Is Your Company Future-Proof?
My recent appointment as Head of Content and Operations at Fort has given me an intimate look at the inner-workings of our company –– specifically talent, infrastructure, resources and contingencies. The plans we have in place are thorough, but are they enough to make us future-proof?
Normally, this question would pertain to the steps companies take to ensure that they are kept abreast with technological and consumer trends to ensure that they can deliver on their clients’ needs in the most efficient way possible. At Fort, delivering on our clients’ needs means that we need to put our best team on the field and recruit the best to be the best. So when I ask, “is your company future-proof?” what I really mean is have you included talent management and talent acquisition in your plans for the future?
Gone are the days when employees stayed with one company for the duration of their working career, when receiving a long-service award or plaque was something to aspire to. It worked for the baby boom generation –– our parents, and their parents before them –– who were motivated by finding stability and providing for the family, but time has moved on and so have we.
“…but time has moved on and so have we.”
Post-nineties, the landscape changed and with it came better opportunities to climb the social and economic ladder, giving rise to the generation we refer to as millennials: entitled, lazy, opinionated, brats, job-hoppers, narcissists, techno-savvy, risk-takers, inquisitors, innovators, futurists, challengers of the status quo.
People love to hate them but the truth is they’re making major shifts incorporates and by 2025 will account for 75% of the global workforce.
As prospective employers, we are placed in a unique situation of interviewing, recruiting and managing millennials. The challenge we all face is making our recruitment process millennial-friendly because let’s face it, we all cannot bypass recruiting and working with this upwardly mobile generation.
Something to consider:
- Deloitte’s Millennial Survey of 2017 revealed that in a year of social and economic instability, millennials are seeking more stability in the workplace and plans to exit their current employment at the nearest quarter has halted
- Millennials seek meaning and purpose in their workplace. They want to feel that their work has an impact and that’s where CSI projects and community engagement projects fill that gap for them. They are not just motivated by status and money but by purpose, and the companies culture, vision and benefits
- They prefer straight talk from managers. Communication needs to be clear and direct, not convoluted
- Contrary to beliefs that Millennials prefer the freedom of working on a freelance basis as opposed to being locked down in a permanent position, the research shows that in the face of so many global and economic changes, millennials prefer the stability of a permanent/full-time job but with the perks of flexible hours based on outcomes, and flexibility in their role in the organisation
So how can we practically translate this into a work environment that is attractive enough to recruit, retain and manage millennials? The following tips have been extracted from various sources and are a compilation of different ideas that companies, managers and recruiters may consider in millennial proofing their own company:
- Communicate your culture, values, mission and benefits to the candidates
- Millennials like to receive a holistic view of the company with a real perspective of what it is like to work at your company. A fantastic way of bringing your company culture to the prospective employee is by utilising a current employee at a final interview stage, who can share the culture of the company in their own words.
- Communicate the perks and benefits of working at your organisation and why one would choose your organisation over others
- Give an honest perspective of the company
- Consider career path and growth
- Don’t just communicate the job but career growth opportunities. Millennials are used to moving at a faster pace and so growth and development in an organisation is valued
- Take time to find out about the candidate’s professional goals, what motivates them and align them with the position that is suitable
- Be clear about paving a career path for the individual and highlight specific learning opportunities and areas of growth within the organisation. Provide a clear career roadmap with clear expectations, opportunities for growth and training within the organisation
- Offer flexible working hours (where possible)
- Offer flexible working hours that are outcomes based. This encourages greater levels of accountability, which millennials want (and employees need)
- Show appreciation through rewards and recognition
- It’s important to stress the added benefits to being a part of the team which compensates employee’s effort and commitment. In this regard, Fort has introduced their shared prosperity model which gives valued and committed staff members a share in the business. As such, staff know they are valued and have invested interest in the business
- Be honest and upfront about what the workload and expectations will be
- Manage change clearly and efficiently
- It needs to happen in stages as opposed to radical changes within an organisation. Millennials do not do well with radical change
- Prepare for job-hopping
- A CareerBuilder survey showed that 45% of employees plan to stay with their employer for less than two years, regardless of whether they are millennials or not. Get used to this trend and make provisions for change and turn this into a positive for the company
- Provide opportunities for shared learning, training and upskilling:
- Not every company can often provide promotion opportunities every 6 months. A more practical approach is to rather focus on learning opportunities, teaching opportunities and skill-shifting within the organisation
- Millennials: Current mentors, future managers
- Part of future proofing your company is identifying staff that can be taken on a managerial career path. It can start with allowing them to mentor other staff, interns and new team members from Generation Z
- Streamline your social media for job searches
- Since millennials utilise social media more than any other generation to job search, make sure your job ads and channels speak to this generation if you’re trying to reach them specifically
- Companies need to refine their messaging to reach millennials and make themselves more attractive as a workplace. Communicating this messaging across all channels is essential as millennials are more likely to follow you on social compared to other generations
Employers should not write off the somewhat misunderstood and underrepresented generation called millennials as they are not just the next generation, but the present generation and future leaders of your company. By my books, they are your asset base of the future and that’s the term they possibly should be referred to and would probably respond well to.
Andrina Moodley is the Head of Content & Operations at Fort.