The Gap Between Corporate IT and the Millennial Workforce
Thanks to technology, employees expect more out of their workplace today than ever before. Who are the biggest proponents of using consumer technology at work? Millennials, of course. Millennials want to be efficient and productive at work, but they want it on their own terms. They want to work with more mobility and freedom. This tech-driven generation is redefining the way technology is used in the workplace.
The Rise of the “App Generation”
Millennials and technology go hand-in-hand. They’ve grown up with IT as part of their daily lives, so it makes complete sense that this generation uses their technology and devices in the workplace. They are facilitating the integration of technology into the workplace, and increasingly demonstrate that technology doesn’t necessarily need to be divided between professional and personal use.
As organizations try to figure out how to offer consumer technology for corporate use, younger employees often work around IT and choose their own software. To prevent this, organizations should pick a business-level cloud storage product and instruct all employees to use it, making things more consistent and easier for IT to control and manage.
When it comes to mobile device use in the workplace, most Millennials want free rein. These are the devices they use all day for checking email, consuming news, and much more. If IT wants to control these devices or discourage their use, it may become a problem. However, IT needs to maintain some kind of security, and Millennials want those security measures to be nearly invisible. This generation feels they should have the freedom to choose the software and applications they use as part of their daily work, not their managers or IT department. They also expect to be able to modify and customize their work computer or laptop by adding software and applications whenever needed. It’s this desire for freedom among Millennials that is causing headaches for IT professionals. The trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing, as the lines between personal and professional apps and devices continue to blur. But this change in the workplace does not have to be problematic, and could actually help bridge the gap between Millennials and IT departments.
Bridging the IT Gap
A big hurdle for IT and Millenials is that the generation gap tends to also exist within IT departments themselves. There are the veteran employees who have been in the business for years; they know the ins and outs of IT, and they’ve been around for many changes in the industry. Then there are the new guys, often Millennials, who may have less industry experience but are often very knowledgeable. Both groups have IT expertise, but each one approaches new technology in a different way because of their backgrounds.
With personal and professional worlds merging, there are numerous new things for IT to consider, like security tools for protecting corporate apps on personal devices, virtualization software for streaming apps successfully to new devices, and much more. When it comes to adopting these technologies, Millenial IT employees are usually quicker to jump on board because they have grown up with mobile devices and social technology. But not all of IT is prepared to make these changes. Established IT workers who have been in the industry for a long time tend to push back against these technologies for corporate use. That’s not to say they turn a blind eye; they’re just more likely to take a longer and harder look at the technology before adopting it. This is not always a bad thing. Because they take their time with these decisions, they may be the voice of reason. If the organization gets caught up in the hype around new technology and ideas like BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), veteran IT workers can step in and explain the benefits and challenges, and even offer an alternative solution.
The important thing to remember is the Millenial side of IT is growing, and fast. A large number of Milennials have joined the ranks of IT since graduating college. With more and more Millennials filling IT positions, and bringing their love and knowledge of new technology with them, the workplace is looking younger and younger. And it’s IT’s job to keep up. When Millennials and IT departments start working together to introduce new devices and apps, companies are likely to see the benefits of this increased flexibility and necessary IT security across their organizations.
Have a question about how new technology can help your business keep up? Leave a comment and let us know!