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

...younger workers are able to do this effectively.

Chan said there are areas where businesses will gain more by sharing information but the organisation needs to work out where those areas are - and make sure the right things stay within the company's firewall.

He added that people at the top of businesses share information via the board of directors or informal networks and so businesses should trust their employees to do this.

"The key is information. In a sense you need to have a different set of disciplines: 'We trust you guys but these are the things you need to be careful of', rather than 'I'm going to stop you guys doing it just in case you do something wrong'. Be a bit more intelligent about it," Chan said.

"The world is actually too interconnected now to control - that's the problem we've got. We've still got a paradigm of trying to control everything and we can't. All we can do is say let's be humanistic about it, let's make sure that we have the controls where we need to have controls but turn it around the other way."

Put business above IT

Chan said it's becoming more important that people working in the IT department think about the business above the IT team to create "more corporate belonging, more networking with the business, more feeling you're a part of the business".

He said that millennials are naturally better at networking and getting to know the rest of the business than previous generations and so CIOs need to make sure this isn't lost when they enter the workplace.

Business people around laptop

Digital native recruits will be much more comfortable than previous generations with collaborative working
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

To make sure the networking skills of millennial recruits continue to be strong, CIOs should make sure they're discouraged from adopting an isolated mentality which is prevalent in many established IT departments.

Chan said: "The smarter CIOs manage this quite well but you still find, certainly in a big organisation, the island mentalities."

One way of achieving a greater appreciation of the rest of the company is for IT staff to spend time with users so they can build important informal networks and have a better understanding of how the rest of the business works.

Changing HR's approach

HR departments can also play a role in getting the most out of millennial workers. CIOs therefore need to challenge HR departments to change the way they deal with recruitment and career development in relation to the latest generation coming into the workplace.

Millennials are much less likely to follow a prescribed career path than older generations according to Chan. He suggested, therefore, that HR departments should provide a framework for employees that allows them to organise their own career.

This could mean providing a list of training courses which employees can choose to sign up to depending on what they want to achieve in their career.

Although millennials clearly like to do things on their own initiative, Chan agreed that HR still has an important role. He said: "[Millennials] need guidance, they need counselling - but they like to make the decisions themselves."

Topics: Tech Industry

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