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Millennials and Business Continuity: Risks and Opportunities

Originally published on Agility Recovery’s blog.

Back in 2015, Pew Research found that millennials had surpassed Gen Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. By next year, millennials are expected to meet a new milestone: the nation’s largest living generation in terms of population.

With that being the case, it’s time to think about how the rise of millennials in the workforce affects your business continuity strategy. Below we’ll explore the risks and opportunities this generation presents.


Susceptibility to Fraud

Anyone with aging loved ones has likely worried about them falling victim to scams. They didn’t grow up with technology, so they’re more likely than young people to get taken advantage of, right? According to a report from the FTC, this belief isn’t as accurate as you might think. In fact, adults ages 20-29 were twice as likely to lose money to fraud than adults over the age of 70.

With the threat of sophisticated phishing and social engineering scams, you need to ensure you frequently train your employees on cybersecurity best practices. To keep millennials engaged in training, incorporate stories and include graphics among large amounts of text. Some companies are even gamifying their cybersecurity training.

High Turnover

A Gallup report reinforced the common stereotype of millennials being known as the “job-hopping generation.” The report found that 60 percent of millennials are open to new jobs, and only half strongly agree that they’ll be with their current company a year down the road. This high turnover comes at a high price to the U.S. economy: $30.5 billion each year.

High turnover is also a problem because it disrupts processes internally, as knowledge has to be relearned and processes have to be re-established. To reduce the impact of turnover, make sure critical processes are documented and stored in a central location that’s easily accessible to employees.

Pro tip: If the turnover is happening with business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) roles, having a business continuity vendor who is familiar with your BCDR plan helps reduce the impact of knowledge loss.


Desire for Corporate Social Responsibility

Most millennials (just over 92 percent) want to work for a company that is environmentally and socially responsible. As severe weather events and other business continuity threats expand their reach, businesses will need to consider how they can contribute to the community’s resilience. Help your employees see that your business continuity strategy is not just a way to protect your business but a way to preserve the community where employees and customers live and work. Once millennials understand how your business continuity plan impacts the community, they’re more likely to be more enthusiastic about engaging in business continuity tests and suggesting new ideas.

Fresh Perspectives

The Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ) views the rise of millennials in the BCDR profession as a resource, not just a challenge. The organization is specifically asking for the opinions of young business continuity professionals to help the DRJ team better understand the latest communication technology (e.g., Slack) and issues facing young professionals. They can then use this knowledge to foster positive growth and change within the industry. Consider a similar approach within your own business.

Although millennials change jobs frequently, they can bring with them new perspectives gleaned from the different industries, positions and departments they’ve worked in. They might even have some insight you can use to update a stale business continuity strategy. Plus, despite being more likely to fall for fraud, millennials tend to be up to date on the latest technology. Leveraging this knowledge can help you streamline your response during a disaster.

Whether you’re prepared for it or not, millennials are already affecting business continuity. After all, they are your business (or at least a large percentage of it). How will you respond?

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