057/366 - Schilder / SignsHear ye! Hear ye!  It is I the town crier from the new millennium here to tell you what you already know if you are the owner of a company that employs millennials; it takes more than switching out land lines for i-Phones to keep up with the digital natives we refer to as Gen-Y.

If you remember having a princess phone in your home and a phone cord long enough to reach from the kitchen to the living room, you may feel that no matter how fast you upgrade your technology, you are still light years behind what is deemed relevant.

And you can bet your latest Snap Chat, the millennials who work for you are wondering if you will ever catch up.

Here’s the bad news; in some ways you may never truly catch up.

Here’s the good news; that’s O.K. as long as you understand what the race is all about.

Imagine coming of age at a time when technology was the norm.  Connecting to other people through technology was as common as tying up your family’s one phone line while you talked to your best friend for hours on a Saturday night.

Now we talk to many people all at once and the lines are blurred between work and play.  Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers have had to learn these new behaviors but millennial brains have evolved into this kind of “real time” multi-tasking approach to connectivity.

As a coach and consultant to millennial managers and emerging millennial employees, I’ve seen how these changes move corporate culture and communication forward.

I recently had the opportunity to put on my trusty headset connected to my landline and have a conversation with Derek Yoo, CTO of Fuze (formerly ThinkingPhones) about what his company is doing internally to keep up with their millennial talent and how they are supporting other companies to do the same.

According to Yoo, millennial employees are not waiting around for their employers to solve technical problems.  If they cannot operate effectively from a technical standpoint, they will find a work-around.  And while this sounds terrific – harnessing the genius of our younger workers – those “work-arounds” can sometimes cause other issues in the areas of security, a company’s desire to maintain control over information and stabilizing a cohesive company-wide culture.

Fuze creates technology that meets the needs of millennial employees who want to be able to work at home at times and not be tied to their desk when they are at the office.  It’s important that they are able to BYOD (bring your own device) and have that seamlessly integrate into their company’s technology.  They want to collaborate with their colleagues in real time and they crave an optimized user experience.

While overwhelming at first, these changes to our work environments push everyone forward and ultimately benefit the bottom line.

3 Steps to Successfully Running the Race

  1. Make sure you have the right running shoes.  Find someone with experience to help you invest in technology that will serve your needs well.  No one needs a blister five miles into a marathon.
  2. Pack Goo. In this constantly changing world, you will need to sustain yourself.  Create relationships with leaders in your industry.  Share best practices and cheer each other on.
  3. Let people see you sweat.  Keeping up appearances in the office when things are not working, helps no one.  If something isn’t working, get in front of it by asking for solutions and ideas from your employees.

Now it is your turn.  You have been handed the baton and it’s time to get moving.  Rather than trying to catch up, run the best race you can, embrace changes along the route and learn from the millennial talent on your team.

Photo credit:Creative Commons License Boris Thaser via Compfight