Congratulations, class of 2015! Another generation of students are tossing their caps into the air and setting forth into the talent pool. From my home base in Cambridge their elation and optimism is palpable, infectious and admit it: slightly daunting. They live on their smartphones. Most likely that will turn into smartwatches in the blink of a screen.
Technology is so ingrained in every function that you might just call it life, not tech. And they expect tech meet their needs no matter that those needs are, including applying for a job and doing it. That’s what they know, and what we need to know, too.
I’m taking that old buzzword need to know back to it’s original meaning: which is that in HR, we need to know how to strategically transform. (I’m also going to co-opt another buzzword a few bullet points down.) Hold onto your tassel caps: Here are the top four trends that will enable the world of work to finally graduate.
1. Work Is Life: Millennials and Gen Z don’t discriminate between work and life: to them, all tech is consumable, and adoption is based on personal preference, as well as ease of use. From recruiting and search portals to training and other services, the bottom line in user adoption — and engagement — is simplicity. We need centralized portals, with minimal clutter and fluid processes: these will be far more effective (and lasting) than those with multiple pages and countless bells and whistles.
2. Mobile Is Normal: Does the class of 2015 even have the patience to sit down at a laptop and do a job search? Why should they? But it’s not just this generation (that’s a euphemism for technologically up-to-date) that live on their smartphones. For the rest of the world, an enormous chunk of candidates (some 70%) who never even had access to a computer are now getting online on smartphones. That’s their original point of access. If you want them to work for you (and you do): you’d better be mobile, responsive and agile.
3. Big Data Is It: The cloud is an enormous plus for HR that’s literally changed the geography of our ability to function. But at this point we still need to shift from a number of disparate systems, from servers to storage, from data synthesis and predictors to access. In too many cases, legacy processes are still hampering the centrality of Big Data and how we use it. It’s time for a new breed of data analysts, who can harness into metrics and analytics from anywhere. I’ve always loved the DAs, and the fields is hot again: there’s never been such a clear need for people who can create powerful analytics, perceptive business insights and accurate predictors on engagement and retention.
4. It’s Our Disruption, Not Theirs: Here’s my other buzzword re-purpose: disruptive. Let’s stop thinking that mobile, cloud, Big Data and millennials are disruptions: they’re not. We’ve reached a tipping point in HR, when what we deem disruptive is, according to a sizeable population, actually not what’s disruptive at all. The disruptor is our inability to grab and adapt technology. Technology creates its own realities; those that work are adapted; those that don’t go the way of the — fill in your own blank here. That’s why innovation is our friend, and why we should embrace it whole hog. Why not be able to virtually try on a job before you even apply, and spend time in that office? Why not buy your eyeglasses using YouTube? Ready or not: here we go. Catch that hat out of the air and let’s get back to work.