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Beyond Gen X

Cincinnati, OH | Posted: 04/10/2016 | Author: April Koenig

Beyond Gen X

As the job market continues to change, the workforce changes with it. New eras of technology in the business world brings a rise of different, and more importantly younger, workers to play a part. These are the millennial workers of Generation Y. And they are demanding.

According to a Beyond.com survey, 45% of companies experience higher turnover with millennials (2 to 1) than other, older generations in their workforce. With millennials making up almost 40% of the workforce, this is a big deal. Not addressing the reasons why will lead businesses down the road to chaos, with expense due to employee turnover rates becoming an unsustainable cost. To find the solution we must first recognize the problem. So, why do they leave?

It’s easy to blame the demanding nature of Generation Y on the change to a more self-serving culture, and certainly that aspect comes into play. But millennials are also smart enough to see the state of the economy today. They know the trend toward a freelance economy means some businesses are less likely to invest in them, so why invest back? Gone are the days of a company and employee forming relationships that last a lifetime. Today’s relationships are transactional at best when it comes to the workplace, and millennials know it.

Another reason for the Gen Y employment exodus is that they feel a much bigger sense of meaningful corporate culture. If they feel that their employers aren’t aligned with a sense of social responsibility, they will leave to find someone who is. As Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, puts it – “Millennials want meaningful work, they want to do things that are making an impact and if they’re not in a good environment where they can do that, they’re always going to be looking for something else and they’ll jump around until finding something that’s a better match,”.

Companies are starting to take notice and work to retain these talented but fickle employees. Retention strategies include more workplace flexibility, internal hiring incentives, and mentoring programs. Companies are also making a play to be better stewards in the community, so that their vision align more closely with millennials. Steven Shapiro, founder and president of Communication Strategy Group sees this as a positive step. “The challenge becomes how to engage your millennials’ strengths and passion, while also being realistic about the fact that like all of us starting out, they need coaching, mentoring and experience that advances their knowledge and skills,” he says. “The great news is it’s a generation that is very responsive to that feedback and coaching.”

Regardless of method, businesses need to at least address the demands of Generation Y. Regular loss and replacement of the corporate world’s fastest growing group of employees is a huge financial burden, and increases stress and workload on the rest of the company. Figuring out millennials might not be easy, but it’s the only way forward.

HR Trends For Acquiring Talent

Trends in hiring are fluid, and sometimes hard to gauge until they’re right in front of us. Staying ahead of the curve is never easy, and once-innovative practices can quickly become obsolete. The old adage of “you’re either growing or you’re dying” applies directly to talent acquisition, which means HR leaders have to be on their game. With that in mind, let’s take a look at trends making their way to the forefront.

Individualize – Getting the best talent in today’s world usually means aiming at a younger audience. These candidates are much more geared to a work experience that is an extension of their social and personal life, instead of a separate experience. One size fits all strategies for acquisition and engagement are no longer the strongest. Instead, a variety of practices that better individualize the candidate’s journey through career aspirations and experiences are essential for getting the younger employees more attuned to tomorrow’s business world. 

Self-Branded – Today’s world of social media dependency has increased the idea of one’s self as a personal brand has increased exponentially. Savvy talent acquisition strategy will be to allow for this in their search. Workers today will want to grow their own brand while growing your company’s brand as well. They see the state of the business world today, and will want to work outside the conventional office confinements to take on freelance and side work. While this may seem conflicting, it can also prove beneficial in bringing a diversity of techniques into the discussion that might otherwise not enter in the equation. Remaining open to these options brings an environment where the best talent and marketability can thrive.

Outside-In – Speaking of freelance, sometimes the best talent for a specific need can come from outside. Extending your workforce temporarily is becoming the norm for a lot of business arenas. Bringing in people who can hit the ground running with minimal training was once done tactically and as a last minute response to an unexpected need. Now it’s seen as a built-in strategy, giving businesses the luxury of a variety of short-term skillsets to plan projects around. HR leaders are becoming much more familiar with placement agencies in tackling business needs.

Enhanced Analytics – Decisions on human capital are being based more and more on detailed analytics. As requirements for business become more complex, so too should solutions. Utilizing and integrating third party candidate data from social media is one example of this. Unfortunately the talent acquisition field lags in this area. According to a recent report by Deloitte, HR departments don’t develop analytics capabilities that fully meet the needs of their own companies. This can prove to be costly for the departments themselves, as companies consider bringing in non-HR professionals to fill roles. 

Big Data Decline

Big Data has been a buzzword in common usage for years, with most businesses at least paying lip service to its importance. And it’s true, data is growing faster than ever before. But after years of trying to sift through an unwieldy amount of information, some are abandoning a Big Data strategy in favor of more targeted analytics. 

The death of Big Data comes as companies grow less enamored with the naked volume of data, and more with pertinent gems contained within. The ‘Big’ in Big Data is getting less and less important. Sharmila Mulligan, CEO and cofounder ClearStory Data Inc. says “Companies will move away from irrelevant data noise, acknowledge that the variety and speed of data can be daunting, and will take a more thoughtful approach to analyzing “useful” data to reach fast, meaningful, holistic insights. Rather than investing time and money in IT infrastructure to manage high volumes of data, the trick will be managing the data diversity and speed at which data streams to glean valuable insights and to do something worthwhile with it”.

Big Data also becomes smaller through the rise of data analysis. Analytic tools and methods are pervasive within nearly every aspect and organization, and are much more easily accessible by all. This means the once-daunting task of Big Data analysis can be taken on by those less apt technically than before. As Big Data is more easily accessed by all due to advanced analytics capabilities, it becomes further democratized and less monolithic.

Finally, as Big Data becomes less of a trendy buzzword, it loses steam as a “must-target” objective. As with most shockwave trends, the dust settles and companies get back to sound fundamentals. As John Schroeder, CEO and founder of MapR Technologies, puts it –“The market will focus much less on the latest and greatest “shiny object” software downloads and more on proven technologies that provide fundamental business value. New community innovations will continue to garner attention… companies will increasingly recognize the attraction of software that results in business impact, rather than focusing on raw Big Data technologies”.

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