Young employees want the communications tools they’re used to

Employers aren’t keeping up with their younger employees when it comes to communication channels, according to Accenture.

In a survey of 400 ‘Millennial generation’ students and workers - those aged 14 to 27 - many said they prefer to use their own consumer tech, social networking and open source software. More than half said that state-of-the-art technology is an important consideration when choosing an employer.

A fifth of respondents said the technology at their workplace wasn’t up to scratch. Many not only wanted to use the computer of their choice, but also access applications they are used to without having to get permission.

At work they often miss the communications channels they’re accustomed to using at home, such as online chat, instant messaging, mobile text messaging and RSS feeds, which they say they need to have to communicate with customers and clients. Only 6 percent say their organization provides online chat and instant messaging, while 5 percent have the use of RSS feeds.

To make up for the lack they regularly download non-standard technology from free public websites such as open source communities, “mashup” and “widget” providers.

Of particular interest is that fewer than half said their employees appear to have a policy on posting work or client information on public websites.

Gary Curtis, managing director of Accenture Technology Consulting, says: “The message from Millennials is clear:  to lure them into the workplace, prospective employers must provide state-of-the-art technologies. And if their employers don’t support their preferred technologies, Millennials will acquire and use them anyway.”

Of course in the current economic climate recruiters may find there is less need for ‘luring’ - young people will be glad to find work anywhere. But if communications with customers and prospects is a priority it makes sense to provide staff with the tools they need.

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