Millennials

Will That Tattoo Cost You a Job?

March 16, 2015 Larissa Faw

Glance across at your neighbors next time you're in a coffee shop or on the train — how many tattoos can you spot (including, perhaps, your own)?

From Sanskrit symbols to colorful sleeves, getting inked has moved from a counterculture movement to a pop culture norm, particularly for young people. The most recent survey from Pew Research Center found that four in 10 millennials have at least one tattoo. And 12 percent of those with ink have tattoos that can be seen by managers and coworkers, according to Salary.com.

The Lasting Taboo

With increasing competition to attract and retain top talent, employers understand the need to create a corporate culture that welcomes diversity and allows for personal expression. However, the long-standing taboo against tattoos in the workplace is proving hard to shake. The majority of HR and hiring managers still feel tattoos and piercings destroy career opportunities and advise interviewees to hide any body art. 

According to a recent survey from Salary.com, 76 percent of Americans feel tattoos and piercings hurt an applicant’s chances of being hired during an interview. The same survey found 39 percent believe employees with tattoos and piercings reflect poorly on their employers. In fact, 42 percent feel visible tattoos are always inappropriate at work, with 55 percent reporting the same thing about body piercings. 

"Public relations agencies tend to mirror the dress of our clients," says Stacey Bender, CEO of the Bender Group. "Regarding my staff, which is a mix of slightly older and younger [employees], most dress professionally and have no visible tattoos or piercings other than earrings. When I have had staff with more visible tattoos and piercings, I generally ask the employee to cover or tone it down for office client meetings or events."

Bender's comments reflect the consensus of many Wall Street and Fortune 500 companies. But a shift in other industries indicates that attitudes may be beginning to change.

A Generational Clash

Startups and more artistic or entrepreneurial outfits, for example, are evolving toward more liberal dress codes. Even Starbucks now lets employees openly display their tattoos at work, just as long as their tattoos are "tasteful" and are not on their face or throat. 

At Blue Ribbon Bags, a tech-savvy startup in the travel industry, executives say they don’t have any qualms about employees with tats. "If our staff has piercings or tattoos, we are completely comfortable so long as the production is strong," says President Daniel Levine. "As a young company, our staff is also under 40, so that is part of our mindset."

For companies seeking to find a middle ground, the advertising industry might be the best model. There, it's typical for younger employees – such as junior creatives – to sport tattoos, while higher-ups running large accounts or departments rarely have body art. The norm may shift as younger employees advance, but for now, the generational difference can lead to potential misjudgment of their abilities and experience. 

"We have on occasion told creatives that their clothing — jeans, t-shirts, shorts, flip flops, sneakers – could send signals in the agency and at the client that they are junior," says Sandy Greenberg, CEO of The Terri and Sandy Solution. "And [appearance] might send signals that they don't have the credentials necessary to spearhead an account." 

Photo: Shutterstock

About Larissa Faw

Larissa Faw is a business journalist who contributes to Forbes and Mediapost, and writes a syndicated business column running in U.S. newspapers. She writes about Millennials, workplace trends and career mavericks, and can be reached at ... more

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Webinar: 6 Ways to Engage the Next Generation of Government Talent

March 03, 2015 Miranda Ashby

With shrinking budgets and an aging workforce, federal and defense organizations face several unique challenges in building their next generation of leaders. Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, taking skills and knowledge as they leave, and morale is decreasing, fueled by work and pay freezes during the government shutdown last year. Today's government HR professionals not only need to consider how to recruit young, top talent, but also how to retain current and future leaders. 

By the year 2025, Millennials will make up approximately 75 percent of the workforce. However, only 11 percent of current government employees are Millennials, according to the US Office of Personnel Management – indicating the potential for a major talent gap in the industry. According to our upcoming 2015 Human Capital Management (HCMG) report, the number one concern of government employers is finding qualified job candidates – with 68 percent of respondents listing it as their top priority. Yet at the same time, nearly half of respondents have no recruitment strategy in place for attracting Millennials, who make up the majority of candidates. 

In order to compete with the private sector for the strongest candidates, government HR professionals should focus on ways to connect with mobile, social Millennials, as well as how to establish agency cultures that attract young employees. 

Join our webinar, Engaging the Leaders of the Future, on Thursday, March 19, to learn about trends in succession planning and how to build an effective agency culture. A panel of federal government HR professionals will share key findings, personal experiences and best practices around engaging the next generation of government talent as reported in our 2015 HCMG survey. 

Below are a few strategies panel members will discuss: 

  • Engaging Millennials through social media and internships
  • Building employee engagement and attracting top talent through new benefits
  • Assessing the value of institutional knowledge to avoid retirement negatively impacting current programs 
  • Implementing more effective internal communications and creating opportunities for employee feedback
  • Working with leadership teams to further talent management and performance goals 
  • Building the case for unified talent management solutions and determining what works best for your agency 

Registration is open now for the free webinar. Sign up here.

About Miranda Ashby

As a 20-year federal sales professional and leader, currently a Senior Director with Cornerstone OnDemand, Miranda Ashby has developed successful client relationships with an impressive number of federal agencies tackling the ongoing challenge of unified talent... more

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Which Flextimer Are You? [Infographic]

February 11, 2015 Charles Coy

We email before breakfast and after dinner. We hold meetings from cars, bedrooms and street corners. And anything from a coffee shop to an airport lounge can be an office — as long as it's got speedy Wi-Fi and a free outlet.

As the borders between work and life continue to erode, the Industrial Age concept of a traditional 9-to-5 workday suddenly seems almost quaint.

(Click to enlarge)

Constant connectivity has a dark side (see: overwhelmed employees), of course, but it also paves the way for something overwhelmingly positive: more customizable, human-focused schedules. Flextime policies, which reinforce a company's commitment to work-life balance, are powerful recruitment and retention incentives. And when implemented effectively, a recent study from the University of Minnesota found, they help employees feel more in control and supported by their managers. 

But what, exactly, does a workday on flextime look like? As our latest infographic shows, flextime policies are particularly attractive for three types of workers: Millennials, working parents and semi-retirees. And for each demographic, a personalized schedule might play out in very different ways.  

Millennials

For Millennials (and, soon, Generation Z), flexible schedules are less a perk, more a requirement — reflecting a general disillusionment with the concept of the 9-to-5 grind. A Price Waterhouse Cooper report recently found that Millennials, as a whole, are "unwilling to commit to making their work lives an exclusive priority." They expect to be evaluated on performance, not hours logged. They value the opportunity to start their work later in the day, or work later in the night, as they see fit.

Working Parents

Without flextime, the average working mom with a full-time job and young children works 33.8 hours a week, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. For many working parents, a flexible schedule is the only way to "have it all." Given the freedom to organize their own workdays, parents can tag-team child-rearing responsibilities and log full-time hours while still managing to be home in time for dinner or present at a soccer game. The key, many find, is leaving work earlier than co-workers and finishing up the workday after children's bedtimes.

Semi-Retirees

The concept of an all-or-nothing retirement is becoming as irrelevant as the 9-to-5. Nearly two-thirds of workers ages 16 to 64 say they prefer a gradual transition to retirement, according to a survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Flextime arrangements allow Baby Boomers to make a more gradual downshift: reducing hours over time, taking a more project-based approach to work and accommodating caregiving needs for ailing parents.

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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Why Matching Millennials with Boomers Might Save Tomorrow's Workforce

January 12, 2015 Charles Coy

Retirement, once the end goal for workers, has a different meaning today. People want to keep working — both because they can and because they need financial security through increasingly longer lifespans. At the same time, once they retire, older workers often take their industry — or “tribal" — knowledge with them.

“Retirement is defined in our society and our culture as an on-off switch. You’re retired; you’re not retired,” says Cash Nickerson, president of aerospace and defense engineering staffing firm PDS Tech. “[But] imagine a world where you climb up the corporate ladder and decelerate down it, and that downward slope is not one year or one day."

Nickerson and his team are addressing institutional knowledge loss head-on by creating programs to help younger workers get industry-specific crash courses from “semi-retirees” — experienced people who aren’t ready to give up work, but don’t want to work full time, either. The idea: Play matchmaker between the two groups and everybody benefits. Or, as Nickerson puts it, "during that deceleration, semi-retirees can help somebody accelerate up."

Today's Talent Barbell

In a perfect world, the population distribution would support the traditional notion of retirement. When senior-level executives retired, the next-level employees would be promoted up through the chain of command. Today however, the workforce population looks like a barbell: There are about 78 million Baby Boomers, 48 million Gen Xers and 70-80 million Millennials. That next-level employee, increasingly, simply does not exist.

The knowledge gap between the most senior workers and the most junior won’t fix itself, Nickerson says. “The demographics are out of whack. So you need structures to bridge the loss of institutional knowledge,” he says.

A "Boomer in Residency" Program

One such structure is the center of excellence model that Nickerson and his colleagues at PDS Tech have built in partnership with various aerospace and defense engineering companies. His firm hires semi-retirees with the right industry experience, and companies send recent graduate hires to the center to learn from veterans.

“Sure, there’s technical engineering and technical IT instruction, but then there are specific ways that company A does it. People who work at company A can pass that blueprint on,” Nickerson says. “It’s sort of like an outsourced intergenerational learning experience. I like to compare it to a doctor in residency program,” Nickerson says.

Why the Multigenerational Approach Matters

Accommodating seasoned workers with innovative approaches to retirement (or semi-retirement) benefits three critical groups, according to Nickerson. First, workers benefit from financial security and health reasons. Research into “productive aging” shows a correlation between terminating work and health issues. Second, companies that value and support older workers benefit from preserving institutional knowledge. Finally, accommodating semi-retirees benefits the government, which needs people to work longer to support Social Security, Nickerson says.

He’s optimistic about fostering meaningful connections between seasoned workers and new hires, an approach that HR departments in any number of industries can learn from. “That multigenerational, intergenerational knowledge center to me is the greatest opportunity,” he says. 

Photo: Facebook/GoodWillHuntingMovie

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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For Millennials, It’s Purpose or Bust

October 22, 2014 Charles Coy

We all want fulfilling jobs, but Millennials take that need for purpose to a whole new level. The youngest generation in the current workforce, these 18-to-34-year-olds have a strong yearning to be part of something bigger than themselves. They seek a balanced life, and they’re on an endless search for happiness, Karl Moore, a professor at McGill University, writes in Forbes.

Moore says that Millennials posses unique and seemingly contradictory priorities: altruism and self-interest. In other words, they want to do good, but they also want to know that their career trajectory is heading in the right direction. “[Millennials] are constantly questioning where they are going next and why,” Moore says. “That is, which position they will hold next. If your organization can’t tell them that, they’ll seek out another firm that will.”

Millennials will make up half of the U.S. workforce by 2020, so employers can’t afford to ignore their demands. Moore offers several recommendations for employers to engage with and help retain Millennial talent.

Onboarding matters

Only 31 percent of recent graduates think that companies properly integrate new employees, Moore says. He blames poor communication. “Orientation provides a clear sense of the company’s purpose, mission, value and goals and where an individual fits in the grand scheme of things,” he says.

Work-life balance is essential

The majority of Millennials are unwilling to make their work lives an exclusive priority, even with the promise of substantial compensation later on, according to research from PwC. Moore says that he’s seeing companies pick up on this trend. Consulting firms send traveling employees on shorter trips, for example. Deloitte supports a support group for young working fathers called “Deloitte Dads.”

Prioritize purpose

“Many more of the undergrads and MBAs today are looking into working for NGOs, or at least for corporations which have serious Corporate Social Responsibility programs,” Moore says. Millennials want to feel like their 9-to-5 has meaning, and while that idea is built in for employers like hospitals and schools, firms from banks to retailers will need to focus on their sense of purpose.

As Millennials increasingly make their mark on the workplace, companies will need to fill their demands if they want a retention rate beyond 0-2 years.

h/t: Forbes

Photo: 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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Go West Young Man: Top 5 Cities Millennials Want to Live (And Work) In

October 17, 2014 Charles Coy

As Millennials continue to join the workforce in droves, companies have learned that these 20-somethings are a complicated bunch. Not much is black and white for them: sometimes they opt for flexibility over higher pay, they like change and movement and they want to live in an urban environment rather than stake a claim in the 'burbs with a white picket fence. As we continue to understand what makes a Millennial tick, there are some cities that have a handle on how to attract them — and get them to work.

Here are five urban areas that claim the top market for Millennials, according to a recent report from Nielson:

1. Austin, TX — Percent of U.S. Millennials: 16

  • Metro Population: 1,889,700
  • Major Industries: Technology, pharmaceutical, biotechnology
  • Median Household Income: $58,932
  • Median Home Price: $221,600
  • Unemployment: 4.3% 
  • Job Growth (2013): 4.6%
  • Cost of Living: 10.1% above national average
  • Largest Employers: Dell, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, Apple, AT&T
  • Fastest Growing Companies: Simpler Trading, Main Street Hub, Phunware

2. Salt Lake City, UT — Percent of U.S. Millennials: 15

  • Metro Population: 1,181,300
  • Major Industries: Tourism, health care, transportation
  • Median Household Income: $61,451
  • Median Home Price: $237,600
  • Unemployment: 3.6%
  • Job Growth (2013): 3.0%
  • Cost of Living: 3.2% above national average
  • Largest Employers: Delta Airlines, Qwest Communications, Novus
  • Fastest Growing Companies: Goal Zero, Equinox Business Solutions, VRx

3. San Diego, CA — Percent of U.S. Millennials: 15

  • Metro Population: 3,222,600
  • Major Industries: Defense, tourism, technology
  • Median Household Income: $63,925
  • Median Home Price: $460,600
  • Unemployment: 6.5%
  • Job Growth (2013): 2.6%
  • Cost of Living: 22.8% above national average
  • Largest Employers: AT&T, Cox Communications, Qualcomm
  • Fastest Growing Companies: Multifamily Utility, PhotoBin, Paradigm Mechanical

4. Los Angeles, CA — Percent of U.S. Millennials: 14

  • Metro Population: 10,058,600
  • Major Industries: Entertainment, aerospace, tourism, technology
  • Median Household Income: $55,145
  • Median Home Price: $397,300
  • Unemployment: 8.2%
  • Job Growth (2013): 2.7%
  • Cost of Living: 18.7% above national average
  • Largest Employers: Target, Bank of America, Walt Disney, Home Depot
  • Fastest Growing Companies: Fuhu, Quest Nutrition, American Solar Direct

5. Denver, CO — Percent of U.S. Millennials: 14

  • Metro Population: 2,687,300
  • Major Industries: Aerospace, telecommunications, technology
  • Median Household Income: $62,222
  • Median Home Price: $278,400
  • Unemployment: 5.7%
  • Job Growth (2013): 3.6%
  • Cost of Living: 6.5% above national average
  • Largest Employers: HealthONE, Comcast, United Airlines, IBM
  • Fastest Growing Companies: LED Supply, Stoneside Blinds & Shades, Phidiax

Images via Canstock Photo

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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In the News: How Tech Can Keep Portland Weird — And Employed

October 01, 2014 Charles Coy

Portland has a problem. And, in many ways, it's not a bad one. According to New York Times Magazine, the Pacific Coast city has attracted — and retained — college-educated young people at the second highest rate in the nation. So now what?

While a number of recent college grads relocate to cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York for the bustling economies and job opportunities, another group of Millennials is moving to Portland to, well, move to Portland. Though the area is home to some outdoor sports apparel businesses such as Nike and Columbia Sportswear, Portland isn't really a destination for the burgeoning tech industry that most Millennials want to get a piece of. The fact remains, though, that a number of these young Portlandians are without jobs. 

The good news: the tech industry is providing ways for college-educated workers to have their cake and eat it, too. Companies that are open to the possibility of a remote workforce will be able to cast a much wider net when recruiting talent. Most Millennials cite workplace flexibility as a top priority at their current (or prospective) place of employment. Flexibility can be defined in many different ways, but for swarms of educated young people who want a big city job with a smaller city life, remote work is where it's at. And, it seems, where it's really at is in Portland.

Read more about Portland's growth among the young and educated here.

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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Struggling with Engagement? Josh Bersin Talks About the 'Irresistible Workplace’

September 22, 2014 Charles Coy

Employee engagement is a tough nut for any business to crack. Failure to adapt to employees' career expectations or to ease their sense of being overwhelmed — by work demands, by constant technology distractions or by the disappearance of work/life balance — can drag down more than engagement. Performance and profitability suffer, too. 

Those problems won't work themselves out, of course. A solution lies in creating what Josh Bersin, founder of talent management consulting firm Bersin by Deloitte, calls an "irresistible workplace." The concept stems from research conducted for the Deloitte 2014 Human Capital Trends Study. Bersin says the research identified two fundamental changes that has altered the relationship between employees and employers:

  1. The significant, ongoing employee engagement problem that businesses struggle to solve. Business leaders struggle to pinpoint the specific problems, though, partly because Millennials are flooding into the workforce with different expectations than pervious generations. 
  2. Employees are now inundated with so much information and technological distractions that they feel overwhelmed. 

“We have so much technology that’s infiltrated our lives that the barriers between work and life have disappeared, so many employees feel that they are just overwhelmed by the pace and the volume of activity that they’re dealing with at work,” Bersin says. “It’s created a real engagement crisis.”

The good news for business leaders? There’s hope. Watch Bersin's interview below with our irresistible friend Bill Kutik, veteran technology columnist for Human Resource Executive, about what the "irresistible workplace" entails, and why it's crucial to talent management. 

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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How to Retain Younger Employees Who Are Unlikely to Stay

September 17, 2014 Charles Coy

Despite the common image of younger generations bouncing from one job to the next, Millennials aren’t changing jobs that much. In fact, young people are changing jobs less now than they were 30 years ago. Yet, the stereotype of young employees leaving one job for another persists, and companies struggle to retain young talent.

While a majority of Millennials are happy to have a job, especially those who were job searching during the recession, a good portion of younger employees are self-starters and aspire to be entrepreneurs — or at the least work alongside like-minded people. Therefore, they are likely to move from one job to the next without much weight given to company loyalty.

Quint Gribbin, a Millennial data scientist at Red Owl Analytics, is a prime example. Gribbin, who had six jobs in just three years, has always pursued his passions and looked to solve problems in his jobs, rather than conform to the job title or the culture of a company. “You follow your skill set. Not a company,” Gribbin told the Washington Post.

Gribbin isn’t the only recent graduate who follows this path of jumping from one company to the next. In fact, many Millennials say they expect to switch companies every year or two.

When employees leave a company, that creates more work for hiring managers and disrupts the sense of company culture. To retain top talent, managers must learn what Millennials are looking for in a job and company and turn the company into a young employee’s ideal place to work. Listening to what Millennials want is a top priority for companies since within six years, Millennials will be 50 percent of the workforce.

While some employees stay at a company for the security, Gribbin sees his investments in learning new skills and building a talent network as more secure than being loyal to a company. Keeping employees with Gribbin’s mindset may seem next to impossible, but here are four things that younger generations want in a job:

1. A team dynamic. While many Millennials are innovative and can take a project and run with it, they like to collaborate on projects and share their ideas. “They want to feel like they're always in collaboration with people, so it's really important for companies to show the ways they are going to bring this person into an organization and then keep them very involved, giving them feedback on a regular basis, and giving them many opportunities,” says Cindy Madden, director of consulting solutions for global relocation service Cartus.

2. The opportunity to learn new skills. Many people say that the younger generations are learners for life. Once they’ve mastered one skill, they’re ready to learn another speciality and continue perfecting past ones. Millennials are known as being fast learners and open to change, so the more skills they have, the more flexible they are to move into new roles within the company.

3. New experiences. Whether it’s a river-rafting team outing or the opportunity to relocate to London for a year, younger generations like to be offered “extracurriculars.” Millennials expect their company to provide these opportunities for them to expand their horizons.

4. Time to pursue outside projects. To cater to the employees who would love to start their own company, companies should provide time for them to develop new projects, such as Google’s well-known 80-20 time allocation. “Every generation from here on out will become more entrepreneurial than the next because they will have had more access to information, people and resources earlier in the life,” writes Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding

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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How to Pitch Your Company as a Stepping Stone

September 02, 2014 Charles Coy

The concept of the “company man” who works for the same organization for his entire career has quickly become as outdated as the Rolodex and the record player. In fact, recent research shows that the longer employees stay at a company, the less money they make. According to Forbes, “Staying employed at the same company for over two years on average is going to make you earn less over your lifetime by about 50 percent or more.” With so many workers changing careers, companies who position their organization as a place that will allow for career development and mobility will have a competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. Here are four ways for companies to embrace their role as stepping stones in their employees' careers:

1. Allow time for personal pursuits. 

Job descriptions don’t always cover everything that a smart and creative employee can bring to the table. To allow for employee innovation, companies like Google make time for their employees to work on their own personal projects for 20 percent of their time. Who knows? One employee's off-the-wall idea may lead to a new product or offering.

2. Give every department an education budget.

Whether you have a marketer who wants to learn computer programming or a sales representative who wants to improve his presentation skills, companies that offer ongoing education opportunities for their employees benefit from the investment. Take ExxonMobil, which offers 100 percent reimbursement for classes and books for full time employees. They even offer flexible work arrangements for employees to carve out a portion of their week to juggle classes and work.

3. List internal-only job opportunities.

Truck and vehicle manufacturing company Oshkosh offers job opportunities that are listed only for internal applicants within the company. They also host a Rotational Engineer Program that gives their engineers the chance to learn multiple skill sets while working in different departments.

4. Create a work-abroad program.

For companies that have international offices or multiple national ones, create a program that enables employees to work from those offices. International companies benefit from having employees who understand the various countries and cultures where they do business. Organizations that have multiple offices, even if they’re domestic, can also benefit from a more cohesive company culture by having employees visit and work from other offices for a period of time. For example, HSBC and Boston Consulting Group have received positive recognition for their internal work-abroad programs.

What does your company do to nurture employee talent internally?

Photo: 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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