Here it comes, another blog on millennials. Are you tired of hearing about them yet? I know I’m getting tired of them, and they’re only now just starting their infiltration of our workplaces. I remember when it felt cool to be a “gen X-er” and now I cringe when some of my younger colleagues say they were born in 1987 or 1991, and I realize I can actually remember those years. I graduated high school in 1991, for crying out loud.
Funny story… a few months ago, one of my millennial colleagues, (who blogs for us, but who shall remain nameless) could not figure out how to send a fax. It was really funny at first… and then it just made the rest of us feel old. But I digress.
One thing that is actually interesting about them is how many of them there are. We know there were tons of baby boomers and many fewer X-ers. But there are a LOT of millennials – 45 million of them born between 1979 and 1999 – who, by 2025 will represent about 75% of the global workforce according to Deloitte’s millennial survey.
So, whether we’re tired of hearing about them or not, they are starting their mass influx into our workplaces. Are you ready? I came across a survey from CompuCom which showed that, despite the alarming number of millennials that are either already working or about to enter the workforce, most organizations are not taking major steps to support them.
Compliance Training and Policies for Millennials
I’m not sure that matters in every functional area, but in HR, IT and ethics and compliance it matters quite a bit because of the way millennials prioritize technology and consume information.
The survey revealed some interesting things. For instance – pay attention to this one HR – according to industry data, 64% of millennials ask about social media policies during job interviews and 24% say it would be a key factor in accepting an offer.
Those of us in ethics and compliance should know that millennials switch their attention between media platforms such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and television an average of 27 times per hour. What implications does this pose for compliance training? What about policies? I think it’s pretty clear the old paper policies and video-based training isn’t going to cut it with this generation. They are social, they are gamers, they are interactive… their training and policies should be, too. At least it should be, if you want them to remember and apply the information.
Millennials Want to BYOD
I blogged a month or so back about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the nine features that an organization’s BYOD policy and compliance training should include. BYOD is very important to the tech-enabled milliennial generation. The CompuCom survey asked “What is your organization doing to support millennial employees?” and outside of “nothing” the most popular answer (at 21%) was BYOD enablement.
According to CompuCom CTO Sam Gross, “With almost a quarter of respondents telling us their companies are enabling BYOD, and knowing this number will only increase, IT departments clearly need to find a way to enable millennials while also keeping their corporate networks secure. Hybrid support models are particularly attractive to the multi-generational workforce that our clients’ IT departments are supporting. Whether you’re a Gen-Xer who’s accustomed to getting support online, a Baby Boomer who calls the service desk and waits for your phone to be delivered, or a millennial who ‘buys, tries and discards’ technology, this approach keeps employees productive.”
BYOD is a lot like cybersecurity; it’s an area that is seemingly owned by IT but where IT and compliance should be working closely together for the common good. Why? Risk. CompuCom found in another survey that 96% of 922 IT decision makers believe that BYOD increases the RISK to corporate networks and data. Risk to corporate data is also a top concern of compliance officers.
Tailor Compliance Training to Generational Learning Styles
As much as I joke about being tired of hearing about them, I work with some millennials and they are taking the world by storm. They are passionate and invigorated. They believe in the power of technology to change the world. They care about the ethics and values of the organizations they work with and for, and exhibit tolerance for others on a level that frankly, generations before should have done.
I liked the quote from the CompuCom CTO above because he uses a great example of how they tailor IT support for employees of different generations. That’s an excellent inspiration for compliance training. Clearly, millennials are tech-savvy, they like interactivity and gamification. As an X-er, I am used to doing everything online and I’d expect my compliance training to be done that way as well. Baby boomers are probably used to classroom style training and a manual full of policies. That’s not to say that this should be a hard and fast rule, but you can certainly use generational learning styles as one more way to tailor your ethics and compliance training.
The survey comes with a great infographic you can see below that shows all the ways companies are preparing – or not preparing – for the onslaught of millennials coming their way. I shudder to think the changes we’ll have to make when my 4-year old enters the workforce. He can already navigate an iPad more quickly than any adult I know and doesn’t understand the concept of a keyboard. Good thing we don’t have to worry about generation Z yet…