As the best soccer teams in the world prepare to face off this summer, their coaches and managers will be looking to utilize every competitive advantage available. Team managers begin building competitive strategies long in advance.  They evaluate players for speed and skill and work to attract the best talent in the country, offering an experience not available in other organizations. Their main objective to is to build a team that will work together to attain the ultimate prize.

Like soccer teams, companies need to attract the best talent in the industry in order to stay competitive in a rapidly shifting marketplace. And let’s face it, the best players like to win. As a result, technology that makes it easier for teams to work together is becoming more important in corporations as a recruiting tool for attracting talent. In this second installment in a blog series on the shifting landscape of collaboration technology, we take a closer look at how a new generation of workers is fundamentally redefining the workplace.

Collaboration is a source of competitive advantage in many ways, such as speed of execution, improved communication among team members and streamlined business processes. Collaboration tools also have implications for the quality of workforce you can attract. Workers are also consumers and they are familiar with a raft of easy-to-use technologies in their lives. They expect the same sophistication in their work lives. The BYOD (bring your own device) movement was born of this natural desire. As Millennials become a larger portion of the workforce, collaboration becomes an even greater differentiator for those looking to attract talent.

According to Pew Research, Millennials, defined as those born between 1981 and 1996, now comprise more than a third of the American labor force. At more than 56 million workers, this new generation of employees has already surpassed Generation Xers and baby boomers as the largest chunk of the workforce.

As a result, Millennials are changing the way companies work and attract new talent. While salary is still important, they also put high value on the work environment, including the kind of technology they can use for their jobs. Collaboration tools play into a cultural dynamic with this cohort. Teamwork is a natural part of schooling for the millennial generation and they carry that collaborative ethic into the workforce.

Millennials are tech-savvy and mobile. They grew up with phones in their pockets, constantly on the go and instantly connected from anywhere. This is a generation used to sharing their lives and communicating via social media. They are more open to embracing automation and new technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Multi-tasking and working digitally are second nature. They expect all their tools to be mobile and just as rich on the small screen as they are on larger form factors. As a result, restrictive legacy systems and knowledge silos become barriers to achieving their goals. If the internal technology doesn’t pass muster, they’re not afraid to bring in their own solutions, even if they haven’t been sanctioned by corporate IT.

This presents new challenges to IT to offer flexibility while safeguarding corporate data. The answer is a unified collaboration system that flattens out the organization, allows employees to work together to seamlessly communicate and share information while still giving IT control over security and access protocols. The cloud becomes an important part of the platform solution so that these tools are available anywhere, on any device, at any time.

At CenturyLink, we understand the challenges of transforming your technology to meet the needs of an evolving workforce. Our Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions allow companies to take advantage of the latest cloud-based services while still maintaining their investments in their legacy systems. CenturyLink’s partnerships with leading cloud and collaboration platform vendors, such as Amazon, Cisco and Microsoft, means that we can leverage your existing technology and safeguard your investment while still offering a path to future growth.

As you continue to build your team’s competitive advantage, let’s talk about how we can help you take those next steps toward a more collaborative future. Does your organization have what it takes to attract the best and brightest workers?

Let’s combine our talent with yours to build a world-class winning team.

Learn how to effectively build your migration path for the next generation of video and anytime collaboration in our May 23rd webinar with Cisco, No Jitter and ZK Research. Register now.

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