The employer-employee deal is changing. #AreYouReady ? ;)

January 24, 2019 - Management - Hiring - Workplace Trends

There are many shifts happening in today’s working relations. Companies are challenged on the way they attract, manage and engage with staff. Some of the main reasons are: generational change, technology, new forms of collaboration and worldwide competition for Talent. Let’s take a closer look.

Generational change: it has already happened

Young generations are better educated than ever before, and people born after 1982 are now the biggest generational cluster in the workforce.

In their (yes I am a GenX myself, not one of those cool GenYs) view, work is not a purpose in life, it’s the company which needs to have a purpose. Skills are more and more a commodity: today it’s the fit between the candidate and the company on values and culture that comes first. This means that having a distinctive culture, which appeals to exactly those who we want to work in our companies, is key for talent attraction and long-lasting relations.

New staff will choose your company based on your purpose, your corporate identity, a distinctive and well-described culture.

Existing staff will stay on because you are not only convincing about culture but because you are living and constantly nurturing your stated values in the company.


Key question: is your company investing first and foremost in tools and methods for millennials, or is it still based on 40+ year old staff’s mentality?

Ignoring the digital transformation: a professional crime

Human beings always invented new and better ways of doing things. The wheel was invented to save time and energy, while accelerating processes. That’s what computers do too.

It’s foolish and dangerous for any business to ignore the opportunities brought by the digital revolution. For instance, any candidate can get tons of information about your company in a few seconds, so it’s essential that you pro-actively and intentionally decide what you want them to see, how you share it and how to take advantage of the same technology when looking for Talent.

The classic view on hierarchy is often seen as a preventing factor, and not only by younger generations! Staff now want to work together based on a pragmatic mix of competencies, independently of the “rank” or number of years somebody had been working in a company. Many young and youngish professionals are allergic to the hierarchy pyramid, they prefer the working place to be a pizza: different ingredients, good mix, all flat and easy, and of course good. Which doesn’t mean they lack ambition, it’s just that it’s more based on learning new skills and achieving results, together.

And of course the new tools are a competitive advantage: knowing how to choose and use them, knowing how to improve your products and services thanks to new technologies is a competitive advantage.


Key question: what is the digital readiness of your staff and your top management?

New forms of collaboration: inside & outside

In addition to enabling new ways of finding and engaging with Talent, technology also allows new ways of working together. Sitting together in a room is not the standard anymore, teams are very often a blend of on-site and remote people working in co-creation mode. Which means that the capacity of working with others becomes a key factor for success.

New forms of employment are here: research from Gartner says for instance that 30% of US workers will be part of the so-called “gig” economy (mix of independent/freelance and employed, having several professional identities, switching between projects etc.) within 4 years from now. The same is happening around the world. So companies need to be able to combine “classic” employment contracts with short-term, project based mandates, as well as tactical outsourcing of highly specific, non-core activities.

The shift also happens to jobs: it’s much more about key skills and competencies than about functions and professional roles. New tools and software solutions are able to assist companies in mapping these very clearly, to compare skills and competencies and to find optimal combinations for new project teams, for instance.


Key question: Is your company ready for less “standard” working arrangements and career paths, and do you know where you need to become more flexible in this regard?

Competing for Talent: no borders

In today’s world, most companies have understood the benefits of diversity, when it comes to the generation of new ideas, conquering new markets and offering a more attractive employer brand.

Through Erasmus and similar initiatives around the world, students have been able to discover other cultures, with the result of international work mobility being much more fluid in the last decades.

The result of this evolution goes both ways: a) Companies now expect candidates to have some international exposure, and ideally work experience; b) Candidates now expect companies to give them some international exposure and work experience, to help them stay employable.

Sourcing and staffing of Talent is therefore global, except when the local language or an intimate knowledge of local specificities are key. In general, anyone can see an opening and apply, and international relocation is not prohibitive. Sourcing of Talents is being erected to a new profession, and there is a boom in sourcing software.

But at the end, it’s still the 3D (or as we older people say, face to face) moment that defines who you hire (as a company) or which company you choose (as a candidate)…


Key question: are you leveraging all the new sources (geographically, in terms of technology, in terms of sourcing channels) for your recruitment and staffing activities?

In conclusion, there are different degrees of exposure to the worldwide competition for Talent. However, ignoring the vast opportunities offered by new technologies, the highly skilled workforce now available and the benefits of new ways of working would be a gross mistake for companies that have the ambition to develop and thrive.

To start with, it’s probably good to focus – which are your priorities in this regard? The task may seem vast for some, but as Laozi put it: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

#NewindHR #HRDoctors #CultureIsKing #DigitalLeadership #Smart-sizing #SanityCheck #AreYouReady

Frode Hvaring

Frode Hvaring

Managing Partner at Newind
Frode Hvaring is a Leadership, Culture and HR expert, who held various COO and global Head of HR roles and teaches Global Leadership and HR in Swiss and French Business Schools.

Frode is Managing Partner in Newind, a Leadership and HR Consultant firm based in Geneva and Singapore.

He coaches leaders and advises companies on Organizational Agility, Digital Transformation, Culture optimization, and Mergers & Acquisitions across different cultures and industries.
Frode Hvaring

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