The young one’s guide to collaboration

Since 2015, Millennials have represented the largest share of the US workforce, overtaking Generation X and Baby Boomers. And by 2020, Millennials will form 50 percent of the global workforce. Why is this important? Millennials are 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters of technology than previous generations, which means if you want a technology to be embraced throughout a company, you need to bring the Millennials on board. Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) is clearly an area where young ones can either be inspired or put off.

UC and collaboration tools booming

Look at Slack, which is one app that has been a mammoth success among Millennials. Every month, over a billion messages are sent by Slack users. The success of group chat tools like Slack and Hipchat prompted Microsoft to develop its own frictionless communications offering, Microsoft Teams, and make it freely available to the 80 million or so Office 365 subscribers. If you have used a persistent group chat at work you will probably acknowledge that it is a useful collaboration tool which can complement email – and also remove some of the burden of it.

The rise and rise of collaboration tools and frictionless apps is being driven by Millennials because they like and choose to work in a more distributed, flexible environment than their predecessors. Put simply, Millennials want to collaborate, whether they are in an open plan office, working from home or out and about on their mobile device. They are the secret to driving adoption of UC&C tools, and marketers need to recognize that this demographic of workers is essential to UC success. Their marketing efforts must centre on campaigns and strategy to get Millennials on board.

Millennials demand collaboration tools at work

Millennial workers have only ever known a world full of social media and as such they are used to sharing. It is second nature to them because they live and operate in online communities on a permanent, daily basis. And they are not about to change their habits any time soon, and they are soon to be followed by Generation Z. If you are a marketer taking UC to market, this is increasingly your audience.

For Millennials, digital communication is built-in, because they grew up using laptops, tablets and smartphones, and they are used to instantaneous communication. Whether using text, Snapchat, email, Facebook or any other social or UC app, they expect immediate gratification – and they take that attitude with them into the workplace. They expect their employer to keep up with their habits, and as workers, they are likely to be frustrated with older legacy systems.

Changing workers, changing expectations

In a Microsoft survey of 1,000 Millennials in the US, respondents were asked about what they believe helps them to “thrive in the workplace”. Nearly all of them stated that modern and up-to-date technology is one of the most important aspects of a workplace. UC is now central to that thinking and with a cloud-based UC suite in place, employers can give workers the collaborative tools they demand to keep them productive, happy and loyal.

Getting UC&C marketing right

To make your UC&C offering stand out and be attractive to the Millennials in your customers’ workplace, you must communicate the right messages. Here are a few touchpoints to consider to devise effective messaging.

  1. UC&C should be pitched to Millennials as part of everyday life, not ‘just’ a work tool. Social media and collaboration are second nature to them, so emphasize that in your messaging.
  2. Millennials are mobile-first. They see no dividing line between work and personal lives, so immediate, interactive communication is a pre-requisite for them. They expect freedom, flexibility and agility, so underline that in your UC&C offering.
  3. Millennial employees have high expectations and want and expect a seamless experience. So focus your UC&C messaging on simplicity and a seamless, consistent user experience across all devices.

Futurity Media has been writing about unified communications and collaboration since the days of Groupware. We can help you device a content marketing plan that helps you get your message across in a crowded marketplace. Contact us now to find out more.

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