By 2020, millennials will represent 50% of the American workforce. And while this might cause waves of excitement or a sinking feeling of dread—depending on your affinity for cat-themed memes—the stat makes one thing very clear: financial institutions need to prepare for the influx.
Millennials thrive in a mobile world; this is, after all, a generation that was raised on social media, texting and an infatuation with mobile devices. And as these mobile mavens continuously join the ranks at banks and credit unions, many workplaces are antiquated by the standards millennials are used to.
So what can financial institutions do to attract the coming millennials as the next generation of leaders? Take these steps to create a modern, innovative workforce.
1. Focus on Human Mobility. The modern banking employee is always on the move, with the ability to access all relevant information from any device, anywhere, at any time. This accessibility, combined with the capacity to connect on multiple devices, allows your millennial workforce to thrive and service customers efficiently. Modern banking staff should be untethered from a desk, granting them nearly infinite mobility, and allowing them to provide customers a unique experience.
2. Establish a “Cool” Workspace. A modern work setting should adhere to the strengths of the growing mobile generation. This means that employees can utilize mobile technology and systems that promote quick, seamless communication and provide a flawless customer experience. Customers are expecting your branch to incorporate the experience they have had over the phone, online and/or on their mobile devices. Your workspace, then, must be an extension of these experiences; with available technology, and individuals with the corresponding knowledge of products and services.
3. Let’s Work Together. 88% of millennials prefer a collaborative work culture over a competitive one. This begs the question: does your workplace culture and technology foster a collaborative environment? While most workplaces do indeed promote a culture of collaboration, many millennials are frustrated when the technology and processes do not reciprocate. Consider integrating programs like real-time co-authoring—which allows multiple employees to edit/review a document at the same time—and cloud-based sharing of documents and files. These additions not only save time but also play off the natural talents of your millennial workforce’s collaborative mindset.
4. Bring IM to Work. Millennials are accustomed to nearly unlimited access to the Internet, social media and texting. By their standards, many of the financial industry’s workforce technologies seem ancient. Even email servers can seem outdated. So, upgrade your email services with cloud-based storage and user-friendly automation, and consider integrating informal communication systems like instant messaging (IM) through your email service provider. This is a good way to encourage quick and painless communications between employees without the formality of sending an email.
5. Integrate. Integration also is important. Ensure that your email service is fully integrated and automated with calendars, mobile phones and other extensions. Millennials are accustomed to this automation, and expect their usernames, calendar events and documents to automatically transfer between devices.
6. Security. Despite any technological gaps millennials might bolster, they are just as worried about security as their older counterparts. In the realm of security, it is suggested that financial institutions take a serious look at the cloud. Cloud providers have significantly longer uptimes and more enterprise-backed security than most onsite data storage. Moving to a cloud provider equals regular backups and greater protection from ransomware and malware. From a regulatory standpoint, examiners are increasingly looking at the security of email servers, as many institutions are clinging to outdated and vulnerable legacy systems.
It’s important that institutions of all sizes take into account the significance of workplace innovations. As millennials continue to pour into the workforce, banks and credit unions must harness their natural talents with a modern, comprehensive productivity tool. The millennials are coming; are you ready?
Shawn Eftink is a product manager for CSI's Managed Services Division. He has more than 20 years of industry experience and holds professional certifications including ITIL, CSM, CCDA and CCNA.