It’s an oft-used job interview question that’s a quick way for hiring managers to glimpse into a job applicant’s goals and priorities. Is this person motivated, proactive, and likely to stick around and work hard? Does she have a plan to achieve these goals, and do they align with where the company wants to be?
My kids are being asked this and many other questions for the first time. As you might guess, both of my children are the celebrated/feared/derided Millennials, who are, and in my case will soon be, entering the workplace in huge numbers. In fact, Millennials now make up the majority of the country’s workforce. One in three U.S. employees are 18- to 34-year-olds, and while time will tell how they’ll reshape our workplace culture (and they certainly will), I’ve got a good idea of what they expect in workplace technology.
Workplace Technology Matters
It’s not really a surprise that a recent joint Dell and Intel study found that employers risk of losing Millennials if their technology isn’t up to snuff. An overwhelming 8 in 10 respondents in this age group said that technology in the workplace would influence their decision on whether or not to take a job. Alarmingly, 2 in 5 said poor technology would make them likely to quit their job!
Now, this is a generation that knew personal computers before they could talk. As a result, Millenials are not intimidated by technology, and they are very adept at using and communicating (incessantly!) with it. While Millennials are particular about their tech, they aren’t the only ones. In the study, one in four respondents overall, including GenXers (35- to 54-year-olds) and Baby Boomers (55 years and older), said they were likely to quit a job that didn’t provide them with technology that met their standards.
I don’t think this expectation is unreasonable. These days, workers really depend on their laptops and computers to keep productivity going. We telecommute, multitask with numerous compute-intensive apps open on our desktops, call in to meetings and share presentations in virtual conference rooms— all these activities require the best-performing computers that also offer mobility.
Getting back to the original question, how would your company respond if it were sitting in the interview seat? What is your company’s 5-year roadmap for how technology will boost innovation, collaboration, productivity, etc., while helping your team stay motivated, proactive, and work to their fullest potential?