Is It Time to Change Our Minds as Business Leaders?
Whenever I need to speak with my finance guy, I have to drive all the way across town to meet at his office. During a recent meeting, I asked him, “Why did I drive down to your office when we can use a video conference?”
Really, why do we drive around just to attend meetings when we could be using something like Skype? My finance guy told me I’d probably be the only person around who’d want to expand our use of technology like that in the area. I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that. My determination to adopt new technologies can make me sound less like I’m part of Generation X and more like a member of Generation Y — also known as those “lazy” millennials.
As a guy who grew up with people assuming I was lazy because I’m the “son of a business owner,” I don’t buy into the stereotypes the media likes to throw around about millennials. Sure, I’ve had poor employees who fit the negative image, but I have also know many more who are hard workers and great employees. But beyond that, we as business owners need to remember Generation Y makes up 34 percent of the workforce, surpassing Generation X and the rapidly retiring baby boomers.
I often wonder why more businesses aren’t trying to appeal to the largest generation in the labor force. Companies cannot survive without people, and the people we’re trying to hire today want different things than their predecessors. A recent article I read looking into work trends discussed Generation Y’s desire for freedom and flexibility. On average, millennials don’t conform quickly to a “this is how things have always been” work environment and tend to be more willing to leave a job that doesn’t fit with their lifestyle.
This ever growing number of employees look for companies that align with their personal values. They want to work together and collaborate on projects in a place where they feel their contributions are worth something, and — this is a big one — they need the freedom to take some time off or work from home when they have to.
Some might call this an example of “entitled millennials” but I think it’s a reminder that sometimes we need to change our mindset as business owners to stay ahead. Do we still need to be confined brick and mortar establishments to get work done? Why shouldn’t we move from desktops to laptops if it enables employees to get work done anywhere? How much more productive would a day at the office be if we created a company culture where employees actually liked being at work?
It’s not hard to start implementing these things in any office. A subscription to Office 360’s Business Plan gives you access to Skype and a wealth of other resources that I use a lot at the office. Logitech cameras are great for video conferences and they only run at around $30 on Amazon. A Cloud Readiness
Assessment can help you make sure your apps and programs will run on the cloud and allow for remote access.
Smart business owners know the value of a good employee and right now, we what we want to be doing everything we can to attract good employees and keep them around. If attracting good employees means expanding how we use technology to ease out work day, I’d say I’m on board.