The working environment in the second decade of the 21st century has been moving away from the one that existed at the beginning of the year 2000. Everything has changed: employees, the tools they use and even business needs. Employees 3.0 are completely different from their older colleagues. They have different requirements, expectations and skill sets, and it is up to companies to use them effectively.
Over the last few years, we have witnessed a real revolution taking place in the labor market. Generation X was joined by young people – Millennials and representatives of the Generation Z. Their attitude towards professional challenges and their way of functioning within organizations was totally different to that adopted by their older colleagues. It is thanks to these young people that the workforce has become much more diverse.
1. Skills of the future
Young generations bring completely new skill-sets, referred to as the skills of the future (the most comprehensive list of these skills has been published in a report ‘Future Work Skills 2020‘, prepared by the US Institute for the Future, established in the Generation Y mecca – Palo Alto, California). They include:
- social and emotional intelligence
- information crossing
- ability to work in multi-cultural, diversified environments
- working in virtual teams
- cognitive load management.
Also, working style has become much more diverse. Today, we not only work in an office but also at home, in co-working spaces, and even when traveling (it is possible to combine work and travel thanks to a popular trend called workation). Cooperation between people from different departments, sectors, companies and even countries is gaining popularity.
We live in a world of technology that affects every business. As it becomes increasingly common, modern technology enables the automation of repetitive tasks through numerous mobile apps and online tools.
It all impacts businesses and the way they function. – In an era of increased organizational transparency, intensified employee mobility and significant skill shortages, culture, engagement and employee retention are now business issues, not just topics for HR to debate. Cultural and engagement issues have become the No. 1 challenges faced by companies around the world. 87% of organizations believe these issues to be the most important, with 50% defining them as very important – underlined the authors of the report ‘HR Trends 2015’ prepared by Deloitte.
This necessitates a change in how companies operate. According to this year’s report by Deloitte, 92% of leaders have declared redesigning their organizations as their priority.
Values appreciated by young generations include:
- working for the sake of a higher purpose or deeper values (60% of the Generation Y representatives claim that they were attracted to their current workplace by a sense of purpose);
- employees’ honest willingness to fulfill their day to day responsibilities;
- work flexibility and the way in which an organization operates, adapting to their employees’ lifestyle (as much as 67% of Generation Y representatives state that they have flexible working hours and 43% have an opportunity of working from home);
- strong leadership (more than half – 53% of the respondents would like to become a leader in their current organization).
Therefore, in order to fully release the potential of the 21st-century employees, it is worth to facilitate processes and adjust them to the new style of work and new expectations of the younger generations.
How does Google engage young employees? The organization allows their employees to spend 20% of their working time on solving problems and creating new solutions for their customers. This shows how powerful (also in business terms) creative thinking is.
The idea of design thinking was popularized in the book ‘Change by Design’ by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO. The author draws attention to the fact that not only utilitarian objects can be designed, but also services, processes, and applications. Brown encourages the appreciation the power of creative thinking which we use during brainstorming exercises, creative workshops and while preparing drafts.
4.The new employment model
The employee 3.0 will settle much better into a “network of teams” model than in a hierarchical organizational structure. The owners of Thumbtack.com (an application that helps to find all kinds of service providers), in order to cooperate with the best specialists, decided to remodel the business. They do not encourage their employees to come to the Silicon Valley but cooperate online with over 120 experts working from different locations around the world.
The company assures that such team building allowed to maintain relatively low employment costs while achieving 150% growth. Surveys show that employees are willing to make some sacrifice in order to be able to work remotely. According to Harris Interactive, 34% of them would be willing to give up on social media, 25% on smartphones and 17% would sacrifice a salary increase.
5.Getting familiar with technologies
Young employees expect their employers to match the work environment with their lifestyles and habits. Including communication habits and their constant online presence.
The use of company communication tools based on ‘social’ factors facilitates the release of the team’s potential. These tools are useful in project work carried out by focus groups, by adding comments and likes (and not by sending thousands of emails which employees are not able to read on an ongoing basis). They are an ideal solution for activities such as ‘knowledge sparing’ since they enable gathering the knowledge and then sharing it with the team. Finally, they also support internal crowdsourcing, as they facilitate collecting ideas and putting them into effect.
How does your company address the needs of the employee 3.0?