The contact center of today is world’s away from its predecessors. Not only has the technology inside these centers been completely overhauled, the people who work in them are different, too. The modern workforce is like nothing that’s come before it.
Tools used in today’s contact centers often put humanity to the side. Workforce optimization platforms tend to be focused on scheduling, getting butts in seats, and maximizing productivity. Most can’t respond to the emotional experience of people working in contact centers who are more likely than not to be millennials.
Let’s talk about why this is matters.
Who Makes Up Today’s Workforce?
In a word: millennials. Says Inc.com, “By 2020, Millennials (those born between about 1980 and 2000) are forecast to comprise half of the American workforce, and by 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce.” The more than 56 million millennials participating in today’s workforce simply cannot be ignored by companies who want to thrive and grow. This group makes up the most diverse and most educated workforce in history.
“Millennials,” of course, is a grossly general term assigned to a huge swath of the population. Though there are naturally variances among individual millennials (and Gen Xers, and those from Gen Z, and so on), generational cohorts tend to share significant ideological traits which color the way they view the world, including work.
Who Are Millennials, and What Do They Want?
Defining the millennial workforce is relatively straightforward. Depending on the source, today’s millennials are defined as being between their mid-twenties and late thirties. This generation entered the workforce at the apex of an economic recession. This directly colored the way they see leadership, loyalty, and their relationship to their jobs. They were also party to the “internet explosion” and have for the most part readily embraced technology.
It’s worth noting that the next generation, Gen Z, shares many of the same professional ideologies as millennials; the line between the two generations is less pronounced than that between Boomers and Millennials.
A highly important question for businesses looking to shape themselves around the needs of millennials is what they actually value when it comes to work. This is particularly critical for contact centers who are now not only primarily staffed by millennials, but who spend the bulk of their time servicing millennial customers.
What Your Millennial Employees Value
Like every generation before them, millennials want stable, productive work that helps them provide for themselves and/or their families. This is not unique. What is unique is the emphasis millennials place on that work being fulfilling, both personally and professionally. That expectation isn’t limited to boardrooms and non-profits; if millennials work in your call center (they do), they expect their work to have meaning.
Millennials in the workplace value:
It’s impossible to understate how important positive affirmation is to millennial employees. A full 28% of millennials say they intend to leave their current job because they “don’t feel appreciated.” While it’s an overstatement to say every millennial expects a participation trophy, it’s accurate to say they do expect their good work to be recognized at an organizational level.
The tragedy of 9/11 took place during the formative years of most millennials’ lives, as did the rise of social media. It’s understandable then how much value this generation places on collaboration. This feature is so pronounced that millennials are sometimes referred to as the “Collaboration Generation.” Says Forbes, “Most millennials prefer working in groups that offer a sense of unity and collaboration over division and competition.”
Millennials are keenly aware that job skills, both soft and hard, are the ultimate professional differentiators. In a world where Gen Z employees are entering the workforce with an inherent technological edge, millennials are keenly aware of their own skill gaps. A full 30% of millennials place the onus on their employers to help them develop and hone these skills. And training programs aren’t enough: millennials want to work in a learning culture.
Not only do millennials desire professional development, they also value learning from their peers. Over 68% of all employees say they prefer to learn at work, and almost half say they specifically want to learn at the point of need. Peer-to-peer coaching is a way to develop millennials without managing them. As an added bonus, it also helps prepare the next generation of leaders within your organization…who just so happen to be millennials.
Fun and Engaging Workplace
Millennials work in all kinds of conditions, but the happiest millennials work in fun, engaging workplaces. For a lot of millennials, the line between work and life is pretty blurry. Companies that embrace this by humanizing the work environment and making it a friendlier, more positive place to be will retain employees longer and nurture the kind of company culture that is based on emotional intelligence.
A Smart Solution to Millennials in the Call Center
Stella Connect built a nimble software platform that directly addresses the concerns of millennials in the contact center. Our tools are designed specifically to foster the kind of real-time communication and real world recognition millennial employees crave.
Want to learn more about how Stella Connect can help your organization retain and develop its millennial workforce?