The Future Generation Workplace
Last Friday, I attended the session, The Future Generation Workplace, led by Mika Cross, Director of Work/Life and Flexible Workplace Strategy at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, at the Federal Workplace Expo & Training event in Washington, DC. Ms. Cross led a diverse cross-section of Federal HR leaders in an interactive session on what forces are shaping the future of work. The participants shared insights on the workforce trends that are driving change at their organizations. Considering how much change in technology, demographics, and culture, is affecting the Federal workplace, there was much to discuss. Here are a few of the common challenges and trends that emerged, as well as questions for further discussion:
Mobility and Telework
Federal HR leaders are managing the impact of increased mobility on their workforces. Telework creates opportunities to recruit and retain talent, but also exposes new management challenges. The participants agreed that the underlying issue with telework was not getting the technology to work – it’s the trust (or lack thereof) between remote employees and those in the office. How can HR foster trust and prepare managers to support trust between remote and onsite employees?
Mobility has also created a shift to a performance-based culture because work is measured on outputs and deliverables rather than where the work is being done. Technology allows work to be done anywhere, anytime, and on a flexible schedule, which enables employees and managers to focus on results. Have you seen a shift in focus to results over process at your organization?
Social Media and Recruitment
Social media has caused HR and leadership to lose some control in defining the organization’s employer brand and recruitment strategy. What employees say on social media about their experiences working at that organization will be seen by prospective employees. Job candidates may contact non-HR personnel on LinkedIn to ask for an interview. Everyone is increasingly accessible to everyone and all employees are now brand ambassadors. While that may scare you, it’s great for HR managers who are hoping to recruit non-traditional candidates. What do HR practitioners need to consider when utilizing social media as a recruitment channel?
Adopting New Tech
The most pressing technology challenge most in the room were facing was how to train more seasoned employees on constantly changing technologies. Some employees don’t want to learn something new when they believe it’s only going to change again, or that the way they were doing it was just fine. Managers are also observing a gap in enthusiasm between the different generations in the workforce on that issue. How can HR provide appropriate support for employees with various technical skill levels? Should employees be given choice in what new technologies they adopt?
Millennial Power Shift
There is already a power shift towards the millennial generation in the workforce. Many of them are now managers, and are even managing baby boomers. In general, they value understanding how what they do directly impacts the mission. Has your organization struggled to adapt to millennial employees? And, what are some ways to that HR can help employees from different generations work well together?
One thing was abundantly clear in this session: a lot is changing in the Federal workforce and we cannot continue to rely on old assumptions about how work gets done.
What trends or changes are you seeing at your organization?