Workforce 2020: It is all about the Employee Experience


Being a well-established brand is no longer a strong enough value proposition. The inescapable shift we will see by 2020, which is already in progress, is the demand on companies to rethink organizational culture and redefine the workplace. The global workforce will soon be comprised largely of millennials, a generation that is reshaping the workplace with their tech-savvy disposition, their perspective on work life, and expectations from the workplace and employers.

Companies are already looking at ways to enhance employee experience across all touchpoints of an employee life cycle and the future of the workplace is going to be a lot more about Employee Experience – a key driver for attracting and retaining millennials which will make work culture as important as salary and benefits.

So what is the future workforce looking for?
A Savvy Recruitment Approach: It is becoming increasingly apparent for recruiters to leverage social media and other digital mediums where the targeted talent spends significant time. Alongside such platforms, the content of recruitment messaging has also been evolving – it is no longer just about the role offered – cultural aspects of the workplace along with the career opportunity offered are equally important deciding factors.

Recruiters are also required to be effective brand ambassadors, adept in sharing the learning opportunities and work environment to address the expectations of candidates – who are looking for companies that will not just employ them but also invest in their employability, and they want to know how.

The more engaging and informative the recruitment process is, the more likely it is that an organization will rise in the consideration set of the candidate – and thus, there is a growing need for knowledgeable and relatable recruiters who can influence this age group to be more receptive and establish the onset of a meaningful dialogue with them.

Career Growth and Consistent Job Satisfaction: Research indicates that the digitally fluent generation will stay with an organization that offers new opportunities. The concept of living one’s entire career in the same company has ceased. Millennials will gravitate towards opportunities that can help them scale and realize their ambitions and aspirations, more quickly than their predecessors.

According to the “2018 Better Money Habits Millennial Report”, 46 per cent of millennials asked for a raise in the past two years compared with 36 per cent of Generation X and 39 per cent of Baby Boomers. “Eighty per cent of millennials who asked for a raise in the past two years received one”.

The study also revealed that one in four millennials consider themselves part of the gig economy by taking on freelance or short-term work. “They like to be challenged by projects that could stimulate their creativity or could encourage them to use new ways to do things. It goes without saying that they have an entrepreneurial spirit,” the report said.

This brings the emphasis on offering a clear career path with ample of opportunities that enable their career goals. Companies that are aggressive in their pursuit of innovation and emerging technologies, and engage the millennials in building their capabilities, will also find a more engaged and happy workforce. This goes hand-in-hand with fair hikes and pay packages. The new generation of the workforce should not be taken for granted on this front.

Flexible Work Schedules: Studies show that millennials would prefer to spend the least amount of time in the office leading to the decline of the traditional 9-5 job and a significant rise of flexible hours and work from home, and such options that strongly drive better work-life balance.

Enforcing traditional work policies will be ill-advised when trying to retain and motivate the millennials – traditional policies are already being updated to include flexible work hours, telecommuting and other customized options to stay relevant and competitive in attracting the talent pool of the future.

Use of technology to improve the work-life experience: From recruitment and training to processes, the tech-savvy millennial expect a smart use of technology that enables them in their tasks and enhances their work life experience. Living in a digital environment that is forever challenging itself to enhance the user experience, organizations are investing in tools and technology that simplify day-to-day processes to improve employee experience.

The workforce of the future craves for a meaningful experience in progressive work culture. Millennials appreciate an open office culture and recognition for their personal accomplishments from managers and peers. Companies that promote an inclusive and transparent environment are very appealing to them. Competition for talent is fierce, and organizations need to offer engagement programs that create a genuine connection with the company, such as;

• Help them grow: Millennials are eager to learn new skills, and learning opportunities are seen as a top employer benefit. Training can be offered through formal L&D programs as well as peer to peer learning and mentoring.

• Regular and Constructive Feedback: Frequent feedback and regular check-ins show them that you are invested in them and encourages them to stay engaged in their work. Also, it would be advisable not to make them feel judged or stereotyped, especially when giving feedback. It is important for them to know that they are being assessed on their aptitude and performance and not judged by stereotyping their generation.

• Keep them involved and engaged: From organizational initiatives, innovation, capability building and driving the organization culture, it is important to keep these young bright and creative minds engaged and involved. Allow them the opportunities to provide feedback to the organization and pay heed to their inputs, invite them to contribute in enabling the organization goals, open channels of communication with leadership and challenge them in their roles. The more engaged and involved they feel, the more appreciative they are of their work environment.

• Corporate Social Responsibility: Programs where millennials feel involved and instrumental in giving back to the community or impacting a social change, help them become happier employees. Companies that involve their employees in giving back to the community will find themselves more likable by millennials. And the key to retaining them is to be likable!

It would deem appropriate to also point out some myths about the millennials, which could be helpful in understanding and prepare for the future workforce. A recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value compared the behavioural patterns of millennials with those of the Gen X generation (aged 35–49) and Baby Boomers (aged 50–60) – revealing that the three generations have similar aspirations and attitudes:

• Millennials, like older generations, also desire financial stability and security, inspirational leadership and performance-based recognition and promotions

• Like most professionals, millennials appreciate managers who are ethical and fair and also value transparency and dependability

• It is a myth that millennials are more likely to jump ship if a job doesn’t fulfil their passions – all three generations change jobs for similar reasons.

Thus, what is good for millennials will also be good for and welcomed by other generations.

The secret to attracting this young talent pool lies in exhibiting progressive thinking reflective of the current milieu, and in offering a personalized experience and truly investing in employee happiness. Organizations that do so, will find themselves in a position of strength amidst the new workforce of the future, with the ability to gain their loyalty and retain their commitment.

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