The Changing Workplace, Talent Wars and the Millennial Perspective

Topics: Future of Work Organizational Structure Talent & Workforce

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Pervasive information-sharing and connectivity are transforming the structure of business, society and work, and with it the nature of the employer-employee relationship. As the millennial generation enters the workforce, they bring their own view of the role of work and career in their lives, along with high expectations of technology and collaboration. The Americas Chapter of the Roundtable on Digital Strategies convened at the San Francisco headquarters of Levi Strauss & Co. to discuss these trends and their impact on winning the talent war. Participants in the session included CIOs and HR leaders from ARC, Chevron, Eastman Chemical, Eaton, Levi Strauss, Sysco, and Tenaris, along with Executive Fellows and the Directors of the Center for Digital Strategies of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Many of the companies also invited millennial colleagues to gain the generational perspective on what it takes to be a successful attractor and retainer of talent in the face of enterprises’ increasing need for speed, agility, and flexibility.

The Roundtable on Digital Strategies meets four times a year to discuss a specific business issue or theme. In focused discussions that cut across organizations and industries, participants from noncompeting member corporations examine meaningful business issues and topical challenges that they have in common. They come away from the day-long experience with new ideas and new approaches to specific challenges—the kind of creative assessment that arises only from diverse perspectives.

Key Insights Discussed in this Article:

  • Employers need to shift their mindsets. As the technological pace of change continues to accelerate, more and more jobs are shifting from defined to dynamic. The millennial generation can keep up with technology; companies need to keep up with the millennials.
  • Millennials value community, interesting and challenging work, and having impact as much as the current generation. Generational culture clashes can arise over career velocity and perceptions of disruptive technologies, but magic happens when millennials mesh with baby boomers.
  • Millennials’ primary career driver is to learn and grow. Savvy employers can replicate the perceived benefits of the gig economy within the four walls to capture short- and long-term productivity from this generation.
  • Leaders need to organize, commit, and invest. The pace of change — technical and career — is too much for traditional processes. Keeping up is expensive and difficult, but the alternative is extinction.
  • If ever there was a time for IT to lead the way, that time is now. Technology has evolved from enabler to differentiator, the new workforce is tech-dependent, and leaders in every area of the business need tech expertise: transformational IT leadership has never been more important.

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