A Millennial in the Workplace

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Millennials. The buzzword of the past few years. Whether you are looking to hire new people or sell your product or service, you have to tailor your value proposition to the new Generation Y or the so-called millennials. It's inevitable.
The reality is that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials - mobile natives used to posting, swiping and liking. But that’s not all; so let me tell you a little more about us and what our expectations are. 

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Who are Millennials ? 

For those of you who are still unsure about what a millennial is, here are a few facts:

It’s a generation born between 1980 and 2000, sometimes referred to as the Peter Pan generationEntitled, technology addicts and job hoppers.

The truth is, I don’t relate to any of these words. Our generation is much more than what some believe. The world we were born in, we inherited from previous generations, we didn’t build it, we didn’t cause the economic crisis, we didn’t start wars or global warming but one thing is sure, we are dreamers and optimistic.

We dream of a better world and we work every day to make it happen for us and for the next generations. We embraced veganism, created Angry Birds, Instagram, Facebook, and occupied Wall street :).

Growing up in a period of tremendous technological change and complicated socio-economic environment shaped our identities and created our thirst for an instant, mobile and global world. It made us loud and proud.

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Watching the famous interview with Simon Sinek about Millennials in the workplace was a sad moment for me. Parts of his speech depict a lost generation, one that is too oblivious to the reality of the workplace and one that technology has impacted negatively. Truthfully, I can’t see how that is an unbiased image of my generation.

Things that we aspire to accomplish as employees or employers are not utopia. We want to thrive in a transparent environment with open communication and feedback. We want to feel valued and have a positive impact in an organisation. We don't want to work just for a paycheck. How can that be a bad thing ?

Millennials & Technology

From laptop to self-driving cars, technology has no secrets for us and I, personally, can’t picture my life without my smartphone and my apps. Am I an addict? I don’t think so. I don’t have a problem unplugging for a week or two but I am unwilling to let go of the convenience technology has brought us. Technology helps me manage every aspect of my personal and professional life and I expect from my employer to provide the same convenience.  Companies need to keep up the pace to make sure they offer state-of-the art technologies for more efficient and productive work environments.

Millennials will represent 75 % of the workforce by 2025 and it’s crucial for companies to understand the importance of technology and to attract and retain the most competent and hardworking millennials. Because yes we are. It’s no surprise that the median age at Google is only 30.

So what drives us, digital natives?

Flexibility, instant communication and mobility are words to keep in mind here. These are the fundamental differences between us and the previous generations. Most millennials are fast learners and expect to work and grow in transparent, flexible and efficient environment. Technology is a mean to get rid of valueless tasks and concentrate our capabilities on tasks that will benefit the organization.

Push your boundaries 

Companies who have succeed in attracting millennials are innovators. Think of Google, Apple, Tesla, these companies are not afraid to push the boundaries and constantly challenge the status quo. They create inspiring work environments that engage employees and motivate them. These companies are not perfect but they sure have succeeded where, so many, are still struggling.

More often than not, inspiring work environments go hand in hand with up-to-date technologies. Technologies that can easily be adopted by everyone in the company and that drives the company’s productivity and profits. It’s not easy. Putting in place new processes and choosing the right technologies take time, research and the willingness to overthrow existing procedures but it is crucial if an organization wants to stay relevant.

             -Growing up in a period of tremendous technological change and complicated socio-economic environment ... made us loud and proud- (1).png

I work for an expense management solution so I am going to talk about what I know. Expense management is a burden in each company no matter the size. It’s usually the last dinosaur in the processes mostly because nobody has time for it or because it’s too complicated to untangle. Nobody stops to think about the impact this has on the company. Expense management is one of the few processes that, if digitized, would impact the entire company and if still manual and outdated, creates frustrations and losses for the organization.

Imagine yourself using scissors, glue and colored excel sheets to keep track of your company’s expenses. Sounds more like a flashback to your childhood memories rather than a purposeful use of your time? Well that’s still the case for 80% of the European companies and it’s exactly what we, millennials, want to avoid.  

Mobile-first

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Smartphone are for millennials an extension of their bodies. They are small, convenient and help us manage our lives instantly, anywhere and at any time: alarm, agenda, emails, gps, payment, flight booking, etc… As Elon Musk said: “We are already cyborgs”.

So why not use the same device for your expense management or any other process at work? Seems only fair. 

Investing in mobile platforms for your employees will only benefit companies positively, saving time, money and frustrations. In 2022, 42,5% of the global workforce will be mobile, that’s 1.87 billion digital nomads. If your company does not cater to these people, your future might be uncertain.

My millennial manifesto is coming to an end. I am not a social expert but I wanted to share my experience as a millennial and shed some light on who we are and what are our expectations. I trust my generation to bring significant change and make the world a better place.

Our dreams shape the future.

Pleun van Looij

Posted by Pleun van Looij

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