Attracting the next generation of employees

  • Posted on July 7, 2015

new generation of employees

If you want to attract and retain the young, tech-savvy workers of tomorrow, you’re going to have to provide them with more than a mobile phone and an email account. Organizations need to make their workplaces digitally robust and then empower both new and existing employees to take full advantage of them. Instead of deploying new tools, we should consider inter-connecting our existing tools better and drive our employees to make sustained use of them. Here are three tactics for best practice:

1. Provide a familiar workplace experience for next generation employees and empower existing workers. While those workers straight out of university have already routinely been using social media and collaboration tools, there is an established workforce that might not have been using them at all. Therefore, assuming that Skype-ing and hashtagging social commentary, for example, is easy for everyone in your organization is wrong. You need to enable change and bring everyone in your workforce with you, taking existing employees on the same journey as the younger generation and changing the organization’s culture sustainably.

2. Make the workplace fully mobile and drive productivity. Modern tools and functionality can’t just apply to the traditional desktop; people need to have tools and processes in place that they can use any time, any place. In order to make better decisions many employees (our so-called information workers) need data at hand, with access to expert advice and collaboration tools, for when they’re on the go or in the field. A core element of a digital workplace is giving employees this mobile freedom. Employees shouldn’t be dependent on one device nor have to travel into the office to have access to business-critical systems.

3. Personalize each and every workplace experience. Workplace information these days needs to be tailored and relevant, putting the individual at the core. It should take into account what’s important to me as a particular person on any given day; role, location and tasks. If I’m a sales person working on a proposal, I want easy access to information that will help me. Instead of me having to re-invent the wheel, a digital workplace will proactively serve up the right information at the right time, automatically connecting me to colleagues and experts who have worked on similar pitches and sharing with me similar proposals or useful data, such as average win rates on similar deals.

For example, we recently worked with a bank that operates in over 50 countries. Employees there were having problems finding the correct administrative forms, such as vacation applications or expense claims, especially as each country has different legal requirements. These outdated tools had very low usability and were impossible to use on a mobile device.

Avanade came in and built a consolidated Human Capital Solution that not only HR people have access to, but all 55,000 employees. This means that they have everything they need in one place, including data from HR backend systems, with one single user interface across devices. This is a simple process to ensure they find what they need, request and approve much faster than before.

We worked primarily with the HR department, instead of just IT, because the HR lead and her project manager wanted to be really involved in how we were improving employees’ work life. This gave us a clear focus to drive value, helping retain the best talent, including the next generation of employees entering the workplace even before they enter the company.

Enabled by technology, an entirely new work environment is on the horizon. According to Wakefield research, 91 percent of C-level executives and IT decision-makers believe that today’s teenagers will be working in roles that do not exist today. 72% agree that the traditional office as we know it will become obsolete within four years.

Companies need to be prepared for the arrival of next generation employees. That digital experience should begin from when they first apply to work for you and should run through every subsequent experience they have with(in) the company on their entire employee lifecycle. Organizations should feel ‘digital first’ from end to end.

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