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Here come the millennials, part 1: How the generational shift will affect distributor’s bottom line

October 5, 2015

With four generations in the workforce and new assumptions beginning to shape your employee relationships, it’s becoming more important than ever to pay attention to effective human resource management.

Jason Dorsey, Chief Strategy Officer at the Center for Generational Kinetics, says a company that adapts to the needs of the millennial generation can be a better, more efficient workplace for all generations. The stakes are high. In the first of two Infor podcasts on millennials in the workforce, Dorsey, also known as the Gen Y Guy, says a failure to adapt could come crashing down on your bottom line.

Turning a threat into an opportunity

For a company that ignores the generational shift, the refrain is going to be “it’s costing me money; it’s costing me performance; it’s costing me innovation,” Dorsey said, putting himself in the shoes of a distribution business owner. “It’s really hitting my bottom line. It’s no longer just a cute, funny story about one person who has a flip-phone and another person who uses their iPhone.”

But with threat comes opportunity, Dorsey stressed.

“We know that companies can get this right,” he said. “And when you get it right, you have a distinct advantage over your competition. You’re going to innovate faster, you’re going to decrease costs. … You really create this wonderful diversity of thought when you can engage all three or four generations.”

Hands-holding-ipad-tablet_NewsFeed_614x261Technology: Not just for digital natives

Business technology is one of the areas where millennials bring a new wave of expectations to the workforce. Dorsey said the shift begins with their phones, but extends to every aspect of a company’s internal and external communications.

“They want to use a device that is at least comparable to what they would use” on their own, he said. “It doesn’t need to be the most cutting edge. But at the very basic level, it just needs to do the things that their normal smartphone does.”

Infusing change across the workforce

But the changes you make to accommodate your youngest employees will yield dividends across your entire workforce.

“As technology spreads throughout a company, there are obviously challenges. There are frustrations. There’s a learning curve,” Dorsey said. But even if millennials adapt fastest, “other generations benefit from it, as well. When you look at social media, baby boomers are the ones who are just absolutely rocking it, loving it.”

In the end, “technology ripples up, and it does become a factor in recruiting, retention, and competition, the more it becomes infused within a company.”

Listen to the Gen Y Guy’s 9-minute podcast on millennials in the workforce, the first in a 2-part series.


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