The world is facing a workplace revolution. Fuelled by the increased penetration of mobile devices into the market at all levels, both employees and job seekers are demanding an improvement in how they work. Individuals across the generations, but particularly from Generation Y, are demanding efficiency, mobility and advanced technologies. How does your organisation fare? Are you an employer of choice, or do you run the risk of losing scarce skills to your competition?
[Rita Whittington] They are young, tech savvy, highly outspoken and they deliberately challenge traditional structures and social norms. They’re expert multi-taskers who are able to send instant messages (IM’s) to their peers while simultaneously watching a movie or having a conversation and if you give them a new piece of technology – they’ll figure it out in mere minutes.
We’re talking about Generation Y, also known as the ‘Millennials’. They were born between the early 80’s and late 90’s and the eldest among them are either already active in the workplace, or are finishing university and are ready to start their careers.
Like it or not, this generation is your new talent pool. Finding skilled individuals within this talent pool in an already skills short market is a distinct challenge and so driving your competitive advantage is now critical for business success.
The Attraction and Retention of Talent – now a concern for IT
According to the global CEO survey conducted by PwC last year, 36% of the South African CEO’s interviewed, are extremely concerned about the availability of skills in the country.
IT’s contribution to developing an attractive company culture and workflow which serves to not only attract, but also retain scarce talent, has never been more integral than now.
We are heading swiftly toward a workplace revolution that is being fuelled by rapidly advancing mobile technologies, the new expectations of the younger generation, as well as the changing expectations of slightly older generations. IT can no longer simply concern itself with maintaining infrastructures.
The modern IT department needs to become far more strategic and take an increasingly collaborative, active role in streamlining individual and team workflows.
Instead of taking a tech-first approach, where individuals are required to adjust to technologies, IT now needs to take a people first approach, where technology is geared to addressing how people want and expect to work.
IT will only be able to achieve this by working hand-in-hand with the Human Resource department and Line Management. The modern IT department will be challenged to understand more about the psyche of the people that it serves and gear solutions around those people. Companies that fail to get the balance between technology and people right, will seriously undermine their long term success.
It therefore stands to reason that IT needs to be thinking ahead, working with HR and Line Management and guiding bosses so that the organisation is prepared to attract and retain Generation Y – the limited talent pool of the future.
Bringing the workplace into the future
If the IT department, in collaboration with Human Resources and Line Management is able to further investigate and address the following four key challenges of the modern workplace, your organisation will be far better positioned to not only attract, but also importantly, retain the brightest employees.
1. Workplace Collaboration
Millenials, (or Generation Y) value teamwork. They seek input and affirmation from their peers and colleagues as they are part of a no-person-left-behind generation. Collaboration on projects in the workplace is something that they see as being critical to achieving a successful outcome and they generally speaking, would rather see a team succeed than an individual. Studies have shown that these individuals thrive in highly collaborative workplaces and that they will make this a key requirement in selecting which company to work for. A company that chooses to enable its workforce to collaborate better by capitalising on available technologies, will in the very near future have a distinct advantage over those companies who choose not to do so.
What this means for IT: In order for any efforts at workplace collaboration to be successful, it is imperative for the IT department to modernise systems and technologies and then keep these abreast with current trends. Because so many individuals use a range of mobile devices, it is expected that all if these can be used to perform tasks and more efficiently. Strategies for workplace collaboration therefore need to be founded on secure, efficient, extensive, up-to-date mobile integration. Tools that enhance real-time collaboration should be included such as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM software which has been designed to unify people and processes via a variety of technologies (click here to read our earlier post and discover how toachieve CRM success).
2. Flexible Work Styles
The modern employee across all generations, typically views work as a ‘thing’ rather than a ‘place’. Employees now consider performance to be how they should be measured rather than the number of hours put in at the office. In addition, employees are seeking a more flexible working arrangement in which they can put in the required amount of work to achieve a specific outcome, at a time that is more suited to their personal work style. In fact a recent study by PwC which uncovers what Millenials really want out of an employer, confirms that 15% of male employees and 21% of female employees would give up some of their pay and slow the pace of promotion, in exchange for fewer hours at the office. A far greater degree of flexibility in work location is therefore highly attractive to the modern workforce.
What this means for IT: A secure, easily accessible network that supports a more mobile, flexible working arrangement is something that IT departments will need to investigate and consider implementing in the future in order to not only attract, but also retain talented employees.
3. Modern Technology
According to the PwC NextGen report of 2013 that we referenced earlier, Millenials expect to have access to the best tools for collaboration and task execution. Very often the devices that individuals own are more advanced than those that their employers can offer while in addition, many individuals simply prefer to use a device with which they are already comfortable. This has given rise to the widely discussed BYOD (or Bring Your Own Device) shift which has taken place across the world.
What this means for IT: The IT department needs to remain on its toes and lead the corporate conversation around how better, more efficient technologies can improve the bottom line and competitive advantage. Modern employees will penalise companies who hamper their ability to work flexibly and efficiently and so IT needs to consistently remain ahead of the curve in order to ensure that the organisation remains technologically competitive. Collaborative tools need to remain device agnostic and should support a diversity of devices and technologies to avoid creating siloes of users.
4. Opportunities for Employee Mobility
Though the exodus of the younger generation from South Africa to countries such as the UK and Australia has slowed to some extent, younger generations have a more global mind-set than their older colleagues. One competitive advantage among organisations has emerged in more recent years and this includes the willingness for organisations to offer opportunities for mobility that enable the employee to work, where feasible and suitable, at other branches of the organisation. These include nationwide as well as international branches of the organisation.
What this means for IT: The IT department will either through internal capabilities or the services of an outsourced provider, need to provide robust inter-branch networking and modern technologies which facilitate secure, and fully mobile work interactions between team members.
Where MMC Fits In
Our Business Development Team combines cutting edge technological knowledge and a modern, in-depth understanding of world-class business operations to qualify their proposed solutions to the current business challenges that our clients face.
An external perspective is often incredibly valuable to help steer your organisation in the right direction. We are able to provide consulting services to you, your team and your organisation. In addition, we understand that not every business has a fully-fledged IT department in place, so together with the strategic input from our Business Development Team and the technical ability of our IT professionals, we are able to provide you with precisely the support you need at all levels within IT.
We will work hand-in-hand with you to create the perfect IT solution that suits both your individual requirements as an organisation, as well as your budget.
The Last Word
The advantages of ensuring your organisation is attractive to the modern talent pool includes a multitude of benefits. These include your ability to position yourself as an employer of choice to both the younger, up and coming generation of employees, as well as the forward thinking, highly skilled older generation of employees. An organisation which embraces a technologically advanced infrastructure geared to collaboration and mobility is also able to achieve far greater levels of productivity. All in all – a new strategic approach to your business will result in your company standing out as an industry leader. Now what business does not wish to achieve that?
Established in 1991, MMC provides organisations within the small to medium business sector with a variety of flexible, outsourced IT services. With solid implementation experience across a wide range of leading IT products, we provide robust, reliable solutions that are tailored specifically to the individual needs of our clients.