As the decade draws to a close, workforce management professionals are bracing for what promises to be another “roaring twenties” as the global workforce continues to undergo rapid change and evolution. nextSource experts have been reviewing dozens of sources of data and opinion on what the New Year and the new decade have in store. There seems to be one, prevalent theme wending its way through contemporary thought regarding the seismic changes in labor markets: Employee Experience. Here is the evidence supporting the idea that 2020 is going to be the year of employee experience.
Writing for Forbes, Jacob Morgan makes a compelling argument supporting the notion that the future of work is rooted in the employee experience. Morgan writes, “Decades ago nobody cared about the employee experience because all of the power was in the hands of employers. There was no focus on engagement, inspiration, empowerment, designing beautiful workplaces, using modern technology, or the like. All of these things have just recently become mainstream topics of discussion. Why? Because the power has now shifted into the hands of employees.”
There are two major drivers behind this shift. One is demographic, the other technological – and both work together to force a wholesale change in how talent is sourced, managed, cultivated and leveraged.
Demographics | At the beginning of the last decade, the Census Bureau projected that the U.S. resident population would grow from 308.7 million in 2010 to 341.4 million in 2020, an increase of 32.7 million people over 10 years. They also noted the aging of the Boomer generation and their replacement with the Millennial generation as the largest age cohort within the labor pool. Millennials, the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history, have indeed supplanted Boomers as the largest segment of the workforce.
Technology | In myriad ways, technological advances are radically rewiring the way labor is sourced, how work is performed, and thus, how workers interact with employment opportunities. Consider the rise of the human cloud and all the tech-enabled opportunities for freelancers, project workers, ICs, and other contingents. This development alone has launched entirely new channels for employers and employees alike to find one another. At the same time, the rise of social media and information sharing renders an organization’s “employment brand” far more influential as workers are able to share their experiences working for different employers. Today, the global community is drawn together more than ever before into an interconnected, always-on network.
These two drivers feed off of one another as the ascendant Millennial workforce is the first “digitally native” generation, with no recollection of the world before internet connectivity. Their entire worldview, including the way they interact with the work world, is built upon technology and its utilization. This new paradigm is not lost on workforce management thought leaders many of whom agree appealing to the Millennial mindset is imperative for the coming decades.
Forbes’ Morgan interviewed numerous thought leaders on the subject including Anna Binder, VP, People, MuleSoft. Binder focuses on employee experience by promoting transparency, autonomy, connectivity, diversity and ownership.
Pat Wadors, VP of Global Talent, Linkedin (where the workforce is already 70% Millennials) suggests leading and engaging the contemporary workforce necessarily involves vision, empowerment, accountability, passion, purpose, choice/flexibility, and freedom to explore – all primary ingredients of an affirmative employee experience.
Gloria Burke, Chief Knowledge Officer at Unisys looks to enterprise social business technologies to drive value through transformed employee experience. She focuses on utilizing technology to ensure shared vision and objectives, leadership alignment with workforces, increased engagement through communication and awareness campaigns, ongoing education and training, affirmative incentives and recognition programs.
It is worth noting that the convergence of demographics and technology driving the fervent interest in Employee Experience is not exclusive to the Millennial generation. The tail end of the Boomer generation, Gen X, and Gen Y have also lived through the fundamental changes in the way we work and are just as influenced by their experience on the job as their younger counterparts. For any organization, it is critical to have a well-devised plan for addressing the Employee Experience.
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