03 Dec 2018 18:49 IST

India 2.0: The millennial workforce

The unified communications industry will set the tone of the future workplace

Often, people ask, what is the most significant change in the 21st century workplace. In my experience, it is the people — the way they work and what defines success for them. It’s the age of competition, technology, work-from-anywhere and, to sum up, the age of millennials. Today, India is one of the top countries in terms of millennial workforce and it is redefining communication and business practices, and transforming the way you would imagine a typical workforce, agnostic of industry or sector.

Before delving into how millennials are redefining business, let’s first understand who millennials really are. Energetic, willing to take up challenges, technology savvy and bold — the four aspects that define millennials. Contrary to popular belief that this generation only strives for better pay checks and a ‘fun’ work environment, millennials want to be valued by an organisation and their work to create an impact on every day business.

New opportunities

Millennials have created a huge opportunity for the unified communications (UC) industry in India. Flexible working hours, work from anywhere, any time, and the rise of technology have prompted organisations to deploy effective business communications technology to ensure a seamlessly connected experience for its employees. Citing this trend, The Workplace Revolution report by Regus highlights that over 50 per cent of workers now work outside the main office 2.5 days a week or more.

A staggering 77 per cent of millennials believe that flexible work hours will make them more productive, while 40 per cent said the same of remote and virtual work. With easy-to-use chat and instant messaging tools, it’s simple for this generation to be in constant touch with one another. Millennials are digital natives, they check their smartphones over 150 times a day. This increasing dependence on technology and growing demand for better communication models have created a huge opportunity for UC players. It is hardly surprising to find that businesses are marrying their need for greater communication with collaboration, agility and productivity. Millennials will form 50 per cent of the global workforce by 2020 (report by PwC) and, therefore, businesses are increasingly investing in UC to give a more convenient and tech-savvy experience to this budding workforce.

Gaining the edge

Unified communications gives millennials access and opportunity to interact with people real-time, collaborate on live documents, spreadsheets, and create content almost effortlessly, providing them the experience they desire. UC, hence, facilitates a mobile workforce, so efficient that organisations are looking at such tools as a business priority.

But, just providing communication solutions is not enough. Communications, conferencing and infrastructure solutions need to support real-time engagement by integrating voice, video, data, messaging, conferencing, mobility and more, to maximise the UC experience. This is where business communication providers are getting innovative by bringing in real-time sentiment analysis, deploying new technologies such as AI and machine learning to make the human-machine transition effective and build experiences for employees and customers alike.

Looking forward

These solutions must provide the right combination of features, ease of use, and seamless integration for a variety of locations and catering to varied needs. Hence, businesses will look out for the right UC solutions that centralise and simplify technology infrastructure so they deliver high performance, the flexibility and agility needed to enable their growth and build for the future. In a digitally native country, where more than 600 million people are below the age of 25, college graduates turning entrepreneurs and millennials dominating even the workforce of traditional organisations, UC is the way to go forward for businesses to remain competitive, relevant, productive, on-the-go, profitable and efficient.

Today, customers yearn for experiences and are driven by technology. UC can put businesses ahead as their young workforce becomes better connected and more productive. Customer satisfaction rises and innovation thrives by delivering seamless collaboration inside and outside the business. And, as these businesses grow, they can count on unrivalled scalability and flexibility to support every location, from small branches to corporate headquarters, wherever the millennial wishes to be located.

(The writer is Managing Director, Avaya India & SAARC.)