The workplace is changing in ways not due entirely to the introduction of new technologies or new philosophies of management. The workforce itself is changing. As millennial and Gen Z talent enter the job market in rising numbers, a dramatic generational shift is taking shape, bringing workers who are more connected to the world and their communities — and who thrive when those same ideals of collaboration, flexibility, sharing and communication are present and reciprocated. The members of this new era will represent 46 percent of the entire workforce within the next five years. By 2025, they will have taken their place as the uncontested majority at 76 percent.
Because talent today have such an affinity for online interactions and digital socialization, Google dubbed them Generation Connected, or Gen C. It also added a fascinating wrinkle to its explanation: “Gen C is a powerful new force in consumer culture. It’s a term we use to describe people who care deeply about creation, curation, connection, and community. It’s not an age group; it’s an attitude and mindset defined by key characteristics.”
Gen C is not an age group
It’s the last part of this definition that matters most. In the staffing industry, so much debate has centered on Millennials and their “unique attributes.” And yet, when you pore over the volumes of research, opinion, prognostication and presumption, you begin to realize that many of the same qualities were used to describe Generation X, or even Boomers when they were headed into their 20s. The most interesting distinction about Gen C is that it can, and does, encompass professionals across generations — young men and women just starting their careers to mentally and physically vibrant 65-year-olds. All of these people now lead online lives. They rely on technology to accomplish their work, both on the job and at home.
“A better approach,” writes Allison Schoop in HBR.org, “is to design for archetypes that are representative of certain attitudinal and behavioral traits, and then combine these with social, market and emerging technology trends—all things that transcend age or generation.”
And these workers, regardless of age, possess the skills that various employers need. The younger, extremely tech-savvy talent bring their “digitally native” grasp of new and emerging tools to businesses focused on innovating and competing. The more mature (yet also technologically adept) professionals offer experience, wisdom and leadership abilities that have also fallen into short supply.
In both cases, these groups are increasingly turning to non-traditional employment arrangements to satisfy their work-life goals. Still, a glut of unfilled job openings and perceived shortage of available talent blight the employment landscape. In many ways, the problem would seem that Generation Connected feels a strong sense of disconnection — and that’s especially distressing in an era where networks and relationships mean so much. The issue isn’t just affecting people who endured cutbacks or suffered bad management during the recession and its anemic recovery. According to the results of LinkedIn’s 2015 Talent Trends survey, the disconnection could be springing up much earlier — during the hiring process itself.
In the first part of this series, we’re going to discuss how elite staffing curators form critical connections with Gen C talent at the first point-of-contact. And in the second part, we’ll show you how they connect these in-demand professionals to MSP programs.
Disconnecting before connections even form
Consider when interviews have gone well, yet no information about them reached the candidate. Talented professionals will lose interest immediately. And when communication stops altogether, Gen C workers are incredibly likely to discuss their negative impressions across social media and professional networks. Today, our employment experiences and observations are more visible and impactful than in days past. Candidates who feel scorned may withdraw their applications, not consider applying again for better fit positions, or even encourage their colleagues to avoid that company. The opposite is equally true. When recruiters make the effort to deliver constructive feedback and follow-up interactions, they keep talent engaged and connected — and those candidates, even when rejected, can convert to advocates of that organization’s employment brand.
Failing to carry out meaningful discussions and keep applicants aware of their status in hiring process can be detrimental to a company’s reputation, with lingering consequences. The reality is that people talk. And today’s digitally connected world allows them to talk a lot louder, to a broader spectrum of people, and reach a significantly larger audience.
Keeping Gen C connected
Today’s hiring managers and corporate recruiters are stretched thin. As we wrote during the first week of June, “time poverty” has taken its toll on many companies. The beauty of an MSP program for time-strapped, overwhelmed clients is that it unifies technology, people and processes. MSPs bring the humanization of human resources through careful data analysis, tracking and reporting of performance, compliance with labor regulations, cost containment, and a high-touch approach that cultivates interactions and engagement with talent. More crucially, they and their staffing partners have the time to focus exclusively on the needs of talent — whether those workers are active candidates, passive talent or onboarded members of the team.
One of the biggest paradigm shifts occurring in the staffing industry is the expanding presence of a blended workforce within organizations of all shapes and sizes. As the categories of workers grow more disparate and, at the same time, more integrated into a single business environment, the process of managing their needs, expectations and roles also becomes increasingly complex. Time poverty and the introduction of new types of contingent workers are weighing down corporate hiring teams. It makes more sense now to consider the power an MSP delivers for managing this new labor force.
Together with their staffing curators, MSPs provide feedback to candidates in productive and engaging ways. And because they’ve committed themselves to sourcing and researching the goals, aspirations and needs of their prospective talent, they know the best ways to connect with them: via phone, email, social networks, and so forth. Their natural drive is to develop and coach talent. So they bring to their connections the added value of showing them clear paths to success with their feedback: how to refine their resumes, perfect their interviewing skills, gain more skills in certain industries or fields, set clearer career goals, develop more targeted strategies, and more.
As workforce thought-leader Lou Adler observed, the key to success is to “dismiss the idea that hiring is a zero-sum game where one person wins and everyone else loses.” With the growing disconnect plaguing today’s Gen C talent, MSPs and their staffing curators have a pivotal opportunity to help employers renew relationships with amazing workers and keep them connected. In the second part of this series, we’ll look at the ways they’re achieving this.
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