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Winning workforce strategies for a new generation of talent

Sharon Florentine | June 23, 2015
As millennials start to flood the IT workforce, organizations must make dramatic changes to their workforce strategies to attract, retain and engage a new generation of talent.

Communicate and collaborate

Hand-in-hand with mobility is a demand for communication and collaboration tools, according to the survey. More than half (57 percent) of respondents view communication and collaboration tools as essential to supporting the millennial shift, and 43 percent say they plan to increase investments in these technologies.

But it's not just millennials who are demanding these solutions; talent from the baby boomer generation that works as consultants or on a part-time or flexible basis, or employees that have full-time remote work situations also benefit, according to Genzler. "Unified communications has already been widely adopted and is widely used by boomers and Generation X. But now there's even greater emphasis on these technologies and different channels for communication and collaboration," she says.

Secure channels

The majority of companies recognize that these new technologies create new security concerns, and 43 percent of respondents consider security management essential to supporting this millennial shift, the survey showed. In addition, 51 percent of respondents plan to increase investments in security management systems over the next year.

"We see a huge increase in investment in security over the next year in response to the shift to remote work and mobile technologies. Millennials don't think about security issues -- they're just not front-of-mind for this generation, and they just expect that antivirus, antispam, patches, all of those measure will just happen without effort on their end. Companies need to make sure this happens -- there's no room for error," Genzler says.

Head in the cloud(s)

Cloud-based email, project management systems, CRM, ERP and other enterprise software systems are already prevalent, so it is no surprise that 40 percent of organizations responding to the survey recognize that cloud computing is a requirement to meet changing workplace dynamics. Forty-nine percent of respondents say they will invest or increase investments in cloud computing over the next year.

"Cloud computing is now a requirement to meet these changing workforce dynamics. The cloud enables mobility, remote work, collaboration and communication, so it's the foundation on which most of these organizations' infrastructure is built," says Genzler.

But it's about much more than just new or improved technology, she adds. The influx of millennials into the workforce requires a significant shift in mindset, management and culture. "The millennial generation is forcing organizations to rethink everything: technology, relationships, culture, engagement, loyalty, retention. What motivates millennials is so much different than what motivates other generations. They want flexibility, work-life balance, purpose and meaning in their work so you also have to focus on those aspects of your organization," Genzler says.

Redefined for a new generation

Outside of technology, organizations need to redefine themselves and emphasize their cool factor, says Jewell Parkinson, head of HR for SAP North America. "When it comes down to it, what we're trying to do is redefine what it means to be 'cool' at SAP. To reach talent that may have heard of us, but who don't believe they'd fit in because we're not a hot new startup; we're emphasizing that the work is fun and rewarding and that they'll be challenged and find mission and purpose if they work here," Parkinson says.


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