Millennials

The Adjunct Solution: Using Industry Knowledge to Teach Must-Have Skills for the Workplace

June 02, 2014 Charles Coy

What is it with youth today? Millennials, Generation Y, young'uns — whatever you call them, they continue to baffle their baby boomer and Generation X managers. According to a survey from research and consulting firm Millennial Branding, 73 percent of employers think that universities aren’t properly preparing students to enter the workforce. However, adjunct professors may help change that. With a strong understanding of how skills are being used in their industries on a practical level, adjunct faculty are quickly becoming the norm on college campuses. Research from the American Association of University Professors shows that full-time tenured and tenure-track professors have dropped to make up less than one-quarter of university faculty, while part-time faculty now make up more than 40 percent — and this may be a good thing.

Many universities hire adjunct professors who are currently employed in the industry they are teaching about. Kelly Cherwin, Communications Editor at HigherEdJobs, says, “This allows the university to gain the insight of the person's practical knowledge and allows the professional to share their real-world experience with students because they want to, not because they have to.”

The key to getting students the best education possible lies in striking the right balance between adjunct and full-time academic professors, says Neil Cohen, vice president of sales and marketing at Visage Mobile and a marketing adjunct professor at San Francisco State University. “Working professionals as adjuncts and academic professors are symbiotic, they complement each other,” Cohen says. “They can also learn a lot from each other. When I put together my curriculum, it can’t be all real-world examples, you have to apply some rigor and thought to covering a curriculum. There should be some minimum academic standards for what kids take away from these classes.”

Cohen sees young people struggling with basic business communication skills in the classroom and in the workforce, especially in their writing, which isn't exactly typo-free. Millennial Branding’s survey backs this up as well, finding that hiring managers look for cultural fit first when assessing a candidate, with the most sought-after characteristics being a positive attitude (84 percent), communication skills (83 percent) and teamwork (74 percent). However, this isn’t necessarily something Cohen sees as an issue that universities are responsible for solving. “Is it that schools aren't preparing kids properly or is it that students just aren't paying attention to the details?" Cohen asks. "Schools are not trade programs, but rather should be teaching critical thinking and problem solving.”

While adjunct professors with industry experience are valuable, they can pose a different set of challenges for university management. On one hand, adjunct professors can feel disconnected from the university faculty. "Being an adjunct is sometimes hard on the ego as nobody knows you are there except the students and maybe the security guard, cafeteria ladies and librarians," Kim Burdick, an adjunct instructor of history, told HigherEdJobs. Universities must also find efficient ways to provide feedback on teaching skills for professors who haven't had training specific to the teaching profession. Some universities ask students for feedback on their classes at the end of each semester, offering some insight on skill level for adjunct faculty. 

The benefits of adjunct teaching aren't restricted just to the student end of the equation either. “To go into a classroom and help students get a firmer grip on what they want to do, to inspire them, and to give them better knowledge to move forward, is worth every minute," Cohen says.

About Charles Coy

Charles Coy is responsible for getting the word out about Cornerstone as a company, as well as evangelizing Cornerstone’s innovation in talent management technology solutions. Charles continues to be interested in the ways that technology can impact how... more

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5 Keys to Long-Term Engagement with Gen Y

March 27, 2014 Charles Coy

As younger generations enter the workforce, the office is shaped more and more by the norms and expectations belonging to Generation Y. In fact, a 2013 study predicted that Gen Y employees will make up 36 percent of the workforce this year, increasing to 75 percent by 2025. With a wave of younger employees comes the challenge of engaging and retaining them, since Millennials are known to leave their companies after being employed for a short time — 60 percent leave in less than three years.

To keep employees happy and engaged, companies are listening to what matters most to Millennials and are designing programs and initiatives to boost employee engagement. While many of these programs aren’t targeted just toward Millennials, they all seek to satisfy the needs of younger employees. Here’s a peek at what some companies are doing:

Create Gen-Y Specific Groups

Companies are targeting Millennial engagement by offering generation-specific career development opportunities. For example, Sodexo has an “i-Gen” group for Gen Y employees to network, receive training about social media and learn strategies to manage their careers. For social media-savvy employees, there’s a specific Twitter handle for the group, @SodexoiGen

Offer a Customized Experience

Giving employees what they want starts with understanding what is important to them. GE launched a “Global New Directions” group to figure out what Millennials want as part of their strategy to attract and retain talent. One key takeaway is that the workforce is more global and diverse than ever — therefore, everyone has different needs. To address that, GE changed its benefits package to adopt a model that allows customization for each employee. Also, since younger generations are often noted for their use of technology, GE incorporated gaming technology into how it tells prospective employees about the company’s mission, values and culture.

Support Employees in Their Work and Personal Lives

Millennials mix their personal and work lives much more than previous generations, often becoming friends with their coworkers, notes Kim Cassady, senior director of talent at Cornerstone OnDemand. Therefore, companies are expanding what it means to support employees, not just in the workplace but in their personal endeavors too. Take Cornerstone OnDemand: the company dedicates one day each month to learning, whether by focusing on professional skills or personal development skills. Some opportunities include time management, project management, meditation, yoga and acupuncture. “We sponsor groups around fitness such as having folks train and prepare for a marathon,” says Cassady. “We provide them with a coach, several lunch-and-learns [lunchtime talks] about nutrition, and we pay for their fee to participate in a marathon. In turn they’ll raise money for a non-profit.”

Focus on Social Responsibility

Younger employees care about giving back to local and far-reaching communities, so companies are introducing volunteer programs, volunteer days and pro bono projects. Social responsibility is more important than professional recognition for 84 percent of Millennials, according to a study by Bentley University. Ford Motor Company employees get 16 hours of paid time off every year to volunteer. Since more than 50 percent of MTV’s employees are Millennials, volunteerism is an important part of its company culture. Employees at MTV had the opportunity to work on a pro bono project to help a non-profit that finds employment for former prisoners in 2013. “There were tons of people who wanted to be a part of this project because there’s such a hunger and desire to do meaningful work when you come to work [at MTV],” Jason Rzepka, MTV’s senior vice president of public affairs, told the Society for Human Resource Management.

Empower Employees to Start Groups

Whether an employee likes to play basketball or watch reality TV, employee groups formed around these hobbies are more likely to be successful when the employee takes the initiative to form the group, says Cassady. “When human resources pushes it or it’s a corporate initiative, it’s met with less enthusiasm,” she adds. “We’ve seen greater success with employees coming to us and saying, ‘I want to do this.’” For example, a Millennial came to Cornerstone’s HR team with a request to create a baking club. Another employee formed a women’s networking group. Around the Chinese New Year, a group of employees put together an event talking about what the holiday means from a cultural perspective. While many of these groups are started by Millennials, the drive to pursue passions at work extends to all employees and goes a long way toward keeping them highly engaged.

About Charles Coy

Charles Coy is responsible for getting the word out about Cornerstone as a company, as well as evangelizing Cornerstone’s innovation in talent management technology solutions. Charles continues to be interested in the ways that technology can impact how... more

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Guess Who's Feeling Overwhelmed by Technology? Millennials

November 05, 2013 Charles Coy

That's right — millennials. According to a recent survey on workplace productivity by Cornerstone OnDemand, the youngest generation in the workplace reports suffering more information and technology overload in the "always on" era than its older peers.

Our very own Jason Corsello spoke recently with Ladan Nikravan, editor at Chief Learning Officer, about the study's surprising findings.

Among Jason's insights:

Stereotypes don't always apply: "I think that most people have come to the conclusion that the digitally native millennial generation can handle technology — that they even love it and can’t live without it. Our survey results pushed back on this categorization. On the one hand, despite the fact that employees are awash in technology, they are demanding more and better devices and applications to do their jobs. On the other hand, Gen Y workers, whom we have largely pigeonholed as having an insatiable appetite for technology, are expressing both a desire for more human, face-to-face interaction and frustration with information and technology overload." 

It's not the device that matters — it's the app: "Employees do want BYOD, but at the end of the day I think it is less about the device and more about the right apps to help them get their work done. I think it’s more about the apps that employees are choosing to use. Our survey found that 37 percent of employees who currently use apps for work would be likely to spend their own money on work-related apps in the next 12 months if they felt the app would help them with their job. Even among employees who do not currently use apps for work, 20 percent expected to spend their own money for apps to increase their productivity." 

Millennials are hungry for training and development: "To my mind, employers have been a little slow to provide their people with the right resources for learning and performing in the new world of work. But this shortcoming should most certainly be seen as an opportunity: employees are hungry for context-sensitive training that is available when they need it to be most productive in their jobs. In many cases, they may not necessarily define the type of informal, just-in-time, just-enough learning opportunities they crave as training or development, yet this is the new age of blended learning."

Read more at Chief Learning Officer.

 

Photo credit: Can Stock

About Charles Coy

Charles Coy is responsible for getting the word out about Cornerstone as a company, as well as evangelizing Cornerstone’s innovation in talent management technology solutions. Charles continues to be interested in the ways that technology can impact how... more

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Cornerstone Survey Asks: Are Workers Swimming or Sinking In a Sea of Technology?

October 01, 2013 Charles Coy

In recent months, we’ve been talking a lot about the concept of Reimagining Work. Business is global, there are as many as four generations in the workplace, consumer technologies are flooding the enterprise, and employees have new demands and expectations about the very nature of work itself. With these shifts in mind, we’ve challenged organizations to be more proactive in creating a work environment that empowers and enables today’s connected workforce.

We decided to further explore these themes in the new The State of Workplace Productivity Report. Cornerstone, in collaboration with global research firm Kelton, surveyed over 1,000 employed U.S. adults to break down employees’ attitudes regarding technology in the workplace and their perspectives on whether company-provided applications are supporting how employees want to get their jobs done.

Through our findings, we confirmed that today’s workers are more connected than ever—using multiple devices and applications to access and manage the constant stream of information that comes from living in an always-on world. But is hyper-connectedness helping employees be more productive or simply leaving them overwhelmed?

Caution: Overload

Cornerstone’s survey reveals that U.S. employees are feeling overloaded, whether by work (50 percent), information (34 percent) or technology (25 percent). And surprisingly, it’s the tech-savvy Millennials who are feeling the most overwhelmed from being “always on.” Information overload was cited by 41 percent of them, versus just 31 percent among older generations, while technology overload was cited by 38 percent of Millennials compared to 20 percent of older workers.1

From unplugging and digital detoxes to meditation and hiding in metaphorical caves, people are trying everything in order to combat the stress of living in a 24-7 connected world. But despite these attempts, our research shows that employees are still turning to tech to tame their hyper-connected lives. And they are even willing to try out wearable devices to manage everything from monitoring sleep to exercise to spurring self-improvement.

Key survey findings include:

·        Face Time for the Facebook Generation. Despite the stereotype that younger generations prefer to hide behind their devices when collaborating with others at work, a surprising 60 percent of Millennials prefer to collaborate in person rather than online (34 percent), or via phone or video conference (6 percent). Overall, seven in ten U.S. employees (72 percent) said they favor in-person collaboration.

·        The Rise of Wearable Devices. Wearables have the potential of not only impacting workplace productivity but also how employees think about work-life balance. In fact, 58 percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to use wearable technology if it enabled them to do their job better.

·        Multi-Screen Multitasking. While workers across all generations are using multiple devices for work, more Millennials are opting for the “bring your own device” (BYOD) approach (56 percent) versus their older colleagues (39 percent). Over half of Millennials (52 percent) use their smartphones for work compared to just 23 percent among older generations. And one in five Millennials (20 percent) uses a tablet for work, versus 10 percent of older employees.

·        Productivity Rx. Employees who use applications for work juggle an average of four a week. Sixty-five percent of Millennials have downloaded at least one application to use for work purposes in the past 12 months, compared to 57 percent of Gen X workers and 47 percent of Baby Boomers.

·        The Emergence of Buy Your Own Application. Employees are not just bringing their own devices, they are now relegated to buying their own applications to get their jobs done. Of those currently using software for work, nearly four in ten employees (37 percent) said they are likely to spend their own money to download applications for work purposes in the next 12 months. Even 20 percent of employees not currently using applications for work said they were likely to do this.

·        Work Apps: What Matters Most. According to the survey, ease of use (77 percent), convenient access to information (73 percent), the ability to be more productive (62 percent) and the ability to collaborate with others (40 percent) are most important to employees when it comes to the applications they use for work.

With today’s workers desperate to simplify the chaos, organizations need to reexamine whether they’re doing enough to stay ahead of what employees want and need in order to be most productive. It’s about embracing new tech trends, such as mobile, social and the cloud, and providing workers with user-centric applications that simplify – not complicate – how they get work done.

Click here to read more about Cornerstone’s The State of Workplace Productivity Report.

Also be sure to check out the four-part blog series on our site from Glen Hiemstra, international author and expert on future trends and the founder and CEO of Futurist.com. Glen will be sharing his thoughts on the future of work and the implications of the survey results for workplace productivity.

The first post kicks off today and will run through the end of the month. 

 

1. Older Generations = Gen X, Baby Boomers, Traditionalists

About Charles Coy

Charles Coy is responsible for getting the word out about Cornerstone as a company, as well as evangelizing Cornerstone’s innovation in talent management technology solutions. Charles continues to be interested in the ways that technology can impact how... more

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A Starter Guide to Millennial Retention

September 13, 2013 Charles Coy

Who better embodies the old mantra — "change is the only constant in life" — in today's workplace than Millennials? The twenty-something demographic, which is projected to make up 36 percent of the American workforce by 2014, tends to baffle their older counterparts: how to talk to them, how to work with them, and how they are transforming everything the workplace has held sacred. Currently on the list of Millennial disruptions? The nine-to-five workday.

According to a recent study ("The Cost of Millennial Retention" by Millennial Branding and Beyond.com), Millennials are so against a rigid clock-in, clock-out schedule at work that nearly half (48 percent) of the companies surveyed are focusing heavily on "workplace flexibility" in order to retain Gen Y talent. Forbes reports that 45 percent of workforce Millennials would opt for flex-time over higher pay. 

The Millennial theme here is simple: Money means less, culture means more. How much more? Thirty percent of surveyed companies have lost 15 percent or more of their Gen Y employees in the past year. So how can employers find ways to turn those trends around? Here are some insights that may help keep an organization's young talent sticking around:

Mentorship Matters

The Millennial Branding study suggests that second to workplace flexibility as a retention tactic, many companies (40 percent of those surveyed) are also investing in mentorship programs. Mentorship is an important factor for Millennials. According to nonprofit career community Net Impact, 87 percent of current college students (as opposed to 78 percent of current workers) say that the ability to learn and grow is very important or essential to their job ideals. It's important to note that Millennials aren't looking for the traditional (of course) hierarchical type of mentorship, but simply a relationship with a trusted colleague from whom they can learn.

“A lot of mentoring programs have failed as they have tried to put structure to something that is basically a relationship,” writes Jeanne Meister, author of “The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow's Employees Today” in InvestmentNews“Mentoring and coaching is an important form of development.”

Greater Purpose > Great Benefits

If it isn't clear by now, make sure this assumption is hard-wired into your HR organization: Traditional benefits are no longer enough to keep Millennials. According to the HR professionals surveyed, just 14 percent of Millennials inquire about healthcare options during the interview process. Money and traditional perks also take a back seat when compared to overall purpose at a job. Nearly three-fourths of students — opposed to roughly half of all workers — report that having “a job where I can make an impact” is essential to their overall happiness. 

“The Millennial generation has learned to be two things during the recession — resilient and nomadic," explains Rich Milgram, founder and CEO of Beyond.com. "As the job market improves, the level of confidence will improve along with it and cause many in this age group to reevaluate their current situation, possibly seeing value in seeking greener pastures.”

Build a Great Social Enterprise, or Else

Millennials don't view the "work-life balance" debate the same way as Gen X or Boomers. (Not exactly a shocker there.) Why? Their intense interaction with social media has changed the game. Employers who can find ways to embrace and leverage social media in the enterprise will hold significant competitive advantages over competitors that don't. Be open with Millennials on social media. And lean into social media platforms to engage: Gen Ys are generally more comfortable (38 percent) making social media introductions than managers (19 percent).

"Gen Ys are crucial to the development and growth of our economy," explains Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding. "Yet managers have a negative impression of them and it’s creating workplace drama. Managers should be setting proper expectations, giving them career support and help them develop the skills they will need today and in the future.”

About Charles Coy

Charles Coy is responsible for getting the word out about Cornerstone as a company, as well as evangelizing Cornerstone’s innovation in talent management technology solutions. Charles continues to be interested in the ways that technology can impact how... more

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I Never Should've Added My Boss on Facebook (or Lessons for Managing Gen Y)

August 21, 2013 Mike Carden

We’ve all heard the standard complaints about members of Gen Y (or "Millennials," if you prefer) - they’re disloyal, lazy, have short attention spans, you practically need to throw parades when they accomplish the simplest tasks,  they want the top job on day one, don’t respect experience, won’t be long term employees, are only motivated by money, need work to be fun.

But Is Gen Y Getting a Bum Rap?

Are the things Gen Yers demand from employers really so different fro the things Gen Xers want (and are too scared - or polite - to ask for)?

Millennials have a questioning mentality - in the revolutionary, anarchic, 60’s sense. Why is there no natural light in my cubicle? Why can’t I manage the team instead of him? Where is my electric company car? Why should I cut my hair, man?

All poor Gen X got was a swivelly chair and a muffin on their birthday.

Remember to Push Their "Like" Button

Managers need to recognize Gen Y’s undoubted abilities and manage them effectively.

We know that if Millennials aren’t positively challenged and appreciated they’ll get bored and frustrated and leave (instead of hanging on, bored and grumbling in frustration around the water cooler like Gen X). Gen Y needs instant feedback.

The metaphorical back-pat has to happen as soon as a task is completed, and preferably in public. You need to push their ‘like’ button. 

Work Life Blur

While Gen X was all about work-life balance, Gen Y doesn’t make much distinction between the two.

Gen Y is connected. The Gen Yers are all Facebook buddies. They follow the world’s influencers, text and Skype and take photos of EVERYTHING. They blog, post and tweet what they’re thinking; often while they’re thinking it.

Their aspirations usually apply across both their professional and private lives; there’s no work-life split.

5 Millennial Performance Management Lessons

  1. Performance management should focus on collaboration, sharing goals organically and creating transparency.
  2. Make sure that your performance management approach allows anyone to question the status quo, and then grow from there.
  3. Performance management needs to provide feedback frequently (and even publically!) not save it up until the end of a period. And it should recognize that feedback creates stimulation - it encourages work!
  4. Performance management needs to focus on outcomes, not compliance.
  5. Performance management should include recognition of achievements beyond role requirements (& even beyond the organization.)

A Word of Caution for Managers

Gen Y stands up to poor leadership. If they are unhappy they will blog, post and tweet about it. Will your organization stand up to that scrutiny?

About Mike Carden
Mike originally trained in Artificial Intelligence but ended up spending much of his early career in consumer marketing for global corporations. Mike has worked in over 20 countries. In 2006 Mike founded Sonar6, a revolutionary Human Resources SaaS business. In... more
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The No. 1 Best Place to Work for Millennials?

July 22, 2013 Charles Coy

Anywhere, apparently, but here.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 80 percent of Millennials want — expect, actually — to work abroad during their careers. It's not clear if that figure is unique to a generation known for a grass-is-greener approach to life or a reflection of the itinerant ways of young adults throughout the history of mankind. But this much is certain: technology paired with more flexible company cultures means Millennials (there are 40 million of them and counting, according to TIME) are far more likely to get their wish than their Gen X or Baby Boomer predecessors.

“International experience is an essential requirement for future leaders and as such should be cultivated from the very beginning of a graduate’s career,” according to the PwC report, which surveyed some 4,300 graduates around the world about their career expectations.

So does this mean waves of Millennials are on the verge of buying a one-way ticket to Shanghai? Hardly. There are ways hiring managers can feed (or even fulfill) those nomadic urges — and still hold onto their 20-something talent.

Accomodate Flexible Hours

The 9-to-5 schedule is headed for obsolescence. In the age of mobility, employees increasingly are working when they want and where they want. This newfound freedom requires some company parameters (e.g., workers must notify HR when working remotely and email teams when they're out of the office at specific hours during the day), but blurring the line between work and life goes a long way toward satisfying Millennials' peripatetic instincts. It also gives them the confidence to make the jump to work abroad one day, either with their current company (in a physical or virtual office) or someplace else.

Eliminate - Or Shrink - Hierarchies

Companies that embrace "open" offices, where summer interns sit next to the CEO, or shy away from titles tend to create cultures where morale is high and Millennials feel comfortable interacting with older generations. These "flat" structures, as they're called, encourage employees to ask for what they want, including living and working abroad.

Invest in Technology

PwC reports that Millennials routinely make use of their own technology at work and three-quarters believe that access to technology makes them more effective at work. However, technology is often a catalyst for intergenerational conflict in the workplace and many Millennials also express feeling held back by rigid rules around technology. Invest in collaborative programs that will help bridge this gap. It's important to emphasize that technology isn't a shortcut, but an aid for teamwork in an era when people are constantly on the go — or, in the case of Millennials, looking abroad.

None of these measures is easy to implement, said Lauren Rikleen, head of the workplace consultancy Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership, in Forbes. "The difficulty is that these take time and effort on the part of the employer to implement successfully. But there is no doubt that the end results of such efforts are a more engaged workforce."

The best place for any company to at least start the conversation about working abroad — and even, perhaps, satisfy the craving without a single bag getting packed — is at home.

About Charles Coy

Charles Coy is responsible for getting the word out about Cornerstone as a company, as well as evangelizing Cornerstone’s innovation in talent management technology solutions. Charles continues to be interested in the ways that technology can impact how... more

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Surfing the Silver Tsunami

March 27, 2013 Patrick Devlin

There is an exponentially growing need for effective talent management strategies in the public sector, and I’m honored to lead the team dedicated to delivering this to the market at Cornerstone. What’s the primary catalyst within the public sector workforce today? The impending silver tsunami. Our aging workforce. Boomsday!

The term “Boomsday is a reference to the satirical 2007 novel by Christopher Buckley about the fallout that could occur when a majority of the Baby Boomers begin retiring. Well, fast forward six years and Boomsday has happened, and while all industries are subject to the fallout from baby boomer retirement, the public sector is taking a bigger hit than most. For example, the Human Capital Institute reports that 60 percent of the government workforce and 90 percent of senior leadership will be eligible to retire by 2015. And according to the U.S. Department of Education, the United States will need to hire three million teachers in the next five years due to rising enrollments, growing retirements and high rates of attrition for beginning teachers.

When you couple facts like these with budget cuts and competition from the private sector, the public sector is now facing numerous challenges that directly call for an integrated talent management strategy and approach.

Preparing for the Aging Workforce

Approximately 25 percent of full-time career federal government employees and U.S. Postal Service workers are currently eligible to retire. There were more than 60,000 retirements in the first half of 2012, and according to Office of Personnel Management (OPM) projections, by the end of 2015, more than half of the 7,746 senior executives in place at the beginning of 2011 will have left government positions. It is critical for you to preserve and facilitate the knowledge-transfer to new generations of employees.

Meeting Talent Shortages

One key to thriving in the face of retirements and furloughs is ensuring existing employees are engaged, productive and prepared. You should create and track a long-term development plan for every employee. In the private sector, organizations with high-quality development plans for all employees have 26 percent higher revenues than companies that do not. Encourage your current employees to grow and improve themselves—it increases engagement and productivity, which in turn reduces sourcing and hiring costs.

Planning for Millennials

Without an effective talent management strategy targeted towards retaining the millennial workforce, agencies are risking losing future executives and leaders. A Corporate Executive Board analysis showed that Millennials are already leaving the public sector workforce at an alarming rate – in 2011, US government employees under the age of 30 quit their jobs at a rate of 5 times higher than their counterparts over the age of 30. The new generation of workers is demanding. They excel when they receive continuous and immediate feedback, and respond positively to formal processes for career paths and development plans. So give it to them, or risk losing them. And guess what? The other generations of workers you are supporting will enjoy these programs, too.

Sourcing and Developing Future Leaders

Sourcing for leadership positions and critical roles doesn’t happen overnight. You should track performance and competencies and build on these to develop multiple succession scenarios months or even years in advance. You must coach and cultivate the skills of anticipated successors and develop and promote internal talent.

Competing with the Private Sector

Public sector agencies need an edge in sourcing talent. By moving recruiting practices into the 21st Century you can streamline the process of evaluating, tracking, sourcing, screening and assessing candidates and build a viable internal talent pipeline to ensure readiness for any position vacancy.

I’m passionate about the potential impact talent management professionals can have in the public sector. I believe you can move your organizations beyond meeting today’s needs, to developing long-term, sustainable, successful and productive workforces. In the coming months, I will be addressing the full gamut of topics impacting talent management professionals today, including but not limited to workforce planning, succession planning, the multi-generational workforce, learning and development, compliance training, recruiting and performance management. It is indeed a target rich environment of topics. I look forward to the conversation.

 

About Patrick Devlin

As the Vice President of Public Sector for Cornerstone OnDemand, Patrick Devlin leads all aspects of sales and customer engagement with our government and education clients and prospects.  Patrick came to Cornerstone OnDemand after nearly ten years at... more

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Penelope Trunk: 3 Career Myths About Gen Y

March 25, 2013 Charles Coy

For the last few years, headlines such as "Gen Y grads more likely to launch start-ups" and "Generation Y Is Born To Startup" have shaped a perception that Generation Y might be the most entrepreneurial demographic in human history. You can't walk around the SOMA district of San Francisco without tripping over a tech CEO who has yet to celebrate his 30th birthday, and Inc. Magazine's annual 30 Under 30 list is a celebrated who's who of up and coming entrepreneurs ready to take on the world. It's a Millennial world – we're all just living in it.

But a recent survey conducted by Monster suggests otherwise. The report found that 41 percent of Gen X employees (those born between the early '60s and late '70s) and 45 percent of Baby Boomers (the generation born after World War II) considered themselves to be more entrepreneurial, compared to only 32 percent of Gen Y (those born between the early '80s and early 2000s). And if you talk to more seasoned observers of the labor market, like Brazen Careerist founder Penelope Trunk, you'll find that Gen Y may not be the greatest navigators of their own careers.

"Gen Y feels like they're special, but they're actually misguided," says Trunk, a commentator on workplace trends who has appeared on 20/20, CNN and NPR. "This is a generation whose parents told them that when they grew up, they could be anything they wanted. That's not really true.

Myth 1: "Do what you love"

"You don't get paid to do what you love," Trunk says. "And you don't get to create your own job title unless you have your own company."

Emergent wisdom tells us that Millennials were raised by parents who instilled in them abundant quantities of self-esteem, reflected in the not-so flattering euphemism "Generation Me." This upbringing convinced many Millennials that they were destined for greatness, and that they would one day find or create a job doing what they love. That perception is bunk, Trunk says. "The thing we should do for our career is something we would only do if we were getting a reward," she writes in a recent post, "Bad career advice: Do what you love."

Not only has this advice left Millennials feeling immense pressure to find the "perfect" career, it's led many young professional to disappointing dead ends. According to Bloomberg, average incomes for individuals ages 25 to 34 have fallen 8 percent, double the adult population’s total drop, since the recession began in December 2007. And unemployment rates among the same age group remains stuck one-half to 1 percentage point above the national figure. Adds Trunk: "Gen Y seems entrepreneurial because they're unemployed."

Myth 2: "Create your own career"

Despite the perception that this generation's entrepreneurial spirit is guiding them toward inventing their own jobs, rather than trying to fit into a pre-established mold, the number of actual entrepreneurs has remained relatively stagnant. While a vast minority of the workforce becomes successful entrepreneurs, "everyone else – if they can get a job – just does that," Trunk says. "You can only get hired for the position that's available."

And while the rise of wacky job titles seems to indicate a new wave of job opportunities, a "director of first impressions" is still just a receptionist. Millennials may be drawn to creative titles that they believe portray their own unique individuality, but the title is still a reflection of the corporate brand, rather than the individual. 

"Salesforce's 'chief fun officer' or Zappos' 'manager of happiness' doesn't say anything about the person, it says more about the company," Trunk says. "They're conformists, they're not making their own titles."

Myth 3: "You can have it all"

One of the biggest myths out there, this goal is simply unattainable for most. "Gen Y is fundamentally conservative," says Trunk. "The challenge for them is not getting the conservative lifestyle they're after. Gen Y men feel like they need to be millionaires by the time they're 30. Gen Y women want a fantastic career in their 20s and a fantastic family in their 30. And if they can't live up to that, they're panicking."

When it comes to making the most of the intersection of work and life, Trunk suggests a couple ideas many Millennials may not be ready to face: 

  • For men: "50 percent of Gen Y men are wondering how to develop the skills to get out of middle management. They're not going to."
  • For women: "Women do best when they don't have huge careers in their 20s. Women don't get rewarded for having a fantastic job."

Those are harsh realities for all those Millennials chasing the American dream, but one that must be reckoned with if they are to maintain an ounce of that self-worth they learned as children.

About Charles Coy

Charles Coy is responsible for getting the word out about Cornerstone as a company, as well as evangelizing Cornerstone’s innovation in talent management technology solutions. Charles continues to be interested in the ways that technology can impact how... more

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