What Does the Next-generation Worker Expect from the Modern Employer?
by Martin Nurser, VP and General Manager of Qumu EMEA
March 21 2014 - This is a question that gets asked a lot but the answer is simple: the next-generation worker expects use of state-of-the-art technology, mobile working and the adoption of social media within the enterprise.
Technology provides multiple and creative ways to attract, retain and develop talent and to make a workforce feel connected, involved and valued. This is ultimately what differentiates an attractive employer from an unattractive one to the modern worker accustomed to technology use in their daily lives.
There is an expectation for employers to keep up with the times and embrace tools that facilitate social media within the organisation, such as enterprise video and internal social networks. BYOD is also an expected option, to give employees the means to share, learn and deliver in a more dynamic way irrespective of time and geography. Employers will have to be as comfortable to collaborate via social as their workforce is and they are also expected to have hands-on exposure to the latest technology solutions, to think outside the box and use collaboration for new services, improved employee retention and innovative cost reduction.
Make it Mobile
2013 was the year of mobile. More and more employers have repurposed content for apps, smartphones and tablets to stay connected to an increasingly diverse and dispersed workforce. This is a trend next-generation workers hope will continue and, if they do not already have one, it is key for businesses to consider adopting and developing a BYOD policy to protect company data but also their people's personal devices.
An organisation that enables its workforce to collaborate via mobile devices is one that empowers its workforce as it gives them the means to communicate better and more effectively. It will have an efficiency advantage over a business that does not do this and limits its employees in terms of where and when they can work. Mobile devices allow people to access and share information at locations and times that suit them and have unique capabilities that allow new ways of working that were previously unthinkable. We can now make use of small amounts of time that would otherwise be unproductive, like waiting at airport lounges or sitting on a delayed train. This does not only creates the conditions for remote employees to work effectively and efficiently wherever they are but it also aids the fulfillment of business objectives.
The Lure of Video
People will be attracted by an employer who has the technology in place to connect them to the wider company, to communicate with colleagues across all time zones and locations and to make executives more approachable and give them visibility to their skills and abilities. More and more companies believe that live webcasting in particular has become a huge communications driver for executives who oversee change and they webcast all-hands meetings live so that employees who miss the show can catch up later at their convenience through an on-demand function. This way, information which used to be packaged for a select audience only, is offered internally as a live program to all employees. This maximises the reach of internal communications and delivers messages and content in a much more personal and engaging manner, creating a sense of belonging and loyalty.
Beyond the Hire
Young people look to employers who do not stop at hiring but who also focus on enabling personal growth by releasing the potential of people working for them through training and development. Employees of value inherently want to grow within organisations they join and business leaders can invest in their workforce by leveraging modern technology. Video for instance is a tool that achieves this and is being used more and more to provide training, allow knowledge transfer and increase the effectiveness of communications. Businesses who have taken the step to embrace video as a method of communication have seen huge return on investment, through areas such as higher employee engagement, better trained staff and a workforce that feels more in touch with the company its vision. The next-generation worker is attracted to such environments where video is an easily accessible tool, having grown up with video playing a daily role in their personal lives through YouTube and the proliferation of video across the channels through which they engage.
When advertising and promoting jobs, more and more companies have started producing "A Day in the Life of" videos which show what it is really like to work for that company. These videos, which have proven very popular, get posted to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, add faces to voices, address the issue of transparency and they also create a more engaging user experience. They also provide a dynamic and interactive way to manage a company's on-line reputation, share success stories, highlight useful information and to allow people to start a dialogue. More importantly, a message delivered by someone you can see comes across as more authentic than a written message and stays with you longer. Video offers a way to communicate not just a message but a culture and an identity in a visual and engaging way.
In conclusion, employees make the reputation of any business; they are internal customers and their jobs are internal products. Their needs and wants are just as important as those of your external customers. Having happy people working for you will translate into happy, returning clients.
Ultimately being an innovative employer, that invests in its workforce and makes that truly part of the organisation, will see long term benefits that will more than deliver against the investment.
Martin Nurser, Vice President and General Manager of Qumu EMEA, brings more than 25 years of enterprise and technology industry experience with emphasis on engineered systems and cloud technologies. He is a leading expert in channel and strategic alliance development and management, go-to-market planning, as well as market segmentation and business strategy formulation. His most recent corporate position was Director of Alliances and Commercial Development at CSC, a leading global provider of consulting and outsourcing solutions. Martin was instrumental in the development of a strategic alliance between CSC and Oracle. During his tenure, the CSC Oracle practice realised unprecedented business growth across EMEA. Prior to that, he has worked and consulted within the IT, Retail and Food & Drink industries. Martin has held a variety of board level leadership roles, including Sales and Marketing, Product Development, Business Development, and Operations.