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As Europe’s demographics shift, a generation of tech-savvy people will dominate tomorrow’s workforce. The ‘millennials’ (typically a group of young people with shared values and beliefs born between 1982 and 2004) already make up 160 million individuals in our European workforce and this number is set to increase: by 2025 they’re projected to account for 75% of the global workforce. What demands does this hold for the future workplace? Ethaniel Kelly-Wilson, HR & systems manager at Epson, explores.

Being the first generation to truly grow up with the internet, millennials use technology more than anyone before – in fact 80% of their daily activities involve the use of technology. With this so ingrained in their lives, organisations that fail to provide millennials with suitable tech tools within the work environment risk losing out on the recruitment, engagement and retention of this vast employee pool. The question is: what can businesses do to meet the needs of this generation?

Workplace flexibility

The 9-to-5 working day will soon be a thing of the past, with research finding that 74% of millennials want flexible work schedules, that they’ll choose this flexibility over pay and that many will not be prepared to make work the priority of their lives.

While the use of smartphones and laptops has made the work-life divide of many employees more fluid, Epson research found many businesses are still not set up to facilitate remote (37%) or flexible (34%) working and that 57% do not have a defined plan to support the ‘bring your own device’ trend. A further study indicated that 24% of employees feel frustrated that their company’s IT products are not compatible with the use of personal devices, suggesting that changes must be made sooner rather than later if employers are to remain attractive to these current and prospective employees.

Greater collaboration

According to psychologists, such as American based Linda Gravett, millennials are natural team players and collaborators thanks, in part, to regular participation in team sports and increased classroom collaboration projects during their education. As a result, 88% of millennials express preference for a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one, the Intelligence Group reports.

One way to encourage such collaboration is the use of technologies designed to enable both local and remote participation. Interactive, connected projectors allow colleagues to share documentation, make amends from connected devices and through annotation on the projected image, and share these updates in real time with team members in multiple locations. Some 64% of employees in the healthcare industry, as an example, agree that such display solutions would positively impact efficiency in their sector, with interactive meeting room systems improving the possibility for remote colleague or patient consultations and enhancing ways of teaching complex topics to medical students.

More millenials, more demands?

On top of these technology demands, millennials value training and career development opportunities. McCrindle Research found that almost 80% of millennials expressed that career development through additional training was ‘very important’ to them. Their high expectations for training opportunities can challenge companies with limited resources, which is why organisations should strategically consider how, and how often, this education is implemented.

One thing is clear: more millennials, more demands. Workplace technology must extend way beyond our desktops, laptops and smartphones. Understanding the ways technology can aid the development of young staff will be crucial in your business’ ability to attract and retain the top talent of today and tomorrow.

Written by Ethaniel Kelly-Wilson, HR & systems manager at Epson

Ethaniel Kelly-Wilson, HR & systems manager at Epson

Ethaniel Kelly-Wilson leads Epson’s HR service across the UK, Ireland & Nordics. Ethaniel has a real passion for employee benefits, reward, and motivation and has recently judged Employee Benefits Magazine’s awards. He’s excited by all things online and has expertise in transforming the HR provision through the introduction of technology.

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