How tech and millennial thinking are changing the way we work

rob muller qvc ceo creative millenials work

QVC UK has been at the forefront of innovative retail business for nearly 20 years. Today as technology advances, it also continues to evolve with a multi-platform retail experience that aims to engage customers at every level. But how do the next generation of employees – and customers – help inform its growth? CEO of QVC UK, Rob Muller talks about the role that millennials are playing in changing the workplace of today and tomorrow, the creative synergy of their ambitions and the possibilities of technology.

Millennials have different expectations of the workplace, and these are having a powerful impact on how we think and operate within it. When this generation come into the workforce, they want to be challenged and to feel they are making a real and a tangible difference. Flexibility and variety are favoured and this is reflected in today’s social culture.

There are a lot of positives that come from this, you have to think carefully about what kind of culture and environment you want to create for this dynamic workforce – one that keeps them interested and exposed to different parts of the business.

A business with many generations offers a great learning opportunity. For instance, in things like reverse mentoring. I’ve experienced this myself in my career - and alternative perspectives and a different lens are invaluable.

When you have a reverse mentoring relationship you have a great opportunity to see what’s resonating. Does the team really buy into what you’re communicating, is it cascading down and do they feel inspired and accountable for delivering on what we believe the vision and the strategy for the business really is? You can then take that back and reshape your leadership approach and learn how to become more effective in your role.

Millennials don’t always favour long tenure at a business. A varied career path is often preferred.  So the question is how do you engage the millennial generation and meet all those needs so they’ll want to stay and ultimately become committed and loyal to your brand and business? I think that is a real challenge that wasn’t here 10 years ago.

At QVC we have a lot of different teams, from creative to technical, all within one company, whether that’s broadcasting, digital, marketing, merchandising or operations. There is a lot of variety and opportunity to follow a passion – and also to partner cross-functionally across the business.

Importantly, as we move further into the digital age, these paths include key technology roles - still an area where women can sometimes be under-represented. Companies need to promote how jobs in this field, for example, will change quite dramatically over time in line with the speed of technological advancements. 

The future is exciting and if the sector does a better job of promoting disciplines and opportunities to this generation, when thinking about career paths, this may become their passion and one that ultimately will also benefit the company in the future.