Millennials

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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How Companies in 5 Traditional Industries Stay Cool for Millennials

July 31, 2014 Charles Coy

When it comes to hiring Millennials, not every company can offer a flashy tech job with perks like free meals and gym memberships. And at the same time, Generation Y workers care about more than working for the hottest startup. More than 50 percent of Millennials say that a company’s involvement in various causes affected whether they accepted a job, according to a recent report from creative agency Achieve and the Case Foundation. 

Here’s what some employers in long-established fields are doing to stay relevant with Millennial workers.

Construction

Millennials make up 28 percent of the workforce at DPR Construction, a Redwood City, Calif.-based contracting and construction management firm. The company ties construction jobs to bigger purposes, Fortune reports. When it completed a project at a biotech manufacturing facility, DPR invited a cancer patient to speak to staff. According to one Millennial employee, “DPR continues to empower employees and remain true to the core values and mission that it ‘Exist to Build Great Things,’ and you really feel like you are making a difference alongside some amazing people.”

Retail Lending

At Detroit-based Quicken Loans, Millennials make up 55 percent of the lender’s full-time staff. One program that’s resonated with these workers is “Bullet Time”—a weekly four-hour period when all technology workers are required to work on a pet project, according to Chief Learning Officer. "This program continues to see measurable success in its effect on the business, and news of its implementation has helped attract some of the region’s top IT talent to work at Quicken Loans’ downtown Detroit headquarters," says Michelle Salvatore, director of recruiting for Quicken Loans.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing often conjures 20th century images of low-skilled factory workers, but today the industry involves computer programming, 3-D printing and other high-tech experience that Millennials seek. At KI Furniture in Wisconsin, the manufacturer is attracting younger talent by offering apprenticeships, job training and even a YouTube channel. In an interview with USA Today, an automation specialist describes his job as "the CSI of the automation world." 

Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry, once thought to be dominated by older tycoons, is seeing a surge of young talent. Membership in the Dallas chapter of Young Professionals in Energy surged 60 percent last year, with most members under age 37, Bloomberg reports. Millennials are attracted to the technology breakthroughs happening in the industry. The shale boom has “created a lot of opportunity for young professionals to jump in and be given enormous responsibility,” 27-year-old Mark Hiduke, who left Silicon Valley to start a drilling company, tells Bloomberg. “It’s pretty much tech and then energy.” The new Exxon Mobil campus in Houston aims to appeal to health-minded younger workers by including a wellness center and jogging trails, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Telecommunications

Qualcomm, a San Diego-based semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services, tops PayScale’s report on best places for Gen Y to work, beating out even Google. The company offers a “Backpack to Briefcase” program to help Gen Y develop business skills. It also provides younger workers access to senior leadership. “We have an open-door policy that is very important to us,” Tamar Elkeles, chief learning officer at Qualcomm, tells Chief Learning Officer. “Anyone in the company can go to our executives at any time. That’s part of what we believe our next generation really wants — access to information, access to leaders and their voices to be heard.”

While tech startups offer plenty of perks to attract Millennials, their counterparts in traditional businesses also are finding meaningful ways to engage and develop the next generations of workers. "Millennial employees are really looking for, and value, an employer who encourages and helps facilitate professional growth in the workplace," Lindsey Pollak, an expert on training, managing and marketing to Millennials, tells Fox Business.

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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Transforming the Government into an Employer of Choice for Millennials

July 28, 2014 Patrick Devlin

On paper, a career in government service appears to beautifully align to the professional values and interests of millennials. A Capstrat study of millennials in the workforce revealed that balance, benefits, purpose and support trump all else for twenty-something workers — even salary. Millennials want to make a difference in society, and employment within the federal government offers countless opportunities to do so.

But what is on paper is a stark contrast to what is reality. A recent Wall Street Journal article stated that federal government employees under the age of 30 hit an eight-year low of 7 percent in 2013, versus about 25 percent for the private-sector workforce. By comparison, in 1975, more than 20 percent of the federal workforce was under the age of 30.

In spite of all the negative publicity surrounding government work, about 45 percent of college seniors remain very or extremely interested in working for the government, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. So why aren’t there more millennials employed by the federal government? The answer is simple – because federal agencies aren’t doing enough to recruit, hire, and retain them.

Critical Skills, Leadership Shortages

The federal government workforce is undergoing a dramatic transition. In addition to the leadership voids that are arising due to baby boomer retirements, there is also a rapidly growing need for skills and competencies required to manage the increasingly digital demands of today’s missions. While the current workforce is largely lacking this needed expertise, it could easily be obtained by strategic hiring of millennial professionals.

The government cannot afford to waste any more time in addressing these issues. Millennial recruitment and workforce succession planning must elevate to the most urgent priority. According to Kimberly Holden, deputy associate director of recruitment and hiring at OPM, "the government will be lost" without technologically savvy staff able to carry agencies into a digital future.

In order to build and prepare a workforce that can take on the work agency missions demand, the federal government needs to act now to recruit, onboard and retain millennial civil servants. Here is how to get started.

Fix the recruiting process

In spite of the urgent need for new employees and new skills, the government continues to rely on confusing, complicated and overly bureaucratic HR methods – ones that turn off even the most interested millennial candidate. Technologically savvy millennials are used to an on-demand world – and federal agencies must adapt to and meet these expectations. From improving the use of technology and social media to attract interested applicants to providing candidates more visibility and transparency into the hiring process, recruiters need to be creative in how they capture and maintain the attention of millennials to quickly convert them into agency employees.

Establish career paths

It’s a competitive market out there, and an improving economy is giving workers and job candidates, as opposed to employers, the upper hand. Particularly for millennials who have skills that are highly in demand across both the public and private sectors (information technology, engineering, finance), federal agencies must provide clearly defined growth and career paths to keep employees engaged, motivated, and focused on future opportunities. While we may no longer be in an era of lifetime career civil servants, agencies can still encourage millennials to have long, active and fulfilling careers at a variety of government agencies.

Provide ongoing mentoring, coaching and assessment

In order to keep a government job challenging and fulfilling (particularly as higher-paying private sector opportunities continue to beckon), millennials must receive ongoing coaching and mentoring from more experienced and/or longer tenured colleagues. From navigating the organizational structure to understanding growth and advancement opportunities to finding new ways to collaborate on mission requirements, a support network is critical for millennial engagement and retention.

Without an influx of younger workers with much-needed skills, critical government programs may be derailed, innovation will be stymied, and the competitiveness of the U.S. compared to other nations will continue its decline. The federal government will greatly benefit from the competencies that millennials bring – digital expertise, technical savvy, and a more collaborative and inclusive approach to problem solving – as soon as they prioritize millennial recruitment and hiring. 

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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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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