"How do we meet the needs and demands of the new generation?" is a common refrain I have been hearing from business leaders in the region.
Today, a major human resource issue is centered on how millennials - the new generation of employees below the age of 32 - are transforming the workplace. Millennials believe in the power of mobility and being able to work wherever they go. They also want to bring their personal mobile devices into the workplace and dislike being deskbound.
But these millennials have no impact on the organization's bottom line, executives argue. They are not the ones in charge and if they are unhappy, replacements can be easily found.
The real question all business leaders should take a step back to ask is - can we afford to ignore the millennials?
The New Workers
Let's look at what the numbers say. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, millennials will form 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020, and in India alone, this group will account for over half of the population.
Why are these figures important? For starters, the inability to address the needs of millennials could spark off a talent drain or worse, cripple the entire organization. Companies who refuse to adapt will eventually realize that they have a much smaller talent pool to hire from.
It will be wise to start considering millennials as stakeholders of the business. When this generation of workers realize their companies cannot provide them with the tools for working on-the-go, they will move on and find another company that will.
And just as millennials are influencing the look and feel of the workplace, the technology and tools found in an enterprise are evolving as well.
Every aspect of our lives are being transformed by mobile computing. And the backbone that enables this - the IT infrastructure - is transforming too. The CIO's biggest headache is thus, no longer just about cost efficiency, but about finding ways to use technology to improve on the workforce's productivity.
Earlier this year, VMware commissioned the MeConomy study to understand the impact of the millennials on the workplace, referring to this group as the "New Workers". Instead of depending on the desktop, these New Workers approach work with a mobile mindset. 61 percent of end-users surveyed said they have used their smartphone for work-related purposes in the last 12 months.
Not only are New Workers increasingly mobile and dispersed, they are also craving technology that supports mobility and collaboration.
In many ways, employees have thus taken the matter of productivity into their own hands, bringing their own devices -such as tablets and smartphones- into the business.
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