A look at the history books shows that not all decision-makers always recognize the signs of the times: “The youth of today …” or “At our time this would not have happened.” These or similar are critical arguments when managers and executive recruiters are asked about the millennials. Because not all companies are prepared to dust off their internal structures and make them fit for the digital age – and thus attractive for the millennials. This is also shown by studies according to which only 35 percent of the companies surveyed are converting company structures that are specifically geared to the younger generation. Consumerization must become the new mantra of companies not only at the millennials. Digital media have now also changed the user behavior of all employees. But it is precisely the millennials that have grown up with digital technologies and therefore place completely different demands on the world of work. Because what the user uses and knows in his private life, for example Netflix, Spotify or YouTube with all search functions, playlists etc. can also be transferred to talent management.
The staff should be given a platform with similarly good user experience as elements from their private environment, especially when it comes to learning, because this will make content and messages more catchy. Offers of this kind would be training and education videos on a Netflix- and Youtube-style platform, where related topics can be shared with the team as well as training for the company. So an exciting TED talk playlist quickly makes the rounds. The selection of the training units should then also be done similarly via a tile optic, which consciously links to streaming services in terms of the type of use and optic. Even mobile end devices such as smartphones may no longer be treated as a purely private matter. So, do everything go digital, give the workforce a full charge of the future and turn science fiction directly into science reality? It’s not that easy, because it depends on strategic orientation and the right balance.
Thinking out of the box instead of crossing the line
The state of constant availability around the clock makes work much easier, of course. However, the constant fire at touch screens, digital mass media and round-the-clock availability also causes a lot of stress and leads to inner exhaustion in the long run. So be careful! As early as 2015, a study by the University of West Ontario showed that the use of smartphones and other gadgets can actually reduce the attention of most people. A recent survey by the Harvard University also confirmed that the concentration of employees without smartphones is 26 percent higher. This is remarkable inasmuch as there have been repeated studies that have shown that after removing a smartphone not only concentration but also nervousness increased, a dead end?
No, but a lot of junctions and detours. The question is: What needs to happen in talent management to optimize workforce performance without stopping digital change? Consumerization has already been mentioned; let’s go a bit further: that’s one option Gamification. Sounds contradictory, after all video games are blamed for the fact that the millennials have been blunted. But the point is not to curb digital offerings at all, but to integrate learning and onboarding under certain aspects in other words, to transfer them from private to professional life. Gamification would be an approach to make the messages more playful and attractive. Employees of the 21st century need short, concise messages with which they can interact just as they are used to from Facebook and Twitter. PayPal, too, is already taking the path of non-traditional learning and has set up a private Facebook group where employees can discuss relevant topics with experts.
Lifelong learning means permanent onboarding
American companies also need to rethink their talent management in a larger context and adapt processes accordingly. Against the background of the high demands of younger employees and especially of highly qualified specialists, learning and onboarding are in particular demand here in order to share, multiply and above all control knowledge in a team.
Due to the digital transformation, companies must offer a wide range of instruments and allow freedom of learning. Everyone has to find the information they are looking for anytime, anywhere using cloud technologies.
This enables companies not only to promote knowledge transfer and exchange efficiently, but also to trigger younger generations. If the baby boomers all retire soon, the companies will have to purify themselves anyway and get by with fewer staff. It is therefore necessary to identify these scarce skilled workers at an early stage and address them in a targeted manner.
Granted: Many companies and organizations have now realized that their employees must have access to the appropriate learning content anytime, anywhere in order to access the right knowledge. To do this, however, personnel management must also be informed about the learning progress of its employees in real time and from any location. For example, many organizations are already beginning to move from a learning library to learning content subscriptions. The Maersk shipping company, for example, has introduced a learning strategy that enables employees to attend important training courses and seminars and network with their colleagues there, regardless of their location in the office or on an oil rig. After all, the digital world knows no boundaries, and neither does digital training. Lifelong learning also means permanent onboarding. A company culture of the 21st century, which brings people and management closer together again and invests in the development of their team, not only appeals to the zeitgeist of the young candidates, but can also keep the existing specialists in the organization for the long term.
Charles Darwin once said that nothing is as constant as change. This wisdom is true, it has always been. This makes people crave security and trusted values all the more in these fast-moving times. At least give your employees this security and the chance to work on themselves.