How to Create a Great Enterprise App and Engage Your Millennial Workforce


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Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, currently comprising 35 percent, per Pew Research Center analysis — and growing to 75 percent by 2025. Since millennials are already the most prominent generation in the workforce, it’s critical to understand what engages and interests them to attract and retain the best talent. This is especially true when developing workplace technology like collaboration tools: if your millennial employees don’t think your mobile app is up to par, they won’t use it. Not only does this hurt productivity, it also opens the door to the use of non-company, unsecured tools.

Supporting this claim is the fact that WhatsApp, the hugely popular Facebook-owned messaging app, is the most widely-used app in the workplace, per recent research. While this may seem innocuous enough, the uncontrolled use of consumer apps for work-related activities in part fuels the growth of “shadow IT” and further blurs the lines between consumer and enterprise-grade tools, often exposing the company to security vulnerabilities. But instead of banning external apps, companies should be questioning why employees prefer them and apply the learnings to their own enterprise tools.

Despite their reputation for being high-maintenance, research from Bentley University found that millennials are “fast-track workers who know how to leverage technology to get the job done.” Combine this with the fact that today’s millennial workforce expects nothing short of Uber-like experiences even from the apps they have to use at work, and it would be unreasonable to expect them to embrace a less-than-great mobile app user experience in the enterprise apps you provide. Quality workforce technology tools, including mobile apps, are critical to the employee experience, not to mention recruiting.

That said, why do 84 percent of digital leaders confess to being behind the 8-ball when it comes to successfully developing and deploying mobile apps to support their business goals? We surveyed 200 digital leaders to find out what is impeding their mobile growth at work. We found that 46 percent of digital leaders have abandoned mobile app projects one to five times in the last 48 months. That’s a whole lot of potentially great mobile innovations on the shelf, not to mention important drivers for talent acquisition and retention.

Developing and executing mobile apps in the enterprise used to represent an overwhelming undertaking. Although advancements in technology have made this once arduous and expensive process far simpler and more streamlined, the majority of digital leaders believe that more money and more people are needed to churn out new apps. This is not accurate – what is actually needed to move the needle is a fundamental change in perspective. It is possible for digital leaders to turn ideas into reality and make what might seem impossible, possible – without tradeoffs. More money and staff will not fix your mobile challenges. They may help, but what will help more is a shift in your thought process – one that moves you away from the temptation to do things the same way, using the same tools, while expecting different results. What is needed for digital transformation to succeed is bold innovation and that starts with a shift in narrative.

To make change happen and ensure a strong and diverse workforce complete with millennials, digital leaders should consider app development using a low-code platform that will let you focus less on technical implementation and more on accomplishing your business objectives. Low-code eliminates much of the tedious, repetitive work common in development roles. Much like content management systems like WordPress and Drupal replaced the traditional methods of website design and development, low-code mobile development platforms are becoming more widely adopted, and the market is growing rapidly. A recent report by MarketsandMarkets found the market size of low-code development platforms is expected to grow from $4.32B in 2017 to $27.23B by 2022. The reason is simple: low-code platforms enable organizations to achieve new levels of creative mastery by empowering developers to think beyond mobile to what will lead to real business impact.

Whether we like it or not, job-hopping (or spending less than two years at a job) is commonplace among millennials. According to a Gallup report on the millennial generation, 21 percent of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, more than three times the number of non-millennials who report the same. Low engagement in the workplace is a contributing factor: just 29 percent of millennials are engaged at work, meaning only about three in 10 are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company. Sixteen percent of millennials are actively disengaged and the majority of millennials (55 percent) are not at all engaged, leading to high turnover and a constantly revolving door.

Companies that do not deliver on millennials’ expectations will fall into this trap and find success elusive. While previous generations valued monetary rewards like retirement plans, and bonuses like stocks and bonds, millennials value technology and peer collaboration. All research points to rich and rewarding employee experiences as the best and most holistic way to retain and engage millennials, and successful digital transformation paves a clear path to delivery. But it must include bold, next-level mobile innovation to satisfy the needs of the millennial generation. Providing a high-quality, great mobile app experience is key to a winning strategy.

Ben Saren
Ben is CEO of Dropsource and a 20+ year high-tech veteran and entrepreneur from Boston, with entrepreneurial and senior executive experience from startups to large multinationals and several successful exits under his belt. Ben joined Dropsource in April 2016.


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