CompuCom Study: Organizations Not Supporting Millennial Employees' IT Needs

Chances are many of your newest employees or job applicants are Millennials, and they're not going to be happy with your company's IT offerings.

Millennials, somewhere between the ages of 20 and 35, are marching into the workforce and IT professionals say many organizations aren't adapting their environments to satisfy them, a recent CompuCom survey found.

In fact, more than a third of organizations were doing nothing at all to help support Millennial employees, CompuCom found. 

Those who were supporting Millennial employees used methods such as SMS/texting support (11 percent), support for mobile devices (13 percent), BYOD enablement (21 percent), walk-up or concierge tech support (9 percent) and social media use at work (13 percent).

The problem for companies that don't adapt, CompuCom CMO Jonathan James said, is that those employers will have a hard time attracting the new generation of employees. Some companies are hesitant to offer the flexibility demanded by Millennials because management is either too traditional, or afraid of running into security or compliance problems.

This could make the transition a bit bumpy, James said, as companies search for the right balance. He said he expects companies to "over-rotate" at first, offering too much to their Millennials, and then ultimately to pull back into a balanced IT ecosystem. No matter how companies make the transition, what can't be denied, he said, is that the old days are gone.

"I think it is a hot topic for IT organizations today and what they're rightly doing is trying to balance that flexible support and access with compliance, security and cost. These CIOs have an internal challenge to balance those. This whole concept of 9 to 5 is going away," James said, and it's taking traditional IT perceptions along with it. "Prior generations assumed you would get appropriate technology, this population is much more vocal about how they want to work, where they want to work." 

James said that CompuCom is approaching the transition in a few different ways, both for its clients and as a company. He said CompuCom has a strong BYOD program in place, as well as what he called a "solutions café," where employees can walk up to a location and get concierge IT support, similar to an Apple Genius Bar. He said CompuCom is also working to roll these initiatives out to its clients as appropriate, and if done correctly the changes don't have to be costly.

However, it's not a one-size-fits all solution for all companies. Employers will ultimately need to decide what is best for themselves. For example, some businesses might be working in a more regulated environment, such as healthcare or government, that requires different Millennial solutions than those in a creative field. However, James said there will come a time when even the most reluctant companies will need to make changes if they want to engage a younger workforce.

"I think we will reach a tipping point. I think the client will need to dictate the day," James said. "We don’t want to over rotate on things and create a security or compliance issue in the hopes of being super flexible and supportive for the Millennial population. It will all need to be within reason and make sense form a business standpoint, but that's not to say we won't see companies doing some really interesting things. If you think about it, this population will become the majority soon. Really, a failure to stay connected to their needs could cost employers the attrition of employees."