Millennials are Driving a Surge in Demand for Unified Communication
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that Millennials now officially represent the largest share of the American workforce, surpassing both Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers in the first quarter of 2015. With the lion’s share of representation also comes the power of influence, and the Millennial expectation of an ever-connected future has invigorated demand for Unified Communications in the workplace.
Unified Communications (UC) refers to a suite of technologies such as instant messenger, video calling, and other real-time and traditional communication applications, all bundled together and represented via the same interface consistently across platforms. The technology has been around for at least ten years now, but only recently has it really begun to see an uptick in adoption, owing to not only more affordable prices and better performance, but also to the rise of the Millennials in the workforce.
The Benefits of Unified Communications
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials are expected to make up over half of the workforce by 2020, with other reports projecting that number to jump up to 75% by 2025. A separate report by Grand View Research helps to establish a link between a Millennial eclipse of the jobs market and a growth in UC adoption, estimating that the unified communications market will exceed $75 billion by 2020—more than three times its worth of $23 billion in 2013.
Businesses that have adopted UC solutions do so to efficiently manage teams of employees scattered in remote offices and locales across the globe. The adoption of UC allows their organizations to run more smoothly, with employees able to maintain dynamic and fluid work schedules. UC also affords businesses the ability to enhance culture and productivity by building more cohesive, more connected teams, and speed up decision-making processes along the way. While these types of technologies are changing the workplace in ways new and radical to some, Millennials are approaching UC with a sense of familiarity and are draw to work environments that meet their desire for innovation and technology as part of the work experience.
What Millennials Are Changing About the Workplace
Millennials were the first generation to have been connected virtually since birth. The internet, the laptop, and the smartphone—these were not just modern inventions that changed how employees could operate at work, but extremely powerful devices responsible for fundamentally altering how people live. While Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers accepted the “9 to 5” as a necessity, Millennials know and have come to expect the freedom and flexibility that comes with connected mobility.
According to a study by Bentley University, 77% of Millennials believe that flexible work hours would actually make them more productive, while 40% said the same of remote and virtual work. And it’s not just Millennials. A report by PwC found other generations just as likely to “feel so strongly about wanting a flexible work schedule that they would be willing to give up pay and delay promotions in order to get it.” Companies wishing to stay modern and retain employees
The Consequences of Neglecting UC Adoption
Attracting top talent is top-of-mind for businesses in today’s economy, and once you attract talented folks, getting them to stay around is yet another challenge. In fact, the Millennial Compass Report by the MLS Group and the Ashbridge Business School in the UK showed 50% of those surveyed say they plan to leave their current employer after two years on average. Bottom line–if you want to recruit and retain Millennial talent, embracing technology and a culture of progressiveness and innovation is important. And Unified Communications is definitely a part of that package.
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