Published Date: 02/17/2014
By Reneé Watkins
In a world where Millennials seem to have every conceivable self-sufficient app and technological advance at their fingertips, it might surprise you to learn what they crave most. Human interaction!
Cornerstone OnDemand recently released results from a survey in which they asked three generations of workers to report on their views of the technological advances in the workplace during their lifetime. Ironically, Millennials have become a victim of their own technology and most report they dislike working in a virtual vacuum.
Baby Boomers and Generation X reported their greatest wish during their career was to work from home and have flexible hours in a time where two-income households left little time for family and social activities. Now, with Millennials, technology is available to promote this type of flexible work schedule. Also, companies embrace and take advantage of this technology in order to decrease their physical corporate footprint and cut costs.
Millennials report they miss the face-to-face collaboration with co-workers, now replaced with conference calls, email and instant-messaging. Of those surveyed, many Millenials are also bothered by the assumption that they constantly crave the latest and greatest in technology and are sometimes thought of as being “lazy” for using technology to reduce their workload.
In fact, if you consider the most popular technological advances, like Skype, Facebook, Instagram, iPhone apps and Twitter, it becomes apparent the technology is rapidly advancing to answer a call for easier and more frequent social interaction with family members and friends, rather than improved telecommuting.
Further support of the Millennial desire for collaboration can be demonstrated by the above technologies being developed by entire teams of like-minded Millennial visionaries, working in small groups for months and even years on end with the single focus of achieving their goals.
According to the Cornerstone survey, young professionals are willing to assist organizations and other team members in selecting which of the available tech tools to use, but are unwilling to replace co-worker interaction with technological shortcuts.
Millennials also report:
- 60% prefer to collaborate in person vs. 34% online or 6% on the phone/video
- 66% would use wearable technology to assist in their job vs. 34% who would not
- 38% feel they have experienced technology overload
- 41% feel they have experienced information overload
Granted, much of the technology and information overload experienced by Millennials is a direct result of their own innovation. In a world where information and updates can be transmitted to everyone in your network almost instantaneously, Millennials often find they are constantly connected. While Baby Boomers and Generation X wished for an opportunity to experience downtime where the world went quiet for a while, Millennials will have to actually teach themselves to disconnect and to embrace quiet whenever possible.