For decades, RainmakerThinking’s ongoing research has been tracking profound changes in the workforce and the workplace. The nature of work and employment is dramatically changing. The worldwide business environment has become one of fierce competition, high risk, erratic markets, constrained resources, and unpredictable resource needs. Organizations and individuals are forced to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of constant change and uncertainty.
Employers of all shapes and sizes are constantly trying to become more lean, flexible, and high performing. Downsizing, restructuring, and reengineering are now accepted as constants of the workplace – taken for granted now as “continuous improvement.”
The myth of job security is dead. Organization charts are flatter; layers of management have been removed; reporting relationships are more temporary; more employees are being managed by short-term project leaders instead of “organization chart” managers. Employees today are much less likely to believe employers’ promises about long-term rewards. The free-agent mindset is now the prevailing workforce mindset.
And there is no going back.
What has led to this dramatic shift in workforce values? What we call the Great Generational Shift – the number one factor affecting the nature of the workplace and human capital management today.
Today, less than 1% of the workforce is made up of those born pre-Baby Boom. Now the aging Baby Boomers (30% of the workforce) are creating an age bubble on the older end of the workforce. As they steadily leave, they take with them skill, knowledge, institutional memory, relationships, and the last vestiges of the old-fashioned work ethic. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a growing youth bubble emerging with the Second Wave Millennials (born 1990-2000), already 14% of the workforce, following on the heels of First Wave Millennials (born 1978-1989), already 28%. In the middle, caught between the age bubble and the youth bubble, is Generation X (27%), now the prime age workforce.
Bring in Bruce Tulgan to share the latest research in RainmakerThinking’s ongoing study of human capital management strategies. Bruce will arm senior executives, HR leaders, and hiring managers with the leading strategies and tactics to leverage human capital in your organization:
Based on our ongoing human capital management research and his acclaimed book WINNING THE TALENT WARS: How to Build a Lean Flexible High-Performance Workplace, Bruce Tulgan provides powerful insight and concrete takeaways to move your organization toward lean, flexible, high-performance human capital management.
Develop strategies and tactics to meet staffing challenges.
Plan an effective employee recruiting campaign.
Improve employee selection practices.
Build a cutting-edge employee orientation program.
Set priorities for training and development of employees.
Strengthen performance management systems.
Tie rewards and incentives more closely to performance.
Increase the retention of high-performers and turnover of low-performers.
Implement a knowledge-transfer process.
The labor market may fluctuate, but the number-one asset in any business will always be human talent. Organizations that are great at managing human capital will be able to get more work and better work out of every employee. They are able to improve productivity and quality, while responding quickly and effectively to ever-changing business conditions. The worldwide business environment has become one of high risk, erratic markets, and unpredictable resource-needs. In order to adjust, organizations of all sizes must continue to become more lean and flexible.
Competition is fierce. Margins are slim. Windows of opportunity are narrow. The only thing that matters is return on investment. In this environment, it matters a whole lot less where you’ve been and what you’ve done. And it matters a whole lot more what you can do very well very fast today, tomorrow and next week.
Traditional sources of authority are being supplanted by new sources. Seniority, age, rank, and rules are diminishing. Organization charts are flatter; layers of management have been removed. Reporting relationships are more temporary; more employees are being managed by short-term project-leaders, instead of “organization-chart” managers. On the rise as sources of authority, are more transactional forms such as control of resources, control of rewards and control of work conditions.
Organizations nowadays simply must be able to respond quickly to ongoing changes in the marketplace. One of the basic strategies for achieving this flexibility has been a fundamental change in employment practices, away from long-term stable employment relationships and toward a more efficient supply-chain management approach—known as human capital management. The goal is to optimize human resources: That means having the right people in the right places at the right times, employing them exactly as long as you need them and no longer, and paying them the market value of their contribution and no more.
Employers today are more likely to undertake major business changes that eliminate jobs regardless of employees’ length of service; such changes include mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, restructuring and liquidations. As well, employers are more likely to implement new technologies that eliminate jobs due to reengineering. Meanwhile, there is a strong trend among employers of hiring fewer “employees” (full-time, exclusive workers), while hiring more contingent workers; and employers’ staffing strategies for the future reflect this change. As a result, “employees” are diminishing as a percentage of the overall workforce, while the percentage of contingent workers is increasing.
Employers are less likely to award status, prestige, authority, flexibility, and rewards on the basis of seniority; and employers are more likely to award status, prestige, authority, flexibility, and rewards on the basis of short-term measurable goals. As well, employers are reducing long-term fixed pay as a percentage of overall employee compensation, while increasing the percentage of variable performance-based pay; and employers’ compensation strategies for the future reflect this change. Part of this new compensation strategy includes a reduction in the percentage of employee “benefits” (paid for by the company for full-time, exclusive workers) in relation to overall compensation. Further, employers are increasing the percentage of “employee services” (paid for by the worker on a pre-tax basis); such services include health insurance and retirement savings. Because of these new realities, employers are now less likely to make formal or informal guarantees about continued employment and job security.
The revolution in workplace values and norms will continue. Business leaders and managers are going to be scrambling for the foreseeable future to get more work and better work out of fewer people, consistently. The pressure will be on to hire the best person for every role at every level and then manage every person aggressively to reach higher levels of productivity.