Tag Archives: employment

Many stereotypes about Millennials are merely… not true

A recent comprehensive and global generational study was conducted by PwC, the University of Southern California and the London Business School. It’s the largest sudy of its kind ever conducted (more than 40,000 responses, 300 interviews and 30 focus groups) and it looks into the aspirations, work styles and values of “Millennial”/”Generation Y” employees (those born between 1980 and 1995). I found particularly interesting some of the findings:

Many – but not all – stereotypes about Millennials are untrue.

Despite a reputation perhaps to the contrary, the Millennial generation have grown up not expecting their organisations to meet all of their needs, including job security. Despite a natural aptitude for electronic forms of communication, email and social media platforms are not always Millennials’ communication vehicles of choice. Also, despite a common perception that Millennials are not as committed or hard working as non-Millennials, the study effectively revealed they are as equally committed to their work

Millennials say that a strong cohesive, team-oriented culture at work and opportunities for interesting work—including assignments around the world—are important, even more so than their non-Millennial counterparts.

Millennials place a high priority on workplace culture and desire a work environment that emphasises teamwork and a sense of community. They also value transparency (especially as it relates to decisions about their careers). They want and need the support of their supervisors, and also want the chance to explore overseas positions. Non-Millennials express similar attitudes, but not to the same degree as Millennials.

Millennial attitudes are not totally universal, although there is significant commonality between the United States/Canada and Western Europe.

For example, Millennial workers in every PwC firm around the world aspire to have greater work/life balance. However, the issue is particularly important for Millennials in the more developed economies of North America and Europe and in the East region. Additionally, we discovered in a few countries that cultural norms can ‘trump’ Millennial views that surfaced elsewhere in the world.

While the same basic drivers of retention exist for both Millennials and non-Millennials, their relative importance varies.

Millennials have a greater expectation to be supported and appreciated in return for their contributions, and to be part of a cohesive team. Flexibility in where they work and how much they work is also a key driver in Millennial satisfaction. This view differs in importance from that of the non-Millennial generation, which places greater importance on pay and development opportunities.

Millennial employees are not alone in wanting greater flexibility at work.

Millennials want more flexibility, e.g. the opportunity to shift hours to night, if necessary. But so do non-Millennials, in equal numbers. In fact, a significant number from all generations want a flexible work schedule  so much that they would be willing to give up pay and delay promotions in order to get it.

The study is available here.


The future is now: remote workers in the knowledge times

Do you think the days when new hires will not come into the office for training is far away? I’ve done it two years ago and I’ve done it again these days. It’s true it was an internal hiring but all training has been delivered virtually: video conferencing and practice based assessments. Some eLearnings are also on their way… Because the rites of social media are so familiar to many employees, I can establish working relationships faster than ever with members of my remote teams.

As a recent McKinsey study shows, virtual approaches to work are attractive to a wide array of employees, including working mothers, older workers, and younger, Generation Y professionals who want flexible lifestyles from the start. Younger workers are often particularly suited to work remotely, having grown up socializing and collaborating online. “They don’t want to work 9 to 5,” says Bonny Simi, vice president of talent at JetBlue, “and it doesn’t matter to me if they work better from six at night until three in the morning or if they can do the work in six hours instead of eight.” (McKinsey Quarterly – “Preparing for a new era of knowledge work”).

Employers first began ramping up their use of remote-work arrangements in the 1990s. As technology evolved, companies such as IBM found they could eliminate permanent offices for their sales force and other customer-facing employees. Consulting companies also made a better use of “open-spaces” since partially their staff have to be on client site anyway.

Such moves yielded huge cost savings on real estate while increasing the time consultants could spend with customers. Now, thanks to broadband, cloud computing, and a burgeoning market for online collaboration tools, many more jobs that once required “face to face” interactions can be performed anywhere. These jobs range from insurance claims processors to law associates and corporate workers in functions such as finance or knowledge management.

In fact, by some estimates perhaps one-quarter of all US jobs could be performed remotely, and in McKinsey’s 2011 survey of 2,000 US businesses, one-quarter of them said they planned to use more remote workers in the future. Are you going to be one?

Restructuring checklist #3

Retaining key talent

• Can you identify your key talent today?
• Are you prepared to put a retention payment system in place to ensure that key talent does not leave your organisation?
• What will be the effect of such a programme on employees who are not covered by it? Are you ready to manage the consequences?

Reward effectiveness

• Is this the time to review remuneration structures and to consider increasing the variable and/or deferred element?
• Have salary sacrifice cost reduction opportunities been fully explored?
• Can you use this opportunity to maximise the financial efficiency of current and future incentive arrangements?

Flexible working

• Should you review flexible working policies to drive down cost and extend the concept for specific areas of the business?
• Would it be appropriate to open up part-time working opportunities to employees who might not qualify under the existing policy arrangements?
• Is this the time to introduce policies for unpaid leave, career breaks and sabbaticals?

HR effectiveness

• Do you need to review effectiveness of your HR function, its restructuring capabilities and future role?
• Do your HR business partners have a clear understanding of the commercial realities facing your business?

You may also want to read:
10 guiding questions to help restructuring initiatives
Restructuring checklist #1
Restructuring checklist #2

10 guiding questions to help restructuring initiatives

Cover for the Business Strategy Wikibook.
Image via Wikipedia

Turbulent economic times are making many organisations consider restructuring. Theoretically, a company that has been restructured effectively will be more efficient, better organised, and better focused on its core business. However, in practice, many restructuring initiatives fail as a result of overlooking “insignificant” issues or taking an unrealistic approach of the reality of restructuring across multiple countries and markets.

Here are some key points you should consider before and during a restructuring initiative that may help you thrive in challenging times:

Adding value to your company

1) What are the business drivers behind your restructuring requirements?
2) What should your redesigned organisation look like?
3) Are you obtaining function efficiency and true value for money for your spend?

Engaging effectively with your employees

4) Is your approach to your restructuring consistent with your declared values?
5) Have you got effective communications plans in place?
6) Are you engaging with employee representatives in an appropriate manner in each of your markets?

Balancing your short and longterm risks

7) How do you manage your employment brand in such challenging times?
8) Is there a risk of any proposed measures damaging your future business strategy?
9) How do you retain key talent now and in years to come?
10) How do you continue the development of tomorrow’s people whilst restructuring?

You may also want to read:
Restructuring checklist #1
Restructuring checklist #2
Restructuring checklist #3

The world in 2020: 79% of CEOs said they would be changing their strategies for managing talent as a result of the downturn

Fanning the flame of Talent
Image by Ian Sane via Flickr

A recent PwC report – Talent Mobility 2020 shows that in the next 10 years companies will have a greater need to deploy their talent around the world, and as a consequence, international assignment levels and overall mobility will increase significantly. Having access to the best talent continues to be a challenge for CEOs and business leaders – with 97% of CEOs in PwC’s annual global CEO survey saying that having the right talent is the most critical factor for their business growth. In addition, 79% of CEOs said they would be changing their strategies for managing talent as a result of the downturn – and 55% said they would look to change their approach to global mobility including international secondments. In the wake of a foreseeable upturn, the winners and losers of the next decade will be defined by those who are able to attract, retain, and deploy their key talent globally. The sentiments outlined above are well aligned with PwC’s key findings:

Assignee levels have increased by 25% over the last decade; PwC predicts a further 50% growth in assignments by 2020. There will be more assignees, more business travel, more virtual tools, and especially more quick, short-term, and commuter assignments.

The growing importance of emerging markets will create a significant shift in mobility patterns, as skilled employees from emerging markets increasingly operate across their home continent and beyond, creating greater diversity in the global talent pool.

Mobility strategies will need to become more sophisticated and complex as organizations meet growing deployment demands, while simultaneously managing the very different needs and expectations of three generations of workers.

Governments and regulators will accept the economic benefits of talent mobility to stimulate economic growth. This acceptance will lead to greater collaboration between governments and businesses, and within the business community, to remove some of the barriers to mobility around the world.

The millennial generation will view overseas assignments as a rite of passage, an outlook that will change the way workers and organizations approach overseas opportunities in the future.

Organizations will adopt “destination pay and local plus” remuneration methodologies as compensation levels across some skill sets and industries will begin to harmonise across the globe.

Technology will play a key role in global working arrangements and help to support compliance obligations; however technology will not erode the need to have people deployed “on the ground”.

The nature of overseas assignments has changed significantly since the 1970s. Businesses, like the population, seam to continue adjusting their operations, nature and geographic location of the workforce, as well as their fundamental structure and roles.

How an organisation responds to these rapid changes will be critical. Business and mobilisation strategies will need to progress quickly to keep ahead of both changes in the organisation’s geographic landscape, and the further increases in assignee numbers that will result. The winners of 2020 will be those companies that adjust their strategies now.

For details see PwC’s report

Financial Times: More than 1 million British workers will lose their jobs over the next 2 years

Brian Groom and Nicholas Timmins published an interesting article in today’s Financial Times. According to them, more than a million British workers will lose their jobs over the next two years as unemployment figures are expected to show a widespread rise in UK joblessness, taking the national total above 2 million.

Here are some other trends mentioned in the article:

  • Industrial production is falling faster than at any time since 1981, while financial services have so far escaped lightly.
  • Unemployment has risen fastest in the West Midlands, north of England and Wales. London gained 33,000 jobs in last year’s final quarter.
  • The pattern of job losses has forced Oxford Economics to tear up forecasts it made only a few months ago. It now foresees 1.3 million job losses from 2008 to 2010. While London and the south-east are expected to regain pre-recession employment levels within five years, it warns that the West Midlands, north-east and Wales may not have recovered within a decade.

As John Philpott, Chief Economist at the CIPD, commented on February reports, “the final quarter redundancies figure of 259,000 is fairly horrendous and suggests that the CIPD forecast of 300,000 redundancies in the first quarter of 2009 will, if anything, turn out to be an underestimate. The normal lag between redundancies being made and people joining the unemployment count also indicates that, whatever comfort might be taken from today’s jobless figures, unemployment remains on course to rise above 3 million before the economy recovers.”