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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Millennials--the Technology Generation?


     Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, is a rapidly growing community within the workforce.  Born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s, the Millennials have grown-up alongside the advancement of modern technology.  Currently accounting for 36% of workers, this generation of educated and tech-savvy individuals is expected to outnumber the Boomer Generation and Generation X by as early as 2020.  But what does this mean for businesses and employers?
Millennials have integrated technology into their everyday lives.  What else would you expect from a generation that has been around since shortly after the introduction of the first personal computer in 1975, came of age during the dot.com bubble, and experienced the dramatic effect social media platforms have on our lives?  For this generation, it seems as though life simply revolves around technology.  It is no wonder that 75% of Millennials are active in social media and 29% visit their social media sites several times a day!  Over 8 in 10 Millennials have smartphones, with 70% of them checking their phone every hour.  Even more telling, 83% of Millennials sleep with their phones next to them. 
Technology is truly ingrained in everything this generation does.  This behavior has implications for businesses, whether you are looking at Millennials as a customer or an employee.  As customers fascinated with social media, Millennials look for meaningful interactions with the places they do business.  These customers are intrigued by exciting ads, handy mobile websites, and informative social media sites.  Studies have shown that 33% of Millennials favor brands that have Facebook pages and mobile websites.  With this statistic quickly increasing, it only makes sense for businesses to dive into the depths of social media to target this rapidly dominating group.  It is important that businesses embrace this enthusiasm for technology and social media by creating meaningful brand engagement with customers in the channels where they are already active.  Social media allows businesses to interact with their customers and, in turn, the customer begins to feel a connection with that brand.  With 75% percent of Millennials active in social media, it would be a mistake not to invest time using these free tools to connect with customers.
      Technology and social media are also rapidly evolving in the workplace with employees.  As businesses look to keep their employees engaged and involved, they are turning to social media platforms.  Creating a social media platform within the company allows employees to interact with others within the company, learn and retain more knowledge, which increases motivation and job satisfaction.  Social media can also help bridge the gap between the different generations within a company.  Companies are increasingly building gamification platforms to leverage employees' connection with technology to further educate, engage, and motivate employees at all levels of the organization. 
      As the Millennials begin to dominate the workplace, businesses need to make sure they are meeting the needs of this generation.  Keeping up with these needs or even getting ahead of the game will keep both customers and employees engaged, resulting in better business performance overall.  Ensuring that your business is up-to-date with these modern trends in technology and social media is a sure bet for a more successful future.

Source: 2012 Pew Research Center, “Millennials: A Portion of Generation Next”

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