren’t given the collaboration tools to keep them connected to other team members, both productivity and job satisfaction grinds to a halt. Offering cloud-based communication technology that’s available anytime, anywhere is vital to a happy, satisfied and productive team.
In order to create a culture where Millennial employees flourish and provide the maximum benefit to the company, businesses should follow these tips.
Remove the Challenge of Access
Seamless remote work and team collaboration requires businesses to fully embrace the cloud, housing everything online. This applies to everything from company data and historical documents to current, evolving projects to routine meetings. In addition to ensuring universal access for employees working off-site, housing data and servers in the cloud also provides a much more secure, disaster-proof way to store business information.
Rethink the Phone
Phone lines are the heartbeat of team collaboration in a workplace that offers the flexibility millennials value so highly. In the absence of face-to-face meetings, businesses should ensure team members have full access to tools that foster two way dialoged and encourage collaboration. As B2B businesses transition to next-generation technology across the board, they should be sure to similarly upgrade their phones, looking for cloud-based IP phone systems. Features such as mobile twinning, which sends inbound calls to mobile and desk phones simultaneously, ensures employees are available to customers and one another anytime, anywhere.
In addition, a streamlined online portal where employees can manage the technology themselves, molding it to fit their own workflows and processes instead of the other way around, is crucial. For example, if employees can configure their personal phone settings within the cloud, rather than on a physical device, then setting up for the day in a different office location or at home will be effortless. It also allows businesses to leverage features like softphones, which allow any Internet-connected PC, iPad, iPhone or Android device to be used as a phone extension.
Connect with Colleagues
The need for superior conferencing is well understood. It increases individuals’ flexibility, ensures full-team collaboration and reduces money and time spent traveling. However, these solutions must be easy to use or adoption will remain low. When vetting different video conferencing tools, businesses should select an online-based HD option that not only allows face-to-face meetings, but also makes screen share and collaborative editing simple.
In addition to video conferencing, businesses should provide the means of connecting with other employees in an informal, real-time manner. Internal chat capabilities have become a must-have tool for employees. It helps maintain strong working relationships and encourages real-time collaboration. To ensure smooth communication, businesses should be sure to choose a chat tool that integrates with all other communication channels and that is available on desktop and various mobile devices.
Creating a collaborative, flexible environment will not be an overnight transition. It will require deliberate action and forethought on the part of leadership to ensure all team members have universal access to key documents and are supported with sophisticated communications channels like cloud-based IP phone systems and HD meetings. Whether team members are in another office, working at home or onsite with customers, business leaders must put the technology infrastructure in place to empower team communication and collaboration.
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