Preparing for the Millennials

Millennials are taking over the world, which poses a challenge for this late Baby Boomer – someone who prefers books to e-readers, CDs to downloads, watching TV to video on laptops and tablets, and privacy to sharing on social media.

That’s in my personal life of course. Professionally, I happily carry my cross on behalf of clients and embrace all the mod cons I need to communicate effectively. And I make very sure we have talented Millennials on our team who can plug any gaps.

Here in Thailand, Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are no different to their peers elsewhere, and are driving the country’s social evolution.

They’ve grown up in a world that has been transformed and disrupted by wave after wave of digital innovation. These changes have created a more dynamic, connected world where people can seemingly form unlimited friendships and peer groups online. Millennials thrive on this dynamism and tend to adopt new technologies much faster than previous generations.

Millennials are also the largest-ever generation globally. In Thailand they are already the largest consumer group and will start to dominate the workforce within the next five years. They’ll put more pressure on companies – both as customers and employees –  by demanding more personalised experiences while expecting the same ease and immediacy of connecting and communicating with people that they have in their daily lives.

Not only are Millennials more demanding than previous generations, they are also less loyal. Their influence is likely to be felt faster and more acutely in Thailand than in other countries, partly because it is one of the fastest-ageing countries in the world – Thailand’s population is actually set to decline significantly this century. There will be a stark contrast between Millennial values and traditional Thai norms.

Clearly businesses must stay nimble and young, while still retaining the smarts that only experience brings. Match your old geezers with young guns and you’ll be fine. Take comfort in the immortal words of Huey Lewis and the News, one of my least-favourite bands: “It’s hip to be square!”