KENCraft Thought Work

An ongoing series of informational entries

Digital Trends and Changing Needs

March 15, 2018

Need for Flexibility, Personalization & Customization


For many professions, work is no longer de-fined by the office location, nor by the hours of the day, nor by the specific tool used by the trade. Many employees have home-based offices and may perform their tasks before or after the actual workday. Flexible workdays, part time decisions would become common with employees determining work goals, work content and work methodologies depending upon the technological infrastructure available for effective performance. Obviously what flows from this would be greater the technology infrastructure the better is likely to be indi-vidual output and contribution. Career paths would not be linear, would turn grossly flexible, lateral and would make horizontal growth that are knowledge intensive, real and visibly supervising an intellectual mind. Career paths would create comparable performance yardstick, meaningful measures and performance evalua-tion would insist customized evaluation process and tailor made compensation reward program.


Need for an Altered Maslow “Need” Hierarchy – Individualism


Expectations and preferences of employees are becoming more diverse. Employees want more room to express their individualism, and they are expecting that HR services and programs should be flexible enough to accommodate their individual pref-erences. Monogrammed shirts with your name, as a brand is no longer the prerogative of the C Suite execu-tives. Young executives are wearing made to order work wear that demonstrate their individualism. My work has to be fun, my life has to be fun and I want to do a job that’s fun. Generation Millennial often have varying concerns: because of their deep know how with technology, they believe they can work flexibly anytime, any-place, and that they should be evaluated on work product, not on how, when, or where they got it done. The real revolution is a decrease in career ambition in favor of more family time, less travel and less personal pres-sure. However, this group consists of a large mass that lack consistency in their outlook towards work life. While their expectations from employer’s match with generic trends their work ethic to support such an expec-tation falls way behind. Guess WIFI connectivity, Smart Watch, Facebook membership, WhatsApp and Bat-tery are likely to be on top of these needs too!!


Need for Frequent Rewards 


“Young are no longer saving as their parents did. Their debt is on the rise. In a North American context, Melanie Reuter, director of research for the Real Estate Investment Net-work, says, “They will be the first generation that is not going to be better off than their parents were,” Her interpretation. ‘But, because millennials are such a large group, representing about 27 per cent of the popula-tion’, says Reuter, it’s imperative that businesses gauge this group’s behavior and respond accordingly. “If you don’t pay attention to what this generation wants, regardless if you agree or not, you won’t have a busi-ness soon because they are such a large cohort that they do have spending power.” Nearly half of millennials (41 per cent) prefer to be rewarded or recognized for their work at least monthly, if not more frequently, whereas only 30 per cent of non-millennials would like that level of frequency’.


Need to be Open & Transparent 


Employers should increase transparency around compensation, re-wards and career decisions. They should create a meaningful rewards structure that regularly acknowledges both large and small contributions made by employees. Debbie Amery of PwC, “Compensation and rewards have to be individually charted depending on the intellect brought in by the employee along with the time frame for its delivery. The company should have reward programs on a group basis for knowledge workers. The Performance Appraisal system must have built in rewards for system creators”.


Need for Global Influences & Mobility 


KPMG research focuses on how enterprises driven by globalization and trade agreements, both employees and employers are now expecting greater mobility within and across the organization. They have seen trends such as increased recruiting at a global level, greater number of international mobility, choices and how employees face a vast array of options with respect to geographic, po-litical, and social-conditions attributes of their employment. Both employers and employees now expect great-er mobility within and across organizations. In today’s world, employees are willing and often seeking to broaden their range of employment and career opportunities by making request transfers to a different city, region, country, or continent. In the Country, full labor mobility across the continent is now the norm.


Need for Intellectual Hierarchies 


Corporate hierarchies now turn into “intellect hierarchies”, positions of leaders and managers held by those with a knowhow, know-what and the know-why, rather than an up-graded position in the hierarchy with fancy titles made available through a corporate career plan. Dan Schawbel the Founder of Millennial Branding states, “One specific technological trend that has a direct relevance to where, when, and how people work is the emergence of mobile communication and productivity tools. The problem is that most workers grow impatient with their current roles (including titles, identity, branding) and think that the only solution is to move to another company. In a new study in partnership with American Ex-press, we found that 73 per cent of managers are very willing or extremely willing to support employees who want to move within the corporation and 48 per cent of millennial employees are interested in making these moves. Employees need to look left and right not just up if they want to be successful. At the higher levels in an organization, you need to have a firm grasp on how different groups operate or you won’t be able to man-age them properly”.


Need to Internalize Impact of Labor Force 


An often forgotten reality that is unlikely to ever go away is the presence and impact of labor force and their trade unions. The nature of labor unions can differ by geography and industry but their role, values and purpose at a broad level continues to go on and on. In some geography they have managed to adapt, work their way constructively with their employers to obtain a fair status for their constituents and in other geographies the degree of militancy and unreasonableness continues unchanged. Of greater degree of frustration is the trend of governments managing business enterprises and unable to deal with trade unions to make their support productivity and performance. Tim Wright from Talent Cultures says, "Competition for talent is fierce because talent is a leading factor in a company’s competitive advantage. Recruiting, developing and retaining talent are the tools that build competitive advantage. Talent management starts with recruiting. Stronger recruiting efforts contribute to greater talent acquisition. Employee engagement adds to developing and retaining talent. It demonstrates the company’s appreciation of their value to the company — as it builds their value to the company. What company does not look for every possible way to gain advantage over their competition?" Consulting major KPMG Human Capital Practice report of 2012 (Shermon 2012) seeks to focus on the need for HR strategists to tailor their strategies to reflect their own organized labor circumstance, that HR strategy should not neglect organized labor, even in jurisdictions where it is not an immediate risk and how HR strategy should paint a long-term picture of the nature and risks of organized labor in their operating jurisdictions, and possibly even those of their suppliers.


Need to Dispel Myths about Millennials 


Change is complex: it does not come in a tidy package, with infallible steps to success. It takes unexpected diversions and displays the frustrating complexity that is the hallmark of human behaviour. There is considerable evidence to start indicating the multiple types of behavioral perceptions on Millennials. From smart, innovative, entrepreneurial, freedom loving, getting things done generation to lazy, selfish, whimsical, convenient values and so on. “Our survey asked U.S. Millennials and non-Millennials which words best describe the Millennial generation. While Millennials’ perceptions of them-selves are generally favorable, non-Millennials tend to view them far less kindly, often referring to them as “spoiled,” “lazy,” or “entitled.” As the pace of change increases, capacity to change (individual/institutional) effectively becomes critical. Long-term success will require a capacity to change: the ability to create and react to change in a continuous and strategic way. Companies that develop these skills will outlive their competitors: they will use change as the source for innovation and long-term growth, and as a new way of thinking. These perceptions may be coloring how executives view the Millennial consumer, preventing companies from un-derstanding and fully addressing the product and service needs of this generation—and establishing strong brand relationships. We found a generation engaged in consuming and influencing, one that embraces busi-ness and government and believes that such institutions can bring about global change, one that is generally optimistic, and one that has often-unexpected attitudes and behaviors”. In, a BCG Research Report of 2012, “The Millennial Consumer Debunking Stereotypes” authors Christine Barton (BCG), Jeff Fromm (Share Like Buy), Chris Egan (Service Management Group), continue, “Those companies that truly “get” the Mil-lennials and engage with them appropriately have an opportunity to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and forge long-term relationships with their customers. Our research did confirm one stereotype: U.S. Mil-lennials are extremely comfortable with technology”. In fact, there is a school of thought from psychologists on a Freudian relook at the development of personalities in the context of this digital age. If an entire genera-tion is growing up in the social world how have their personalities evolved in comparison to baby boomers and gen X where on line virtual reality world, simply did not exist. “They are “digital natives,” meaning that they’ve largely grown up with technology and social media, using these new tools as a natural, integral part of life and work. Millennials consider themselves fast adopters of new technologies and applications, and they are far more likely than non-Millennials to be the very first or among the first to try a new technology.” Due to the loss of experienced workers, companies incurred expenditure on overtime pay and employment of tem-porary and contract workers. It was reported that about half of the companies that downsized their workforce ended up recruiting new or former staff within a few years after downsizing because of insufficient workers or lack of experienced people. Today many companies are frequently rehired former employees until it absorbed the 'shock' of downsizing. It was also reported that in some cases, they even paid recruitment firms twice the salaries of laid-off workers to bring them back. A manager commented, "It seemed like they would fire some-one and [the worker] would be right back at their desk the next day." Justifying the above, leaders said, "It does not happen that much, but who better to bring back than someone who knows the ropes?" Very few peo-ple bought this argument, and the rationale behind downsizing and then rehiring former employees/recruiting new staff began to be questioned by the media as well as the regulatory authorities in various parts of the world.