Three things COVID-19 is teaching your business about your millennials

It is undeniable that COVID-19 has presented organisations with challenges, perhaps most critically regarding the need to pivot ways of working. And while initially this challenge perplexed many a business, the reality is the “new norm” that we are establishing out of adversity, is one with a silver lining.  That being, the opportunity for organisations to not just understand how millennials prefer to work, but due to the critically of accommodating new (and flexible) ways of working, enhancing engagement, retention, and business performance.

Remote working is the future and your millennial employees expect it

For younger generations, the flexibility offered with remote working is a critical factor when considering (and remaining in) a workplace. While remote working for some industries has been slow – not least because of issues to do with perception, managerial mistrust, or outdated infrastructure – it is now the future. In fact, since 2015 (and pre COVID-19) remote working has grown by 140 per cent. Fast forward to the current pandemic, where all employees have had a chance to experience working from home, this statistic will grow. Studies already conducted indicate that 60 per cent of workers report they’d prefer to continue to work from home, even once restrictions have been lifted. What’s more – and an absolute bonus for business – is the fact that a strong link exists between remote work and better employee retention.

Aligning with the growing gig economy

Thanks to the growing gig economy, self-employment (and freelancing) is becoming more common as organisations have come to learn the value in being able to outsource tasks to already trained workers. While organisations have faced furlough, job cuts and restructure, the on-hand supply of labour is high; meaning for “get in and get the job done, fast” positions, a labour market already exists – hungry with millennials waiting for their next opportunity.

In general however, the gig economy is a win-win: both for organisations looking to scale the workforce up and down quickly to meet business demand with less time spent on the recruitment process, and for workers such as millennials who have a chance to work for multiple organisations in temporary positions, satisfying the need for diversity and adding value with their expertise.

Access to top talent and increases in productivity

Offering remote positions means organisations attract both a larger pool of candidates and higher-quality candidates who may not have considered applying for roles, due to limitations like geographical location, family commitments or expenses. These limitations no longer need to exist. What’s more, is the added productivity that comes with this: the potential to work across multiple time zones, quicker work turnaround times and improvements with client response times, and subsequent relationships.

The morale of the story? COVID-19 is presenting an opportune time for organisations to understand and implement best practice working arrangements that don’t just accommodate the millennial workforce but will keep them engaged and performance high.

Jacqueline Cripps, Management Consultant and CEO, JCL

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