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How do I address the needs and wants of the modern workforce?

As Gen-Z enters the workforce, five generations are now set to work side-by-side for the first time in history. With millennials due to make up 50 per cent of the workforce by 2020, organisations are tasked to re-think their engagement and development approach to meet the variety of needs and wants across their multi-generational workforce.

While on the surface this appears an intimidating task, the mix of values, experience and shifting expectations can in fact empower organisations to be stronger than ever before.

Defining the fundamentals of your organisation’s employee engagement is one of the most important elements of modern business. Integrating universal preferences of career development, innovation and flexibility is now a core part of that strategy. Without them, your firm will struggle to attract and retain talent, no matter how great your product or service is.

The gift of flexibility

At one point or another, all employees have wanted more time back, which is partly why flexibility has become such a precious commodity for people in the workplace. Flexible working is a key consideration for millennials when applying for a new role, with a study showing 70% favouring employers who offer the option. Employers can embrace new technologies to facilitate this need by enabling employees to work wherever and whenever they need to.

With technology available to meet cyber security needs and permit decentralised working models, HR departments can now put into play flexible working policies. By providing employees more control over their hours and the location they are working from, a culture that helps everyone make the most of their time is born. Recent research by AAT saw flexible workers showing greater productivity than in traditional working environments and take less leave. 

Innovative learning techniques

As certain skills and roles evolve rapidly against the tidal wave of technology, employees are looking to their organisations for training programs to support self-directed learning to upskill or reskill at the speed of need. Companies looking to tackle this can invest in technology that collects analytics to allow leaders to identify specific skills gaps in their workforce and create tailored training to encourage workers to upskill effectively.

It is crucial that companies use AI-powered online learning platforms that allow workers to feel supported in their career development. Such platforms design and tailor learning models pertinent to each worker’s own unique style to help them attain their objectives. As organisations accelerate the trend to adopt a more millennial collaborative and coach style model, employees can use this platform to create and share knowledge digitally within teams and organisations so that information and skills can be shared across the workforce. By encouraging the use of online learning platforms, leading organisations can connect their workforce to be more connected and foster a workplace which stimulates greater productivity, creativity and innovation. 

Regular performance feedback

Younger generations are increasingly more interested in a workplace where career growth is a constant necessity. They look to organisations who measure the KPI that drives all others – their teams’ skills. You can’t manage what you don’t measure so for organisations to address skills gaps in minutes not weeks or months, they should use an AI-powered platform to identify and consequently plug gaps in real-time.

Upon hiring a new millennial employee, businesses should be able to outline a path to meet their career trajectory and hand them the tools to make their development flourish. To stay on track with this need, frequent feedback and responsive communication from seniors on performance is encouraged. Feedback is a reinforcement of your employees’ impact, helping them feel their progress is being adequately measured while making them feel valued as a member of the team. A digital learning platform that utilises real-time analytics to track and analyse development progress of employees means that managers can provide more accurate and productive feedback for workers.

While the needs and wants of workplaces are changing, firms must choose to view this as an opportunity to implement a culture where continuous learning, development and effective management supports your entire workforce. If you are on the frontline of a business making the switch to meet all your workforce’s needs, the time to make your platform decision is now. Make the right choice today to never give your employees a reason to look elsewhere.

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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