Understanding and Retaining Today’s Tech-Driven Millennial Workforce

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According to the Pew Research Center, the Millennial generation can be defined as individuals born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22-37 in 2018). Today more than one in three members of the American workforce are Millennials, making them the largest generation in the US workforce. Boosted by immigration, the population of Millennials is expected to reach 76.2 million in 2036, surpassing baby boomers as the largest living adult population.

As employees, Millennials bring several important qualities to the workplace:

  • Tech savvy – they sleep with their smart phones!
  • Consummate multi-taskers – simultaneously navigating multiple applications comes naturally.
  • Highly educated – 40% have at least one degree.
  • Collaborative- they like working with others.
  • Eager to learn new skills – they understand economic uncertainty and want multiple skills, so they can pivot to new jobs or self-employment.

Sometimes Millennials get a bad rap because they are perceived as lazy. Although there may be some that are work-averse, as there’ve been with all generations, sometimes supervisors mistake efficiency for laziness. Millennials are very comfortable with technology, and they are very skilled at multitasking. They get things done faster.  But unlike older generations, which may strive to “look busy” to maintain or even expand their hours, Millennials prefer to request time off to pursue their personal interests, if they feel their tasks have been completed.

Based on our extensive research, the following summarizes the key attributes that Millennials seek in an ideal employer:

 

  • Work life balance
  • Freedom to innovate, to express themselves
  • Opportunity to learn new skills
  • Access to state-of-the-art technology
  • Frequent performance feedback
  • Adequate compensation

Customer service work, if properly presented, matches very well with these employee preferences.  With modern workforce management software, employee schedules can be adjusted to balance service level requirements with employee scheduling preferences.  Many contact centers provide the option of working from home.  Millennial workers will have the opportunity to work with others of the same age range and interests. Millennials are by nature caring and empathetic.  Helping others while earning an income is an appealing proposition.

Millennials are the first generation to grow up with personal computers, smart phones, and social networks.  They expect access to state-of-the-art technology at their workplace.  Important features and capabilities that will appeal to this generation as well as produce superior and cost-effective customer care include:

  • Modern graphical user interfaces – similar to popular smart phones
  • Automated quality evaluations
  • Customizable views
  • Ability to communicate over multiple channels and devices
  • Personalization options
  • Individual skills and preferences considered in scheduling algorithms
  • Mobile alerting system to apprise agents of overtime or voluntary time off opportunities
  • Ability to execute time off requests and shift trades from smart phones

Millennials represent the largest pool of potential employees for contact centers. For now, at least, jobs are plentiful. Millennial jobseekers can be selective, and they will seek out organizations that best meet their vision of an ideal work environment.  Be sure your workforce management software includes features that will attract Millennial workers.

 

Dick Bucci
Founder and Chief Analyst
Pelorus Associates
dbucci@pelorusassoc.com

Dick Bucci

Pelorus Associates has conducted research and analysis on the contact center space for 15 years. Dick Bucci has authored 17 comprehensive books and reports and numerous articles on contact center practices and technologies.
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