CIOs beware: The millennials are on the way

Summary:How CIOs and HR can get the most out of the next generation of digital natives

How CIOs and HR can get the most out of the next generation of digital natives

CIOs need to adapt to meet the needs of the 'millennial generation' if they are to recruit and make the most of the best emerging talent.

The Centre for Information Leadership (CIL) at City University London has urged IT chiefs to change the way their department functions as the next generation of tech-savvy employees start to have an impact in the workplace.

The CIL defines millennials as people born after 1985 who have grown up using technology and are now entering the workplace with different expectations and needs to previous generations.

CIL director - and former CIO - David Chan explained that with the IT sector likely to boom in the next few years, demand for IT talent will increase. And with the millennial generation now entering the workplace, companies will need to make sure they cater for their demands if they are to attract the best.

For example, new ideas will be increasingly important to generate revenue and millennials will only be able to provide these ideas if they are allowed to work in an environment that suits their way of doing things.

Chan said: "The reality is that as millennials come on-stream over the next year or two, they won't find it comfortable working on the old corporate environment of command and control; and the issue for a lot of big organisations is they haven't actually woken up to the fact yet."

Business people shaking hands

Recruitment is just the beginning - millennials will be more productive if they are able to work in a way they are familiar with
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

According to Chan, millennials' prefer to work collaboratively and are better at using collective intelligence than previous generations.

If millennials are told to stop doing things the way they naturally would by outdated corporate policies, businesses will run the risk of stifling their creativity. Chan said organisations should therefore go "along the grain rather than against the grain" when defining work practices for millennial workers.

And with demand for IT skills growing, millennial workers are also likely to be less tolerant of working for organisations that stop them doing things in the way they're used to. Organisations must therefore look at changing working practices to keep their youngest workers satisfied as well as productive.

Chan outlined some top tips for CIOs to bear in mind when recruiting and managing workers from the millennial generation.

Balance security with access to information

Chan says that too often, corporate security systems prevent people getting access to the information they need to do their job.

"We've then got to start rethinking how we can make sure the secure transactions are secure but also have the flexibility so we can exploit the capabilities and creativity of this new generation," he said.

This means CIOs need to be open to use of other technologies that they may have previously shied away from due to the assumption that they are less secure. "The whole paradigm of security is to try and control everything and you can't - that's the reality."

Change your approach to sharing ideas

When trying to solve a problem, millennial workers are more likely to go out to their friends for ideas rather than rely on their colleagues in the office. CIOs should look at fostering collaborative working to a greater extent to make sure...

Topics: Tech Industry

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