How many times have we asked our kids to help us with an app, or post an Instagram story, or even configure our new PC? They, and their generation, don’t remember a time when the Internet didn’t exist, when you didn’t have access to information in the palm of your hand, or you couldn’t immediately purchase something online.
The use of technology is driving an entirely new way to work today. Two generations, the Millennials and Gen Z, have been entering the workforce in waves and they are expecting the companies they work for to have and use the latest and greatest technologies. This not only includes easy access to information with the use of smartphones and other hardware devices, but also access to big data and information in real-time. The use of technologies such as AI, machine learning, sensors, automation, online payments and processing is becoming a job requirement by the new generations.
Born into the digital age and experiencing the rise of the gig economy and an on-demand world, the new generation of workers seek instant and seamless experiences. They have grown up in the digital revolution and because of this, demand superior experiences through technology as it’s all they have ever known.
Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1996, are rejecting old models and outdated technologies, while expecting to use advanced technologies as an enabler of their work in their day-to-day jobs. With 85–90 million U.S. Millennials, this group is now the largest generation in history and is also the highest educated generation ever.
Born after 1996, Generation Z (Gen Z) is just entering the workforce and they have lived a much different life than their parents or even the Millennials generation before them. Gen Z accounts for 61 million people in the U.S. and they are a generation that has grown up with social media, instant gratification and access to real-time information online and in the cloud.
These two generations are looking for immediate gratification in their purchases. If they see a desirable pair of sneakers or handbag in a store, they can pull out their phone and order in real-time.
Many CIOs and IT teams face decisions when it comes to implementing advanced technologies about what might be right for their business. What is hype or a buzzword, versus what is useful for the business is usually top of mind. However, CIOs and financial services executives today are realizing they must use these technologies versus just think about using them, because today’s new workforce is demanding them.
As a result, companies looking to recruit and retain these two generations may need to adjust their technology and operations for this group of workers. Both generations are certainly poised to change the future of how companies operate, the types of advanced technologies that are implemented and how quickly deployment happens. For this workforce, gone are the days of saying “it was always done this way.”
They expect to work with advanced technologies, and if these technologies are not in place already they might see the organization as old or outdated. They expect to be able to use self-service, automation, card-not-present technologies, ApplePay or mobile wallets. These generations will be able to assess and recommend how to make machines and operations more efficient through the use of these technologies and others.
In fact, SurveyMonkey and Microsoft recently reported that 93% of Millennial workers say that a business having up-to-date technology is an important factor when choosing a workplace. Furthermore, Penn Schoen Berland reports that 42% of Millennials stated they would leave a company due to "substandard technology."
This is also bringing about cultural changes to an organization. Those afraid to use new technologies, or who are not properly trained, will no doubt feel uncomfortable in a technology driven work environment.
We are in for exciting and huge changes in the future. Millennials and Gen Z are driving many of these changes -- impacting the way global payments are made and tracked and the way retail and subscription-based services are operated. These generations have high-tech expectations, such as significant advances in communications and smart workplace technologies that increase efficiency.
Investing and using the latest technologies will be critical to attracting and retaining new top talent. As tech natives, Millennials and Gen Z will expect that -- and value companies that remain on the leading edge.