New era, new generation, new technology: Time for new HR strategies

New era, new generation, new technology: Time for new HR strategies

Technology is everywhere today. It has become deeply entrenched in our daily lives and in paperless and wireless workspaces. These new tools have also been a boon to organisational communications, both internal and external, making our lives a lot easier.

This new era also has been marked by the entry of digital-by-default generations into the workplace. They possess entirely different characteristics than other generations in the workplace. While those from Generation Y are optimistic, Gen Z workers tend to be pessimistic due to the fact that they grew up in the post-9/11 world and came of age in a time of fear and awareness of vulnerability.

Additionally, Gen Z workers are incredibly tech-savvy yet lack interpersonal communication skills because they tend to be more cautious and security-minded. They are hyper-connected and entrepreneurial, but they will lack corporate loyalty, unlike Baby Boomers who are now retiring. These characteristics could eventually lead to nightmares for HR professionals unless they are prepared with the right strategy and the appropriate tools in hand.

To deal with the rise of the new generations in the workplace, HR professionals can no longer adopt the usual practices. Instead, they need to incorporate technology into their HR strategies accordingly.

Before delving into these new strategies, keep in mind that the workforce we will see in the near future will not only include only Gen Z or digital natives, but also Gen Y would still be the dominant presence, whereas older Gen X and some Baby Boomer staff would remain as advisers. The new HR strategies, thus, need to embed a lot of adaptation and flexibility in order to not only attract but to retain talents from each generation and to manage your multi-generational workforce.

What follows are a few examples of ways to incorporate technology into HR practices.

Initially, for recruitment, organisations must find different approaches for attracting newer generations. Being tech-savvy by nature, Gen Y and Gen Z would normally post their resumes and professional qualifications online. As a result, many companies have shifted to using recruitment agencies that feed them candidates’ applications throughout the year. In addition, organisations should have appropriate recruitment tools and selection procedures in place. For example, an online assessment to evaluate a candidate’s qualifications and knowledge might be used prior to an interview.

Apart from recruiting and selecting potential employees through online job classified websites or other social media channels such as LinkedIn, HR departments using new technology can manage employees’ profiles at a much faster pace by collecting all data – from taking leave to filing petty cash request – in one centralised source. Clearly, making use of technologies can help speed up HR practices for the sake of the HR professionals themselves as well as for the employees.

Moreover, despite the fact that many HR practitioners have long complained about Gen Y showing little to no corporate loyalty, Gen Z will definitely double the pressure. According to research into the digital-native consumer by Martin-Wilbourne Partners, Generation Z regard products as more important than the brands; thus, they are willing to change brands easily in a search for higher quality.

The implication of this finding is that the new generations could be easily attracted by an appealing employer brand (a set of explicit or implicit promises about the working culture, the opportunities it offers, and the way it treats its people) through attractive images of the work environment as well as striking blurbs on the compensation and benefits posted online. However, they still would have absolutely no hesitation in changing jobs if the reality doesn’t match or live up to what they expect from the brand promises.

What’s more, since social media play a big part in the lives of Generation Z, it is certain that they will use these channels to communicate and offer feedback to their friends if their employer fails to deliver the expected experience. What HR can do is not only to respond to whatever was posted about the organisation, but also it can use the power of social media to boost reputation and brand awareness as well.

Despite the fact that the new generation will definitely bring new technology into work and create many changes in the organisation, remember that they can bring positive momentum as well. Hence, it is the responsibility of HR professionals within the organisation to incorporate technology and use its benefits to advance their own performance, be it selecting, recruiting, retaining and so on.

In other words, it is about choosing, mixing and matching the right technology to the right generations as well as adding the final human touch to that high technology in order to accelerate human resource performance.

My final question for you all HR professionals: is your HR strategy ready for the digital-born generations?

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Arinya Talerngsri is Group Managing Director at APMGroup, Thailand’s leading Organisational and People Development Consultancy. For more information, write an e-mail to arinya_t@apm.co.th or visit www.apm.co.th

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