2016: The Transformational Employee Talent Profile

I would categorize the 2010’s as the decade of transformation. In 2015 we continued to see organizations execute strategies to “transform” their business to increase revenue and lower operating costs.

Uber was also in the spotlight in 2015. It’s a great example of a business that used technology to evolve the traditional taxi service model. Despite protests, public opinion and demand have resulted increased market share for Uber, eroding the existing taxi monopoly. The lesson is companies can’t afford to be complacent or behind the times with technology.

uberx

For many organizations the transformation journey has been challenging. Strategically, culturally and operationally, the end state requires employees to abandon the “old ways” and become more agile, adaptive, innovative and insightful. The diagram below shows a few examples of what the transformation has looked like for many organizations.

transformation

As employers re-tool their workforce, they’ve also realized they need to attract and retain talent that can sustain the new workplace. As change becomes more rapid it will be too expensive for employers to continue to downsize and attract new talent as strategies change.

This means HR will need to re-think about how they define success profiles, or what I call the Talent Profile of the Transformation Employee. After transformation, the workforce promotes change; talent is fluid and able to move into different roles as the business grows and changes. Instead of traditional recruitment practices that focus on screening for specialized job knowledge, the focus shift to screening on for behaviours, attitudes and the willingness to embrace and promote change. Employees would learn the specialized knowledge they needed to enable them to move into other roles. Research shows it’s easier to learning something new than it is to change behaviours[1].

Employers are also under pressure to deliver a work environment that will attract and retain the transformational employee they seek. The greater the match between the successful talent profile and the employer’s value proposition the greater probability the employee will stay.

transformation_profile

2016 will be a pivotal year for talent in the workforce. More than 3.6 million baby boomers will retire this year[2]. It will also be the first year Gen Z graduates will enter the workforce[3]. More digitally advanced in technology and open to trying new things than Millennials, they will seek jobs that match their technology and work-life style needs. In 2016, Millennials will comprise the same percentage of the workplace demographic as Gen x’ers. As we approach the end of the decade, Millennials will comprise 50% of the workforce; with Gen Z comprising 20%[4].

millennials

Millennials in the workforce- Source: [Footnote 5]

Companies such as Uber, Airbnb and Task Rabbit will continue to compete attract candidates with offers of C2C entrepreneurial and flexible work arrangements.

genz

Gen Z – Source: [Footnote 6]

As we begin 2016, I wish each of you a wonderful happy, healthy and prosperous new year. May your transformation experiences be successful!

I’d love to hear about some of your transformation stories. Please share them with me on LinkedIn or twitter@AnnzalieBarrett on Twitter.

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[1] http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/28781/learning-change-behavior
[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2015/11/01/10-workplace-trends-for-2016/
[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2015/11/01/10-workplace-trends-for-2016/
[4] http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8280-generation-z-workplace.html
[5] https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/managing-tomorrows-people/future-of-work/assets/reshaping-the-workplace.pdf
[6] https://www.visioncritical.com/generation-z-infographics

The Evolution of Human Capital Metrics

Last week I was privileged enough to moderate a roundtable of HR professionals at the first Indeed.com international conference. Our topic of conversation centered on big data, HR Metrics and ROI. The participants represented a variety of industries including insurance, banking, retail, IT and professional services.

indeed full logoThe group talked about how talent strategy and recruitment has been shifting over the last couple of years due to technology innovation, mobile, social media and Millenials entering the workforce. With so much activity happening electronically the amount of data available to be captured, deciphered and analyzed can be astounding, not to mention overwhelming. Some of the participants said they had a hard time figuring out where to start. As the roundtable continued we also talked about the shift from relying on RMS data to using data warehouses and/or HRMS’ which integrate data from a variety of different sources. The focus on using big data to help articulate ROI in the form of human capital metrics was still an area all our companies continue to work through. As I reflect on our conversations I realized that human capital metrics also needs to evolve to include new skills such as engagement and collaboration to reflect the modern workforce.

Let’s start with collaboration. Not a new skill, but usually used to assess project management and ITbanner-about related roles. Newer generations such as Millennials rely on collaboration and crowd sourcing techniques to complete work and build relationships. As reliance on virtual interaction and engagement play a greater role in attraction and retention, collaboration is fast becoming an essential skill for all jobs across organizations, especially leadership and management roles. Let’s look at two human capital metrics that can evolve to give credit to this skill.

  • Quality of hire– measures the calibre of external new talent determined by early performance indicators with the organization.  Collaboration is gaining more industry acceptance as criteria for performance. In a recent blog post the CEB updated their definition of quality of hire to incorporate collaboration. The new definition now reads; a new hire’s current and likely future effectiveness at completing his or her individual tasks, and contributing to others’ performance and using others’ contributions to improve his or her own performance[1]. The updated definition pays homage to collaboration as an important contributor to both measuring-employee-performaindividual and organizational performance.
  • Ready Now Candidates– Measures the number of potential successors that can be developed for managerial and leadership positions[2].  With an almost even distribution of Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials in the workforce, engagement and collaboration are two important skills that people managers need to bring to the table in the modern workplace. Organizations should build in measures to gage how effective Managers are at collaborating below, across and above their positions. This can be done as part of an employee, manager and peer review. Managers with higher rating on collaboration can not only manoeuver within the organization, but may have a higher effectiveness in leading and managing teams.

 Engagement is a current measure in the human capital vernacular. Most organizations typically send out their engagement survey once a year to gauge how connected employees are. The outcome should be to develop an action plan to address areas where engagement is low. Through blogs, social networking channels and crowd sourcing websites (e.g. Indeed, LinkedIn groups, Glassdoor, etc.) digital dialogue, or what I call engagement; is also becoming a more relevant indicator of employee retention, performance and the employee value proposition.  

 Consider that from a talent sourcing perspective, more candidates want to have a relationship with a potential employer before they make a decision on whether that employer is a good fit for them. I equate it to dating; you have to go on a few dates before you know if you’re ready to make a commitment. Let’s take a look at how two human capital metrics can evolve to include social engagement.

  • Employee Engagement Index– Measures employees’ engagement in their work. Turnover may occur if employees feel disconnected between the organization’s employment offer and their own needs. Employees on-going interactions and communications will continue to shape their opinion of the organization influencing retention and commitment[3].  Organizations are challenged to find new and different ways to continuously engage with their employees to learn about, assess and identify areas for improvement. Social platform and collaboration tools for feedback and ideas with interaction can have a positive influence on the employee’s perception of the organization, impacting both commitment and retention. Organizations that only rely on annual surveys and/or do not engage in dialogue with employees risk employees, engagement_surveyusing other public avenues to share information and voice opinions about the company.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score– Measures the difference between the number of employees who are “promoters” (recommend organization as an employer) and number of employees who are “detractors” (would not recommend the organization as an employer)[4].   Through crowdsourcing and social networking there is a broader forum for both detractors and promoters to make their opinions viral. Through outlets like Glassdoor and ratemyemployer.com, anonymous reviews can provide rich insight into an organizations work culture to potential job seekers. Organizations should be using technology to regularly engage employees earlier in the employee life cycle to pulse check their perceptions.

Talent sourcing has typically been the topic of attention on how social media and technology are workforce planninginfluencing recruitment approaches. It has higher visibility because it’s a front line operational function that can measure results. Talent management also needs to embrace changes and recognize that newer generations bring different skills to the table. Using static measures that don’t incorporate or recognize these new skills can impact performance management, succession planning and retention. Employees will continue to assess their employment offer promise and evaluate how closely it aligns with reality.

By taking collaboration and engagement into consideration, how would it impact the way you view your talent pools?

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy


[1] CEB Corporate Leadership Council, “The Metrics Standard” (2013):

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] ibid

Gen X: What are you doing to retain them?

There are lots of articles, blog posts and studies centred on the millennial generation. Born between 1980-2000; Millennials comprise about 29% of the current workforce, just shy of Gen X at 33% (1965-1979) and Baby Boomers representing 38% (1946- 1964)1 . This has resulted in a more even distribution of multiple generations in the workforce. 

behold-a-millennial-in-its-elementEven though Millennials have been labelled as needy and narcissistic their entry into the workforce has had a significant impact in helping change the way organizations communicate and approach work. First, their reliance on technology, in particular mobile, has pushed the envelope to adopt more mobile friendly solutions at work. Things like approving transactions (e.g. registering for an on-line course) on mobile devices, IM’ing (texting) and adding apps on phones are all current technology interactions Millennials are accustomed to.

Second, the daily use of social networking channels to facilitate engagement and collaboration. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, etc., are all various social platforms Millennials use to interact, convey information and build networks. Their ease of use and navigation on these channels has challenged their older counter parts to get with the times and use these as relevant ways to communicate and interact. Millennials assume employers use these tools as forums to engage with employees and customers, solicit feedback, build networks and work across functional teams.

Third, the erosion of traditional hierarchies. Unlike Baby Boomers who work within a disciplined hierarchical structure, Gen_xMillennials approach collaboration in a broad, encompassing manner.  They have no problem booking a meeting with a VP (bypassing the chain of command) to help them better understand issues or network. This approach is challenging traditional authoritative hierarchical structures in the workplace. For Gen Xers who have been molded to abide by current hierarchical protocol, they may feel liberated by this new approach and at the same time overshadowed by the Millennials ability to effect change so quickly. 

As much as Millennials have helped push the broad adoption of social media in the workplace, in my opinion I think Gen Xers were really the first generation to embrace technology and gamification on a mass scale. The consumption of technologies for personal use such as PC’s (personal computer), Sony Walkman’s, cell phones, Nintendo game consoles, CD players, etc. were all widely adopted and embraced by Gen X.  The development and availability of different forms of content such as videos’ and the internet laid the foundation for eCommerce and digital marketing. 

In the current landscape Gen Xers are now sandwiched between soon to be retiring Baby Boomers and the masses of Millennials continuing to enSandwich-Generationter the workforce.2  Gen Xers have been in the workplace for almost 20 years, accumulating a variety of experiences and building their skill set. For them retention is centered on flexibility, career and skill development and of course career progression.  They are focused on carving out a career and will work through a variety of different jobs to build skills to keep their career moving forward. The acquisition of new skills and experiences can be viewed as a form of “career security” where skills and experiences are portable from one job to another3. Gen Xers are described as a highly motivated and tenacious generation. Their general attitude is if we don’t like it, we’re out of here.

It is estimated by the year 2020 approximately 33 million jobs will open up in the US as Baby Boomers start to retire4 . In Canada that number is career-progressionapproximately 9.8 million5.  Organizations need to develop a holistic human capital plan to mitigate the risk of losing Gen Xers who may not feel like they have opportunities to progress or move in their careers.  Baby Boomers in positions of management will also need to adjust their approach to managing across generations to retain talent. Both Millennials and Gen Xers who find themselves working in a rigid hierarchical structure may seek out other environments that are more collaborative and empowering.  Here are few things organizations need to consider in human capital planning to retain Gen Xers:

      1. Don’t favour Millennials at the expense of Gen Xers– Your Gen Xers have 20+ years of experience under their belt. They have worked through different jobs to amass skills and gain experience. Consider what Gen Xers bring to the table. Forward thinking, technically savvy people who embrace new ideas coupled with solid experience will yield your company good leaders who can think strategically.
      2. Have serious conversations about career progression – I’ve had a number of friends leave organizations due to lack of career advancement opportunities.  Discussions about progression are important to Gen Xers at this stage of their career. They’ve put in the time and want to see there is some pay off for their hard work. Gen Xers expect to start having serious conversations about their next position and how management will help them get there. If they don’t feel there is a genuine commitment they’ll look for an employer who values them.
      3. Be inclusionary– Does your organization create an environment where your Gen Xers and Millennials are sitting at the table to provide input and strategic insight? Gen Xers want to feel they are valued in the organization and want be included in discussions where they can contribute their insights and expertise. Millennials want an opportunity to learn from their counterparts in a collaborative way. If your organization deems Baby Boomers as the only qualified group to be involved in strategic planning and decision making you will not only find yourself at a competitive disadvantage, but quickly find some of your talent (Gen Xers and Millennials) going to other companies who value their insight and observations.

      Untitled

      Gen X’ers are valuable assets to your organization. Don’t take them for granted!

      By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

      1. [http://brighterlife.ca/2012/07/19/bridging-the-gap-in-multi-generational-teams/]
      2. [http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/Gen-X–Stuck-in-the-Middle-79865.aspx]
      3. [http://www.examiner.com/article/keys-to-the-retention-of-generation-x]
      4. [http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/hispanic-jobs-baby-boomers-health-2721781-1.html]
      5. [http://beyondrewards.ca/Articles/Art10-05.html]