The Impact of the Millennial Workforce on GRC

Why companies need to gear their processes, culture and strategies around a generation that will make up the majority of their staff count in 5 years time.

Millennials, also commonly known as Generation Y, Digital Natives or Generation Me, were born between the early 1980s and the mid 1990’s (making them now around 24-39 years old). This was a time of rapid development in technology which meant that this generation spanned two entirely different eras; some just pre-internet and others in the absolute boom of the internet revolution. Intuitively, Millennials embrace technology as a way of life, which reshaped the way that they think, learn and interact.

So, why does this matter? This Millennial generation will make up approximately 75% of the workforce in 2025. Meaning that if they haven’t already, companies need to gear their processes, culture and strategies around a generation that will make up the majority of their staff count in 5 years time.

What is the Millennial impact on the likes of cyber security, risk and topics like GRC?

Growing up in the age of the internet where every online capability, every gadget and every process continued to improve tenfold with each passing year, led this generation to believe that everything can be reinvented with technology. The rise of technology and how they interact with it opened up the floodgates to new ideas, new flexible working styles, and instant forms of communication.

The idea of reinventing any problem with technology birthed amongst many other things, RegTech solutions – transforming the manual tasks of understanding, collecting, monitoring and analysing enterprise data, and bringing it up to speed with the rest of the digital world. The generation of digital-first thinkers are also no stranger to online risk, scam tactics and cyber security threats – making them great candidates for roles such as cyber security and risk professionals.  

Rising regulations, increasingly complex laws and pressure for organisations to be faster, more transparent and more proactive when dealing with these issues, also fits in well with the ‘automate-everything’ outlook of the Millennial generation, thus quenching their thirst for being part of digital transformation, whilst also positively impacting companies so that they are better equipped to mitigate risks and react to change.

A distinct difference in working styles

Many of us can identify the differences in ideologies, working styles and processes between the generations of those that we work with. For instance, Baby Boomers have a typically stronger work ethic where they are not afraid of putting in a hard day’s work, making sure that they are punctual and well understood on their points. In many respects, they are perceived as far more loyal workers and appreciate a more personal interaction – where communicating with a person, rather than through a digital medium, prevails. (Think, "do you want to talk to a bot, or hold for an operator?")  Boomers hold for an operator. 

Millennials on the other hand are not only quick on processing new information, but are far more open to the unknown. They are naturally tech-savvy and usually don’t need much of an official ‘go-ahead’ to actually go-ahead. Which can either work in their favour, or wreak havoc here and there. Their working style can also be viewed as a little slack at times, often too flexible and too casual for some to appreciate. 

While it is that both generations have their differences, it is important that organisations accommodate the different working styles whilst in the midst of transformation. As much as companies need to be positioning their technology and policies to appeal to the majority of their workforce (predominantly Millennials), it is exceptionally important that they don’t leave anyone behind in the process and instead, create an environment to learn from one another. 

Read more on ways that companies can bridge the digital divide amongst their workforce here.

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Bayley Benton

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