Known for encouraging positive company cultures, flexible working hours and career growth, there’s no denying that millennial influence in the workplace hasn’t gone unnoticed. When it comes to the digital transformation, millennials are the key.
In this blog, we discuss how millennials will help drive change by transforming the way businesses think and do – from traditional-led to digital-first.
Have you ever thought, how long does it take for an employer to pay – and transfer money to – an employee’s bank account? Like any digital transaction, it happens in a blink of an eye. However, it’s not always been like this. Up until the late 80’s and early 90’s, it was a process that took place every Friday in towns and cities everywhere: On payday, envelopes with paper cheques were handed out. Cheque in hand, workers head for a retail bank, to complete the transaction. This process prevailed for decades, until radical transformation took place: direct deposit, automatic payments, automated tellers, online banking and other transformations unfolded over just a few years. How times have changed (for most). Twenty years on and technology has simplified all operations – as Threat Metrix simply puts it “ATMs? So 20th Century. Physical branches? Whatever, grandma”. Most organizations will now email e-payslips a few days before payday and then an online transaction is made directly into the employees’ bank account.
Technological advancements heavily influenced this transformative banking landmark. However, today’s digital evolution is bigger than just technology – it’s a way of thinking, it’s about identifying mediums, which can push forward a company’s agenda, using data intelligence and creativity to innovate.
As Ashley Freidlein says in Marketing Week: “Four areas where digital feels distinctive are in its ability to disrupt business models; its emphasis on data and technology as sources of competitive advantage; its focus on the customer experience; and a culture and operating model with distinctive and new ways of working.”
The digital transformation is less about technology and more about intuition, innovation and intelligence. It’s about understanding how to interpret technology, so it can transform each corner of the business. Fortunately, there’s a new workforce in town – millennials – and they’re going to be the driving force behind this transformation.
The New Workforce
Millennials, generally speaking, are entitled, impatient and aim to reach the top quickly. They’re sensitive souls who struggle to take criticism, yet yearn for feedback. They’re self-analytical selfie lovers, who were the first generation to grow up with the Internet, they’re the Guinea Pigs of social media, addicted to consumerism and instant gratification. Millennials were born into globalization, creating a generation of liberal thinkers, global citizens and Snowden supporters.
With 91% of millennials on Facebook and 85% owning a smartphone, they are the native engineers of a digital world. As the generation who were literate in short-hand before they knew the difference between a colon and semi-colon, millennials are more than qualified to bring their digital knowledge into the workplace and push forward the digital agenda.
Why is it important we acknowledge millennials as the turning point in digital? It’s important for two reasons: 1) In 2025, it’s predicted that 80% of the workforce will be millennials, 2) they have the largest purchasing power of any demographic.
On-demand, is a way of life, which is unlike anything experienced by any other demographic. For example, 80% of millennials use mobile banking for transferring money, checking balances and getting loan approvals – they’re “immersed in on-demand everything – movies, music, car rides, pet sitters etc.” Millennials know themselves, they understand their behaviors – and therefore know how to market, interact with, and sell products to a large share of the global purchasing power.
It’s been proven that this generation can improve a businesses’ competitive edge and increase revenue/ profit for the next 5 years. ‘Digital workplace and culture’, Deloitte’s report on how digital technologies are changing the workforce, nicely sums up the impact of millennials in business:
“Digital technologies have already dramatically impacted the culture around work and working. This growing group of younger, connected, and mobile workers are managing their careers on their own terms and often outside of categories that have defined the workforce for decades. Today’s workers have a new focus on purpose, mission, and work-life integration.“
“Millennials are a particularly important demographic for organizations to pay attention to. They are the truly first “digital native” generation, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2030 millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce. As millennials grow into managerial roles, their priorities — i.e. working for more than just a paycheck — and leadership styles will have a huge impact on all organizations in the coming years.”