By 2020, Millennials are expected to be 50% of the workforce, and by 2025 that number will be 75%. This is a generation who grew up with technology, have become social warriors and desire jobs that satisfy them rather than just help them climb to the top. This generation is changing the workforce, and as the needs and desire of employees change, HR companies and professionals will be tasked with addressing the issues that arise from those changing desires.
For HR professionals working in an evolving environment, what are the biggest issues they will face in the coming years?
The way we work is changing. Homes lives are changing. It is now the norm for both parents in a two-parent household to work full-time, and it’s becoming more common for at least one partner to work from home part of the time to help take on childcare responsibilities. This may seem like an ideal situation for both the employee and the employer, but work from home policies means that an employee’s work life can seep into their home life.
It can be hard to tune out work when emails come to our phones, and we are constantly within reach. This new situation is affecting the stress levels of employees and Pew Research shows that both mothers and fathers are stressed due to a lack of work-life balance. As dynamics change, it’s falling to HR professionals to help their organizations develop ways for employees to better balance their work and personal lives.
Work-life balance is something employees, especially those just entering the workforce, crave. Climbing ladders isn’t as important to the millennial generation--they would rather have a job that makes them happy and gives them fulfillment. Implementing policies that help keep lines drawn, reduce employee stress and offer strategies to help cope with this new shift in the workplace and home life is a challenge HR professionals are currently facing and will continue to deal with over the coming years.
Given this new desire for balance and the changing demands of the generation taking over the workforce, Human resource professionals anticipate that retaining the best employees will be the greatest HR challenge in 2022, according to a November 2012 poll by the Society for Human Resource Management.
This is especially prevalent among Millennials who don’t exhibit the same company loyalty once shown by previous generations. In 2016, one in four millennials said they’d leave their company for a new job if given the opportunity, according to a recent survey by global consulting firm Deloitte. To counteract this, HR professionals need to understand what motivates employees, and how to compensate them in meaningful ways that are not always monetary. Many desire appreciation and the desire to grow. According to the previously mentioned survey, 63 percent of respondents said they did not feel their leadership skills were being fully developed, and 49 percent said they thought they were being overlooked for leadership positions.
Finding staff with the right set of skills and personality, and getting them to stay in an organization is a responsibility that falls to HR professionals and will continue to be a challenge as young people continue to enter the workforce.
More than just casual Fridays and holiday parties, a company’s culture affects how colleagues interact, how engaged employees are and how work gets done. It has become a major factor in attracting and retaining talent, and HR plays a key role in helping to create and communicate that culture.
By conducting surveys and inviting ongoing feedback, HR can offer employees a chance to voice their opinions. They can then take that feedback to the leadership team, make them aware of any negative feelings and coach them on how to make positive change. A company’s culture is shaped by the choices and actions of its leadership, and a team that is open to feedback, exhibits positivity and communicates will create a culture that also exhibits those traits.
Establishing a positive company culture will become even more important as employees begin to desire jobs where they are a part of something bigger, feel appreciated and build strong relationships.
Managing these issues as a single HR professional within an organization can be a challenge. If your company is changing faster than you can address, it may be best to bring in an HR company to help develop a strategic plan and create a dynamic, desirable workplace before the changes overwhelm you. No matter the route you take, be sure you are on the lookout for the issues that may arise as the workplace continues to shift and change.