The shift from baby boomers to millennials in the workplace

Young professionals thrive in the smart digital office.


The shift from baby boomers to millennials in the workplace

A mobile and flexible workforce

The average workplace is getting more modern in not just technology, but its personnel as well. According to research by PwC, millennials now make up more of the workforce than any other generation. Born between 1981 and 1996, they were the first generation to come of age in a digital world. By 2020, they’re forecast to make up 35% of the global workforce.

At the same time, baby boomers, those workers born between 1944 and 1964, are beginning to retire en-masse, opening up a significant skills gap. In the Middle East, the senior talent pool is even smaller than the global average, with some 60% of the population younger than 25 according to As boomers’ influence declines, the big question is: how should companies change and adapt so that they can better attract this energised, technologically-aware new generation of talent?

The mobile office is no longer just a buzzword. Any employee brandishing a smartphone, tablet or mobile PC can now switch with ease between social media, web browsing and work applications on the same device. This has given rise to a business environment where younger professionals are constantly on the move. They demand the ability to choose work environments that align closely with the task at hand, whether that’s engaging in highly focused work, or brainstorming new ideas with their team.

It’s a phenomenon that has ushered in a new wave of mobile office tools which are helping to close the gap of time and distance when professionals need to plug in away from their desk. Until recently, processing documents on mobile devices has been a frustrating experience for many – slow, error prone and a hotbed of security risks.

A new way to work

A new way to work

Adopting a cloud based approach can help alleviate many of these concerns. This is achieved through the storage and management of sensitive office documents inside a centralised, highly secured database. In workplaces that still utilise paper based workflows, solutions such as Canon’s Mobile Office Enablement can help to seamlessly bridge the gap between cloud, scan, share and print for busy, on-the-move professionals.

Millennials acquired many of their digital skills during their teenage years, endowing many with a lifelong curiosity about technology. It’s an important life skill in a workforce that rewards continuous and ongoing skills development.

It also opens great opportunities for businesses to invest in their employees’ long-term career goals and in doing so, help the organisation reach its potential. New digital HR technologies are helping to make this happen in a far more efficient way. In particular, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics are now assisting HR professionals in their day to day grind of screening job applications, delivering personalised training, measuring staff engagement and job satisfaction, and much more.

Despite these big innovations, HR remains a document-intensive process with many organisations still reluctant to move on from paper-based employee records—a laborious approach that is error-prone and costs the organisation time and money.

Digitisation of HR documents and workflows can help HR staff work faster, improve response times, get more insights from their HR data, and achieve better security and compliance. Crucially, it makes it far easier to connect employees with the right kind of coaching and development opportunities – an advantage that Gartner found can increase employee engagement by up to 40% and employee retention by up to 20%.

Optimising workflows

Optimising workflows

It’s often said that millennials are ‘digital natives’. They grew up in a media-saturated environment where much of the information they need has been only a click or a swipe away.

This expectation carries through into the workplace, where the delays and friction associated with paper-based processes and workflows are at odds with how younger employees think and work. Cloud and mobile technologies are helping to meet their productivity needs, but there will still be times when crucial information needs to be converted from paper to digital format.

A solution such as Canon uniFLOW makes this much easier by consolidating document scan, processing, OCR and distribution features into a single automated platform that works seamlessly with a raft of productivity tools, from email and DMS to Google Drive, Evernote and Dropbox.

As millennials help to fill the workforce gap left by retiring boomers, workplaces are transitioning towards an increasingly digital context. One of the biggest challenges of this change will be bridging the gap between paper and digital – a task that will be made easier through the help of these advanced document workflow tools.

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