How to Mobilize the 20-Something-Year-Old Consultants
Organizations today are made up of intergenerational employees, from Baby Boomers to Generation Z, Generation X, and Millennials. All of them have unique characteristics and are mobilized and motivated by different factors. Today, let’s focus on what makes millennials unique: by 2020, they make up 50% of the workforce, and by 2025 that will rise to 75%. So it’s fair to say that this generation is now in the majority at work and that we have to understand what will engage them more. While millennials are actively involved in digital transformation initiatives and are more tech-savvy than previous generations, it’s not just any tool that will increase their productivity and collaboration at work.
This post will discuss the success factors required to promote the use of Professional Service Automation (PSA) tools. More precisely, we will discuss the success factors that mobilize millennials to use these tools. Note that these elements may also be valid for other automation systems, such as accounting or customer relationship management systems, and can certainly apply to older generations.
ACCESSIBILITY & COLLABORATION
It’s 2020, and we are in a world where everything is accessible in a few seconds and a few clicks. The same principle applies to automation systems, such as PSA tools. To engage employees, and especially the millennial generation, simplicity, and ease of access are essential. Platforms must be mobile – accessible via a smartphone, a desktop computer, and a tablet while offering the same functionalities. Additionally, in the age of globalization, the platform is expected to be globally accessible to use it within the organization and worldwide.
By the same token, to engage millennials in PSA, it is essential to integrate PSA with other products to create a uniform technological environment. According to an article in Forbes, millennials are much more inclined towards a collaborative and effective work ethic. Therefore, the platform needs to be easily accessible via the other applications used within the organization, such as the internal telephone system, the internal chat system, the document management system, or even the e-mail system. When properly incorporated into organizational processes, the PSA platform will further encourage communication between team members, while making access to information much easier. Thus, a PSA well integrated into the environment will result in increased collaboration within the organization.
In the figure below, we can attest to the collaborative aspect that is an integral part of this tool: there is a news feed that informs the user of the latest activities on each of his projects. The user can also find who their team members are and easily contact them. What’s more, what sets Mavenlink apart from other similar platforms is its ease of integrating with other business tools such as the Google suite (G-Suite), Slack, or even Salesforce.
DESIGN AND GAMIFICATION
A well-appointed and visually appealing interface creates a positive feeling among its users. This same feeling is the one that will really encourage the use of the platform in the daily activities of users. In this sense, the tool must be simple and have intuitive features while avoiding creating stress for its user.
The aspect of gamification might be even more important when it comes to engaging millennials. This term is defined by applying game principles to other areas, such as the development of websites or platforms, to promote interaction with the user (Oxford Languages). This translates into nice colors and visibility of the information in a PSA platform, but we go even further. We also want to incorporate the concepts of rewards and ranking. For example, the tool could present a project progress bar to show its percent complete. This feature provides both visibility on the project and an incentive to work and efficiency to complete the project 100%. Along the same lines as the point presented above (Accessibility & Collaboration), the aspect of gamification also encourages collaboration by introducing the concept of multi-player on the PSA.
For example, in the figure below, we can see an intuitive color code according to the upcoming tasks’ dates. Also, the progress bar on the left allows quick and intuitive visualization of each project’s progress.
The visibility of the financial concept in the PSA tool is crucial. Ultimately, the tool will help in accounting for expenses and revenues for service companies. Therefore, we want the tool to provide financial visibility both in the delegation of tasks and in the entry of the employee’s timesheet. Millennials are reportedly much more likely to trust technology than people. In fact, transparency and visibility are key, which technology can provide. A PSA tool that shows where the numbers come from will earn the trust of millennials. Therefore, they will be more tempted to use the PSA, which will help them in their daily tasks.
The figures below represent screenshots from the Mavenlink platform. In the figure on the left, we can see the evolution of costs over time by project represented graphically. On the right, you can see the estimated hours and budgets to complete specific projects. This is an excellent example of financial visibility.
In short, millennials aren’t afraid to experiment with new technologies to spend less time doing manual data entry and more time on tasks with more added value. In fact, they often leverage their ability to show other generations how to use the tools to their full potential to advance their careers. Considering millennials will make up more than 75% of the workforce within 5 years, it’s safe to say that adopting the right tools is essential to ensure the health of your business.