4 Ways the Cloud Helps Engage Millennials at Work

What motivates today’s knowledge worker? Recently at the Avaya Engages Silicon Valley event, I had the chance to hear Daniel Pink, author of the New York Times bestselling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. He argues that it takes more than just money to motivate today’s workers. It takes AMP, short for Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, the “building blocks for the new way of doing things,” he said.

Autonomy
At Google, employees have autonomy over 20 percent of their time. They can do whatever they want. Over time, this radical form of autonomy has led to the development of 50 percent of Google’s new products, including Gmail, Orkut and Google News.

Another radical approach impacting today’s work environment is known as ROWE, short for “Results-Oriented Work Environment.” In the ROWE, employees can come into the office or not, work on their own schedule, or decide to attend or not attend meetings. All that matters are the results and getting the work done on time. How, when, and where does not matter. This type of approach has resulted in productivity and worker satisfaction increases, and reductions in employee turnover.

Mastery
Motivating today’s worker will produce profound results if their needs for AMP are met. During the same presentation in Silicon Valley, Pink asked all attendees under 30 years old to raise their hand. From that group, he chose a young woman and asked if she knew the GDP of a small country in Africa. She admitted she didn’t know the answer offhand, but could quickly and confidently answer the question using the smartphone in her pocket. Today’s Millennials don’t necessarily know all of the answers, but they know how to get facts fast, leading to instant knowledge and reinforcing Mastery over their world.

The innate ability to quickly access answers via the mobile Internet–instantly mastering one’s world–is arguably a key difference between the average Millennial, born between 1982 and 2000 and the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. As one Baby Boomer turns 65 every 8 seconds and many consider retiring, new Millennials are entering the workforce, each armed with the innate ability to leverage Web and computing tools that did not exist a decade ago.

Today, Millennial workers carry 16 GB Apple and Android devices with 4,000,000x more computing power than the Apollo 11. With new devices, unparalleled research engines and access to the Cloud, today’s employee may not have all of the answers in their head, but they do have the means to instantly find them at the touch of a screen. Mastery at their fingertips.

The Dawn of Google and Knowledge-Based Workers Drive The Need For Cloud

Knowledge-based workers feel empowered when they have Autonomy and Mastery, which sparks creativity and rapid development of new strategies to solve problems. What happens when Millennials have to wait for the immediate feedback they expect? They can become disengaged as they lose their capability to rapidly access the knowledge they need to master their projects. Millennial demands for rapid access to tools and knowledge requires a flexible, responsive engagement application environment at work that mirrors the consumer world they have grown up in.

The true benefit of the cloud is the ability of the application infrastructure to rapidly transform and adapt to business needs. Below are four cloud benefits that support an IT organization’s ability to provide the need for immediate access to tools and knowledge that support employee Mastery, in turn, increasing employee motivation:

  • Agility – Cloud application infrastructure supports the rapid provisioning of new features and capabilities in reaction to business needs
  • Speed – The cloud allows for applications capacity to flex (increase and reduce) based on long- and short-term needs (seasonal spikes, etc.)
  • Accessibility – The cloud enables broad application accessibility, with the ability to standardize globally, which simplifies user adoption
  • Reliability – Cloud applications, when virtualized, facilitate instant failover and high reliability, ensuring that applications are available when users need them

What other benefits of cloud do you think will keep the wave of Millennials entering the workforce engaged by meeting their need for AMP?

Follow me on Twitter at @Pat_Patterson_V

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