Millennials have grown up in a connected world requiring a different approach to choosing collaboration tools for the office. They set the standards in application needs of an organization and become more productive when empowered with the right technology.

The most productive employees are the ones contributing, sharing experiences, insight, taking part in the decision making process, and creating change to add a competitive advantage. They collaborate with team members, partners, suppliers, vendors and contractors, in a global workplace to grow the organization’s bottom line.

The symmetry of this critical asset is changing. Now that millennials are a larger part of the workforce verses Gen X’ers according to a survey done by the Pew Research Center in 2015 the way in which they work is different from older colleagues that remember what it was like to have to store everything on a floppy disk or in actual filing cabinets; where the word cloud meant rain was coming. With the changes in technology and demographics in the workforce with it, we have more millennials opting for quick, efficient and casual ways of working. They prefer various applications that meet these requirements and that foster collaboration. Millennials are the first generation to be raised in a completely connected world. Most do not recall a time without computers, tablets, smartphones, and the internet.

A survey was conducted to figure out how this paradigm shift affects the workplace, and this is what was learned from the poll of over 700 business professionals:

  • 60% of Millennials and 56% of Gen X’ers utilize SaaS applications including Google Drive, Dropbox, Instagram and iCloud for collaboration. Versus, only 38% of Baby Boomers.
  • With 32% of Millennials collaborating on their tablets, phones and smart watches compared to 23% of the Baby Boomer generation.
  • 45% of Millennials prefer text, chat or email to collaborate with team members, partners and vendors. Verses 36% of Baby Boomers finding that chat or text are least effective as a form of collaboration used.
  • 40% of Millennials prefer online meetings verses in-person, compared to 26% of Baby Boomers.

Millennials are also disappointed with the collaboration tools available to them at work. While this survey revealed 59% of all knowledge workers were unhappy with their collaboration tools, the number for Millennials was even higher at 71%, verses 45% of the Baby Boomer generation.

The problem is that tech savvy Millennials and Gen X’ers in particular, look for the most efficient ways to do their job. If the organization’s collaboration tools do not meet their needs, they will find other options. There can be very severe consequences when team members rely on solutions that have not been designed with the enterprise of the organization in mind. Often times privacy and security is overlooked when team members employ alternative collaboration tools that have not been approved through a due diligence process. So what can businesses do to manage the growing issue?

  • Adopt flexible tools. Traditional enterprise collaboration solutions are not flexible enough for the millennial workforce. And now more than ever before, organizations need these tools to work effortlessly on the computing systems and devices of today including mobile access, providing user-friendly collaboration for wide adoption, safeguarding critical content and having access to everything in one central location; a great example of a collaborative application that was built for the millennial age is Scalus.
  • You must be somewhat scrupulous. Just because your team members are utilizing everything does not mean that you have to adopt and implement it all. Managing content and the workflow associated with it can require some careful thought and planning to facilitate collaboration while still protecting the enterprise. As all the new tools flood the market, be sure you vet them carefully ensuring they meet your needs, from the end user to the executive point of view.
  • Educating your staff. One of the more significant insights of the survey is that younger team members don’t think about the privacy and security implications of the tools they want to use. Where 49% of the Baby Boomers generation always consider data privacy and security issues, only 28% of Millennials and 37% of Gen X’ers do. Taking the time to educate your staff members, either informally or formally about the security risks with the tools they may be using, and how they can negatively impact your business, as well as the individual team member themselves is vital in any organization.

Unleashing the power of workplace collaboration brings an enormous amount of value to any organization. By collaborating together, team members can help develop services and products, connect strategy with execution, making more effective business decisions and increasing revenue. As our workforce gets younger and even more digital, organizations must ensure that effective workplace collaboration tools are deployed with the right security in place. To find out more about how you can implement an effective collaboration tool in your organization, click here for a one on one demo.