“While this may not be a ‘deal breaker’ for technology talent, it’s certainly a consideration when making career decisions,” Reed says. “Managers don’t want to face the roadblock of insufficient or undesirable technology when trying to recruit for their teams, especially in a tight market for skilled professionals.”
It’s not mainstream yet, but it’s becoming a lure for prospective employees, adds Karsten Scherer, global analyst relations lead at IT staffing and services provider TEKsystems. “Platform/device flexibility is gradually gaining recognition as a lever in that ‘war for talent,’” Scherer says. “I wouldn’t classify this yet as an overall candidate expectation, but it’s definitely a differentiator.”
One driver is the influence of millennial workers.
“Millennials now officially make up the largest chunk of the workforce. They’re also the first generation of employees to have grown up as digital natives, so their relationship with and expectations of technology are different than mine as a 43 year old,” Scherer says. “The lines between using technology for work and technology for everything else are blurred now – increasingly, employees are using the same devices for all of it if they can and would if they could.”
The enterprise IT team at The LEGO Group has been expanding the platforms it supports for similar reasons.
“The basic goal of IT at Lego is to empower our colleagues to be as happy and productive as possible when they come to work,” said Michael Loft Mikkelsen, an infrastructure engineer at LEGO, which employs 17,000 people. “At the same time, it’s also about LEGO being as attractive a workplace as possible, where we continue to attract very talented and amazing people.”
The old way of doing IT at LEGO was very much “we decide how you work,” said Loft Mikkelsen, who also spoke at Jamf’s user conference (Jamf specializes in Apple management software). But over the last few years, the Windows-centric toy company has deployed about 700 Macs, primarily to employees in creative roles, such as designers and product developers.
For this portion of the workforce, in particular, working on Macs is nonnegotiable. “Some of them come straight out of college, some are recruited from the LEGO fan community. Most of them have been working on Macs their entire life. They’re comfortable with it. They love it. For them, it’s part of their identity,” Loft Mikkelsen said.
“The goal of the Mac project is to enable these colleagues to be as productive and inspired as possible. And we do that by providing them with the platform that fits them and their way of working – and not a platform where we decide how they should work.”
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