In an ongoing effort to gain a deeper understanding of how knowledge sharing can best serve businesses, Bloomfire conducted a survey to determine which employees or departments need, want, and would benefit from improved knowledge sharing technology most right now. One of our biggest goals was to give businesses the best insight into who is being impacted by gaps in knowledge sharing and what to do about it.
While we expected to find discrepancies in knowledge sharing capabilities from department to department, what we found was that the millennial workforce is currently driving the increased desire for knowledge sharing. Millennials want, and even expect, improved tools and resources for accessing internal business information more easily.
According to Bloomfire’s most recent survey, 37 percent of professionals (of all ages) spend over 30 minutes every day looking for internal information. Previous studies have also shown that employees are spending almost 20 percent of their time searching for internal information. That’s a huge drain on productivity, with substantial implications for the bottom line.
Reports have proven that this loss in productivity costs businesses. Though many professionals lose productivity to searching for information, this negatively impacts the younger workforce more than their older counterparts. Bloomfire’s survey results showed that 53 percent of working professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 would like to be able to access internal information more easily, as compared to only 44 percent of professionals between 35 and 44 years old, and 40 percent of professionals aged 45 to 54 years old.
While it is well-documented that all workers benefit from knowledge sharing, the statistically significant relationship between age and desire for information sharing means businesses must adapt to meet the needs of a younger, tech-focused workforce.
Investing in a Younger Workforce
Millennial employees are projected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Providing them with the tools and resources necessary to work effectively is paramount to a business’s success. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of businesses are failing to address the technology needs of their younger employees.
According to our survey, only 39 percent of professionals aged 18 to 34 gave their company’s technology a score of 8 out of 10 or higher, compared to older employees who were more satisfied, with 46 percent of 35 to 54 year-olds giving a score of 8 or higher. A full 44 percent of those aged 18 to 34 rated their company’s technology 6 or lower, showing a high-level of dissatisfaction among nearly half of young professionals.
This difference between age groups again highlights the expectations of the workforce of the future. If you’re not investing in technology to meet these expectations, you could be hurting your company. Investing in millennials helps to attract and retain top talent, create an accessible culture, and promote professional growth among younger employees. Investing in a knowledge sharing platform that enables curation, organization, and collaboration is one way companies are meeting the expectations of the young workforce.
Knowledge Sharing Technology & Millennial Professionals
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the benefits of investing in knowledge sharing technology that meets millennial employees’ needs. Knowledge sharing technology:
Attracts and Retains
Giving millennials access to the tools they want will help attract and retain top young talent. Most millennials grew up in a world revolving around search and quick access to information. With Google, Wikipedia, and an endless stream of online content constantly available on mobile devices, the millennial workforce is more frustrated when they can’t easily find company information. Furthermore, learning that a company hasn’t caught up technology-wise can be a red flag for a younger workforce that is used to readily-accessible information.
Creates an Accessible Culture
According to a study conducted by Fidelity, millennials value a healthy work life balance more than income, even at the cost of a $7,600 pay cut. A thoughtful and enforced company culture makes for a happier work environment where employees are invested in the success of their work on a personal level, rather than just a financial one.
To effectively support a balanced workplace culture, businesses need to maximize visibility of cultural values and provide tools that foster a feeling of connection. Knowledge sharing platforms support company cultures by creating a clear picture of a company overall and by making it easy to for employees to interact via features such as ‘liking’ content and the ability to create comments and questions.
It is no longer enough to share vision through annual company meetings and reports. Young workers who grew up using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram want to develop that same social connection at work. With knowledge sharing platforms, young workers are able to have both clear visibility into company goals and other cultural attributes, while feeling connected to the greater company culture at large.
It’s important that your millennial workforce sees a path for professional growth. In an ideal scenario, individual and overall business growth go hand in hand. To achieve growth, clear lines of communication must exist, and efficiency must improve alongside constantly changing variables.
By democratizing information, encouraging collaboration, and breaking down information and department silos, a knowledge sharing platform empowers young professionals to advance. It also allows young employees to make a greater impact, by sharing information and successes company-wide, rather than completing projects that get lost in a black hole.
Positioning Your Business for the Millennial Workforce
There’s no doubt that the millennial workforce has different expectations than older generations. Advances in technology have guaranteed that.
The younger workforce wants and expects better technologies for accessing, sharing, and interacting with information. The recent survey conducted by Bloomfire reinforces the growing body of research in this area, and clearly distinguishes the differences in expectations between younger and older professionals surrounding knowledge sharing. While workers of any age will benefit from better knowledge sharing in an organization, younger employees’ expectations will no doubt be higher.
Millennials will soon make up a majority of the workforce and will be the guiding force for industries and how businesses operate in general. To ensure your business’s current and future success, you need to seriously consider what you’re doing to satisfy millennial professionals, and how you’re providing the appropriate tools to set them up for success. Their success is, ultimately, your success.