Millennials in the workplace are the driving force behind successful technological adoption, but their technical proficiency and communication styles are often not considered when crafting an organizational communication plan. Successful unified communications (UC) planning starts at the ground level, with a good understanding of what tools workers and customers need to be successful, as well as a good working knowledge of how tools are being used.
The UC promised land
In some faraway UC utopia, a user speaks (or types, or signals, or takes a selfie) and a message comes out the other side, formatted in the recipient’s ideal form, whether it be a video, written words, or voice. Something like the Babel fish of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which provides an instantaneous and perfect translation of any alien transmission.
Back to reality
But in the real world, as we inch ever and ever closer to an IP dominated communication infrastructure, the promise of unified communications seems to perpetually recede. The proliferation of siloed technologies that refuse to talk to one another have complicated the vision of a UC world where voice, chat, email and messaging seamlessly work together in a universal dance of ceaseless unity and cooperation. Messaging apps and email are sucking more a more productivity out of the workplace.
What is perhaps even more frustrating than siloed tech are the platforms that have tried to be everything to everyone, when most are best at one or two things. As it often turns out, the development of other areas is less than robust. Sometimes an application is hastily patched in to fill a need, but it seems like little more than an afterthought, and doesn’t work well with the overall platform. Overdevelopment and underdevelopment together create clunky, complex systems that can make collaboration and communication even more difficult—if not impossible.
Millennials in the workplace, frustrated with these platforms, end up shortcutting them and jumping on to simpler and more intuitive apps to collaborate, work, communicate with customers, and to learn. Understanding how millennials work with technology can help you create a more effective UC plan for your organization.
Mobile first (BYOD)
Unified communications is all about reducing redundancies and streamlining, and hardware is no exception. According to data from Nielson, smartphone adoption is ubiquitous among millennials, and a single device system is less costly, more efficient and makes employees happier and more engaged.
In our smartphone era, millennials at work want to communicate using the one device that they have a personal emotional connection to: their smartphone. They don’t want the added burden of juggling and managing multiple devices, or to be tied to cumbersome legacy systems that make mobility difficult.
Millennials in the workplace use their smartphones to train and learn, and to create the ideal working conditions anywhere, anytime. Millennials want to work when and where they are, and to use their own phone. Flexible work conditions aren’t just a nice perk. They’ve been shown to increase productivity and business outcomes. New data about the human brain bears this out. On average, for every 52 minutes of work the human brain needs a 17 minute break. This break should be a complete disconnect from work. This might mean doing a little gardening, taking a walk, or even looking at silly animal videos on your smartphone. Mobility and freedom from desks allow workers to work smarter and produce better results, not just log longer hours at an office.
Unified communications should be mobile first
Occam's razor (Simplicity)
Occam’s razor was a principle formulated by a 13th century logician and Augustine friar to evaluate competing theorems: "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitate”, which translates as “do not multiply entities beyond necessity,” or even “don’t invent unnecessary steps.” As a principle, it proved the Copernican theory of our solar system was correct. But beyond theoretical use, Occam’s razor is very useful in evaluating design and conceptualizing data. Occam’s razor is encapsulated in the statistical principle of parsimony. It also describes a user’s ideal relationships to technology. They want the simplest solution. Users always take the easiest, most direct route.
Unified communications should take the simplest, most direct route
Whether the customer is internal or external, communication planning should be focused on delivering an experience that is responsive and relevant. Whether an employee is searching for information they need to do their job, or a customer needs answers to help them complete their journey, the ability to deliver can mean a valuable competitive edge. Communication infrastructure that is difficult to navigate means disengaged, dissatisfied customers and employees. As both consumers and employees, millennials at work and in the market, expect companies to respond quickly and engage meaningfully with them.
Unified communications should be customer-centered
Forward-looking communication planning is essential for businesses. Technological disruption will continue to transform the communication infrastructure well into the future. As PSTN networks are retired and traffic is rerouted to the internet, successful implementation of resilient, adaptable software is key. But implementation can’t succeed without the cooperation of customers and employees.
As millennials in the workplace and in the market become the majority stakeholders, paying close attention to their habits and communication style can save you time and money later. Effective unified communication planning starts with evaluating the needs of customers and employees, and implementing smart, responsive solutions.
At Spoke, we’ve created a virtual phone system that is mobile first, simple and customer-centric. Designed around the way millennials work and live, our system is easy to use, maintain, and can scale up or down with your business needs. Our smart directory maintains itself, and adding or removing users is a snap. We enable the full functionality of a professional business phone system on the device you’re already using, allowing you to work from anywhere, anytime. To learn more about whether Spoke is right for your company, check out our FAQ, or join our free trial to experience the pure simplicity and intuitive functionality that can be deployed in three minutes on the devices your team is already using.