Millennials and Competitive Intelligence (Part 2 of 2)Posted: September 15, 2015
September 15, 2015
This is the second part of my blog on this topic. Click here for the first part.
As I noted earlier, there is increasing research to the effect that Millennials, and probably also Generation X, operate differently in the work environment than do members of other generations: Baby Boomers, the Greatest Generation, and other generations.
Some of the key characteristics of Millennials in the workplace that can bear on competitive intelligence are that
- they tend to work longer hours than other employees;
- they are less likely to suggest or to participate in face-to-face activities;
- they prefer their incoming communications to be written, which means they avoid phone calls and particularly make sure most calls are diverted to voicemail;
- when they do talk they prefer to keep their talks short, so there is no “small talk”;
- they are heavily involved with social media, both at their work site and in their private life, and usually include details of both in that media;
- they prefer to be multitasking, or more accurately multi-conversing, which means they are not necessarily paying complete attention to each of the email, IM, Twitter, and telephone/online conferences that they are simultaneously engaged in; and
- they are regarded generally as willing to “speak their minds”.
Here are what these characteristics mean when Millennials do their own CI collection or have to deal with CI provided by others:
- Working longer hours – That can mean that they will take the time to go through a long report or PowerPoint deck that others might not. Also, when facing a deadline to produce work based on their own CI, they should feel less pressured. Whether that feeling is accurate depends on each person’s own discipline.
- Avoiding face-to-face activities – This will impede them in collecting data via elicitation interviews at trade shows, industry conferences and the like. In fact, they may tend to avoid participating in them. It also means that they are likely to miss the additional CI analysis provided during a presentation they do not attend, but merely rely on reading the document(s).
- Avoiding phone calls and preferring emails – Emails tend to leave a trail, which may not be a good idea when eliciting data from others. If they are not there to pick up the phone call replying to an inquiry, they may lose the chance to get data from that person.
- Avoiding small talk – This can be a real impairment in doing elicitation interviews. It has no bearing on using CI received from others (so long as minimal politeness is still observed).
- Social media preference – In doing their own CI research, they are more likely to troll these resources than are those of other generations. That is good. The problem may be that they could minimize using other (secondary) sources to their detriment.
- Multitasking – Failing to pay complete attention, a major consequence of multitasking, whether when doing your own research or listening to someone else talk about theirs, means missing something – maybe a lot.
- Willing to speak their mind – In elicitation interviews, this is not a desirable trait – it can bring an abrupt end to a useful interview. However, when discussing CI that they have received, this may result in a more probing review, rather than a blind acceptance.
 In addition to the sources noted in Part 1, see also https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/wicworks/Documents/Millennial%20Generation/WIConnects%20Presentations/Communicating%20with%20the%20Millennial%20Generation.pdf ; http://www.hpu.edu/CBA/block-left-column/gibsonPublication.pdf; and http://rikleeninstitute.com/sites/default/files/images/rikleen.14millennials.pdf.