We all increasingly dependent on our smartphones. They have revolutionized the way that businesses work, and we are no longer stuck to desks all day or chained to our computers. Today’s millennials almost never put down their mobiles and it’s common to see them in restaurants and cafes as a group, all staring at their phones and tablets. Millennials are a unique generation due to their vastly different attachment to their smartphones.
To many traditional managers, millennials are viewed negatively – as a laid-back, narcissistic and sometimes irksome bunch. On the positive side, millennials in the workplace are confident, have a can-do attitude about new responsibilities and seek out feedback frequently.
In about 10 years’ time, today’s millennials will make up about 75% of the workforce. To learn how to best work with millennials, you should focus on being a coach and mentor, providing growth opportunities and social workplace connecting teams.
Technology: a crucial tool for millennial productivity
There is one trait that unifies the millennial generation – they are far more in tune with communication technology than any other generation. Being tech savvy, they carry their laptops with them, use tablets to check the news and their biggest nightmare is to leave the house without their smartphone.
Over 80% of millennials own a smartphone and they rely heavily on them – an average millennial checks their smartphone 43 times per day. Unsurprisingly, another survey found that 53% of 13-33 year olds claim that they “wouldn’t be able to live” without a smartphone.
This dependability on technology can be a leverage to motivate the ‘plugged-in’ generation. Instead of forcing millennials in the workplace to turn off their smartphones, you can use them as a great tool to supervise, motivate and interact with millennial employees.
5 ways to use a smartphone to motivate millennials
- Connect on social networks – most of millennials spend most of their time on social media. To keep them motivated, you could create a closed social network group where employees can connect and share company news, information about projects or discuss issues and ideas freely. Providing feedback on social media is a great strategy which builds the confidence of millennials in the workplace.
- Getting more done through a mobile to-do list – Productivity apps like Producteev, Trello or Slack are great examples – they’re simple task management applications that can be downloaded on a smartphone and used on a desktop. You can make various to-do lists by assigning different tasks within the team, adding deadlines and sending reminders. Notifications pop up on a smartphone when new tasks are given or a deadline is reached, so millennials can stay connected whilst being on the go.
- Enable email access – you should give the flexibility and freedom for millennials to answer emails at their leisure. They want to take ownership of the success of a project or new product launch as well as be able to answer emails on their commute or whilst waiting for a train. By giving access to company emails on their smartphones, you can give them more freedom and independence in how they manage their work. Don’t impose too many rules on millennials and give them autonomy to bring the best out of them.
- Work smarter and create learning opportunities – millennials really want to learn and develop themselves. You could use a smartphone to share interesting articles, answer their questions and mentor them.
- Encourage feedback – it’s extremely easy to create an online survey free of charge. When millennials are allowed to give the feedback in their own time, on smartphones, they will be more likely to respond. This can give valuable insight into the millennials’ needs and be really motivating.
Bringing it all together
Today, millennials are revolutionizing organizations and how teams should be managed. These young people are highly motivated and their high usage of mobile phone devices can be used as a tool to unlock their potential in the workplace.
Millennials love to use their smartphones. As a result, managers have to adapt their leadership style and learn the new way on how to motivate and lead millennials in the workplace. The rise of portable devices has made interpersonal communication easier than ever before. To most people (and especially millennials) this means more flexibility, giving opportunities to work from any location.
What’s important is that simply using the smartphone alone doesn’t make motivated and efficient team member. It’s the way how you want the Millennials to use it – that counts. As a leader, you set the policy and set the tone – keep them connected and energetic. On the other hand, making the work more fun, giving them autonomy and expanding their horizons is something that needs to be done to motivate millennials in the workplace.
Millennials in the workplace have great potential, but we need to be more flexible to unlock it. Managers who can find the right balance in utilizing the smartphones as a motivational tool will make their young and ambitious team to work smarter, not harder.