The following post is submitted by Workforce Institute Executive Director Joyce Maroney. Here she reviews recent research examining Gen Z feelings about gig work. You can download an executive summary of the findings here.
This is the second in a series of reports from The Workforce Institute and Future Workplace in which we surveyed 3,400 Gen Z workers across Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. This report expands on surprising contradictions uncovered in part one, â€œMeet Gen Z: Hopeful, Anxious, Hardworking, and Searching for Inspiration,â€ by examining this generationâ€™s perceptions of the gig economy â€“ the good and the bad â€“ to reveal how traditional employers can best compete for Gen Z talent.
While terms like "gig" and "gig economy" suggest a brave new world, sometimes it's easy to forget that temporary self-employment has been around for a long time. What's new, though, is the rise of organizations that have been founded on their ability to mobilize a temporary workforce via technology platforms like Lyft, Wonolo, and Amazon Flex. Workers can log in when they want to be working, and just as easily log out when they don't. They don't get benefits like healthcare, but they aren't forced to work when they don't want to either.
Though there is disagreement about exactly what defines gig work, this Federal Reserve Report on the Economic Well Being of US Households in 2018 provides a instructive breakdown of gig work by age group. In this survey, gig work is defined as "informal, infrequent paid activities" that range from dog walking to selling goods at flea markets. They found that only 5% of 18-29 year olds engaged in work where they found their customers online, but 37% overall had participated in gig work overall.
Our data indicates an even higher participation rate with 46% percent of respondents globally (44% US) in our survey having done gig work. When asked what's appealing about gig work, they cite flexible work schedules (55%) and greater independence (i.e. being their own boss; 53%) as the most appealing aspects of the gig economy.
When asked what they want in a career, though, Gen Z desires the benefits that traditional work provides. Gen Zers would hesitate to go all-in with the gig economy because of unwillingness to give up the stability (47%), predictable pay (46%), workplace structure (26%), health benefits (26%), predictable schedules (22%), mentorship opportunities (17%), and manager support (16%) that a traditional job may offer. They are interested in the flexibility and independence of gig work, yet hesitant to join the gig economy due to lack of stability and unpredictable pay.
This desire for stability and predictable hours and pay has already led to worker strikes and legislative action in some places. Just today, California signed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) into law, to strengthen the rules that define contractor vs. employee status in the interest of ensuring that employers aren't using the former to avoid extending benefits to workers.
What can employers do to appeal to Gen Z candidates? Legislated push back may curb the growth of the gig economy, but it won't squelch the desire of Gen Zs for flexible hours (37%). They expect control over their schedules with 33% saying they won't stick around if they don't have a say over their work schedule. Gen Z respondents in Canada (33%), the U.K., and the U.S. (both 31%) say flexibility to work when, where, and how they want is motivation to deliver their â€œbest work.â€ Similarly, 1 in 4 (26%) Gen Zers worldwide would work harder and stay longer at a company that supports flexible schedules.
While our respondents say job stability is â€œvery importantâ€ (46%), with nearly all (91%) saying itâ€™s at least moderately important, they may not stay long. Twenty-seven percent expect to move on from their first full-time job within two years. Employers who'd like to keep them longer will find ways to incorporate the flexibility advantages of the gig model into their workplace culture.
Today's post comes to us courtesy of board member Julia Hobsbawm and first appeared in Strategy + Business magazine. In it she explains that corporate wellness programs fall short when they fail to include social health in the equation.
If you have bought a pair of sneakers in the last year, or renewed your new gym membership, or downloaded a mindfulness app, you are not alone. The global wellness industry is now a US$3.7 trillion economy, according to the latest Global Wellness Economy Monitor, revealing just how much individuals are investing in their physical and mental health.
Corporate spending on workplace wellness programs is rising too: It is currently estimated at $50 billion globally and expected to grow 7 percent annually to 2025. The boardroom has embraced well-being in the last decade, as employees seek enriching experiences at work and stagnating productivity has shown the need for change.
But despite the cultural and emotional focus on wellness at work, todayâ€™s emphasis on a healthy workplace remains disconnected from management-led solutions and management-focused solutions, and shifts the onus to the employee. The message seems to be: We will help you with your problems, because we are enlightened employers; here are some things you can do. This approach doesnâ€™t acknowledge the more complex possibility that the employer may be a large part of the problem. Further, companies are not measuring whether the programs offered actually make a difference.
The initial findings from an ongoing research program called the â€œIllinois Workplace Wellness Studyâ€ suggest they donâ€™t. The researchers analyzed survey responses from more than 4,800 people in the U.S. and measured 39 outcomes, including productivity, job satisfaction, and individual health spending, and found only two outcomes that improved over the two-year period covered by the study.
Why are so many well-being programs unsuccessful? The answer lies in a critical gap in the way we look at wellness.
When we talk about well-being, we tend to mean physical and mental health and stress relief. We know that key drivers of worker stress â€” which the American Institute of Stress says costs the country $300 billion annually and which in Europe accounts for 60 percent of working days lost â€” include long working hours, short deadlines, and bad management and lead to poor performance and unhappy workers.
Of course, workplace well-being programs that offer counseling, gym membership, mindfulness, and other abstract relief from stress are absolutely to be welcomed, not least as an important signal of the value the company places on the wholeness of a person who comes to work: We arenâ€™t drones or worker bees after all. The growing addition of compassion as a subset of well-being is also good news.
However, these programs often donâ€™t directly address the aspects of work that create stress. That wasnâ€™t always true. One of the oldest corporate well-being programs was established by Henry Ford in 1926, when he reduced the working week from 48 hours to 40, in order to improve worker productivity, and other companies followed suit. Fordâ€™s action may be the most successful wellness intervention for workers, other than actual health and safety regulation. Why? Because management made a decision that acknowledged the impact the workplace itself has on its workers.
We have reason to believe that leaders want to get well-being right, and have happier, healthier, more engaged, and more productive employees, so what gap in current corporate well-being programs can they fill?
I call that gap social health. Every person is wired to be social and to develop relationships and connections. The concept of social health is not new. Itâ€™s suggested in the 1948 constitution of the World Health Organization, which defines health as â€œa state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.â€
Itâ€™s there in black and white, and yet only the â€œphysical and mental well-beingâ€ aspect is addressed by most wellness and well-being programs. Ensuring social health would address the gap in social well-being at work today by focusing on the very essence of how people connect and communicate, with electronic tools and interpersonal skills, to achieve the best we can in the time available.
This is a very complex thing to do in the â€œalways onâ€ era, where the smartphone has killed off any distance between being at home and being at work, and when the technology we need to communicate with one another socially is the same as what we use to get our jobs done.
How well or badly we function in our lives and at work is a health issue. But it isnâ€™t just about personal physical and mental well-being. Itâ€™s about the social context in which that well-being is supposed to be fostered. This means, to quote the 1970s feminist rallying cry, â€œthe personal is political.â€
As Stanford University professor Jeffrey Pfeffer points out in his excellent book Dying for a Paycheck, â€œSocieties will need social movements, or maybe several social movements, that make human sustainability and peopleâ€™s work environments as important as environmental sustainability and the physical environment have become.â€ France recently passed legislation that grants workers a â€œright to disconnectâ€ outside of working hours, specifically to address the issue of information overload.
Until we sharpen our understanding of what wellness at work is; address the complex political issues around deadlines, workload, and management; and embed them in our strategies, we are unlikely to see systemic changes that deliver happy, healthier, and more productive workers.
Today's post, the first in a 3-part series, comes to us from Workforce Institute board member and HR Bartender Sharlyn Lauby.
Weâ€™ve all heard the saying that thereâ€™s more to compensation than our paychecks, meaning that there are non-monetary items of value that organizations provide to employees. These monetary and non-monetary items combine into what is known as the employee value proposition (EVP).
During the 2018 KronosWorks Conference, John Frehse, senior managing director at Ankura Consulting Group LLC, referred to the EVP in a more practical way. He referred to those monetary and non-monetary items as â€œcurrenciesâ€. Not only does the term currency immediately imply value, but itâ€™s possible for organizations to get the point across to employees that currencies involve more than your paycheck.
Here are five different types of currencies that make up the EVP:
What becomes interesting in thinking about these currencies is how employers choose to develop and market their EVP. A few questions that employers might want to regularly ask themselves:
In todayâ€™s competitive recruiting landscape, organizations need to make sure their EVP is competitive and being communicated. Frankly, even in a less competitive job market, it just makes good business sense to promote this information.
Letting employees know the currencies â€“ both monetary and non-monetary â€“ that they will receive helps them decide whether or not to work for an organization. Once hired, providing ongoing communications about the EVP can impact to what degree an employee engages with the organization and whether or not they want to stay.
Today's post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, executive director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos.
Often we don't notice how well something is designed until poor design gets in our way.Â The beautiful light fixture that requires an MIT degree to change the light bulbs. That hard plastic clamshell packaging that can send you to the emergency room if you're not careful removing it.Â Or the website that makes it so hard to find what you are looking for that you give up altogether.
Global research we conducted earlier this year indicated that 48% of employees wish that their workplace technology was as accessible and easy to use as their personal technology.Â That it isn't can be due to a number of factors.Â If organizations rely on obsolescent processes or technologies, their employees are going to spend more time on low value administrative tasks than they should have to.Â Most of those employees are carrying a smartphone that allows them to call a ride, order groceries, deposit a check, or watch a movie with just a couple of keystrokes.Â Many workplace applications suffer by comparison.
Let's assume that your organization has efficient processes, applications that meet your needs, and the desire to give your workers more self service capabilities via their mobile devices.Â One of the key technology terms you need to familiarize yourself with is responsive design.Â What this means is that the web interface for your applications is designed to automatically resize itself for the device a user is accessing it from.Â This is critical if you expect your workers to use their mobile devices for those self service transactions.
My Kronos colleague Keen Hahn, with the collaboration of several of our Workforce Institute board members, authored a white paper that explores responsive design and its impact on employee experience.Â Fear not, this is written for we civilians, not for web developers.
Today's post is courtesy of board member Bob Clements, PresidentÂ at Axsium Group,Â a leading workforce management consulting firm.
One of the hottest topics in HR today is the employee experience, which can be defined as the sum of every interaction between an employee and employer from hire to retire. Creating a great employee experience helps employers attract and retain talent and increase employee engagement along the way.
The employee experience is often confused with employer branding, employee perks or even a new approach to HR. HR professionals struggle to understand what a great employee experience looks like and often lack the right tools and techniques to create one.
The good news is that a similar model exists in your marketing department. According to Gartner, two-thirds of companies believe that they compete, not on price or product selection, but customer experience. Journey mapping has become the technique of choice for those designing customer experiences.
Journey mapping allows marketers to all-but-literally get inside the customerâ€™s head by modeling how the customer feels and behaves as she interacts with the company either in a physical or virtual environment. And, it turns out that journey mapping is just as relevant for designing the employee experience. While the technique remains the same, the subject and her landscape are vastly different.
Journey mapping is an empathetic design process accomplished by putting oneself in the subjectâ€™s shoes. But, what happens when that subject is you? What the employee is seeing, hearing, thinking, feeling and saying is not only fundamentally different than the customer, it is also shackled by bias, fear, and self-interest.
If that werenâ€™t enough, the stakes are higher. The employee is interacting with the design much more frequently than a customer, so the pain points are more poignant. Additionally, the customer may redirect his choices more easily whereas the employeeâ€™s livelihood is tied to his choice to accept or deny his employee experience.
Navigating inferior technology, outdated processes and policies, cultural undercurrents, and the demand of the job is a tangled web. Journey Mapping aims to untangle it. The output isnâ€™t a map, per se, but a list of opportunities. And, those opportunities form the foundation of a great employee experience.
Have you tried journey mapping your employee experience?Â Please tell us about it in the comments section.
Today's post comes to us courtesy of board member David Creelman
Jeffrey Pfefferâ€™s excellent new book â€œDying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance - and What We Can Do About It"Â identifies an important opportunity for American business: stop creating conditions that drive employees to premature death.
Businesses have done a great job improving the physical safety of the workplace. Pfeffer points out that the number of workplace injuries fell by 72 percent from 1970 to 2015. However, the evidence is clear that toxic psychological environments have a serious impact on health. The underlying issue is stress. We know a lot about what creates stress in the workplace and how that affects health. Pfeffer identifies ten factors that damage the health of our people including working long hours in a week, the absence of job control (the ability to control what you do at work and the pace at which you do it) and being in a work environment that offers low levels of social support.
The case for making this a priority is two-fold. The first is about values; companies typically donâ€™t want to harm employees and if they are unknowingly doing so then theyâ€™ll want to stop. The second reason for bringing this to the top of the agenda is that a damaging workplace hurts profitability.
What makes change difficult is that, in the short term, it often looks like we can improve profitability by taking actions which create chronic stress. For example, itâ€™s easy to praise the employee who works very long hours and hard to recognize how that can lead to an environment that, over time, harms productivity. Similarly, itâ€™s tempting to schedule shifts to minimize labor costs this week, not realizing that unhealthy scheduling will undermine performance in the long run.
Pfefferâ€™s recommendation is that we begin measuring the factors that lead to unsafe psychological work conditions and report those to top leadership; just as we report on unsafe physical work conditions. The measurement and reporting on accidents led to the dramatic improvement of physically safety; there is no reason we canâ€™t repeat that success.
If you are a professional who understands the importance of Pfefferâ€™s research, then you need to actively champion it. The normal thing to do, at least for American businesses, is to create damaging work environments; it will take sustained argument to teach leadership how much this is costing them and how that can be changed.
In a recent post entitled Can Artificial Intelligence Make Work Better?, I talk about some of the results of global research we conducted early this year to understand how workers feel about their experience at work and what they feel could make it better.Â On February 21st, I participated in a SHRM webcast entitled Employee Experience Falling Short of Expectations: The Perception Gap You Canâ€™t Afford to IgnoreÂ in which study author Ian Parkes and I discussed the results of this research and the implications those results might have for leaders looking to improve their employee engagement.
If you'd like to learn more about the research, you can watch and listen to a replay of the webcast with Ian and me here.
Later that same day, SHRM hosted a tweetchat to discuss this same research.Â We had 161 people join the conversation, and there was plenty of lively debate about what it takes to create better employee experiences at work.Â If you weren't able to join this SHRM #Nextchat live, you can click here to see all of the comments from the folks who tweeted in response to the following questions:
Q1. Why is there still such a disconnect between employers and employees when it comes to processes such as scheduling and time-off requests? Shouldnâ€™t technology be taking care of all this by now?
Q2. How does your organization manage schedules, and how much control do employees and managers have over their schedules? Â Is this different for different categories of workers (hourly onsite plant worker, an exempt teleworker) or types of scheduling requests (PTO requests, shift swapping)?
Q3. How are you ensuring that your employees are receiving and taking vacation, sick time and other paid time off they needâ€”when they need itâ€”to be productive and healthy and avoid burnout?
Q4. Often managers are slow to recognize burnout in employees or donâ€™t understand the symptoms. How can managers spot it?Â What are the signs?
Q5. What is your organization doing to identify and fix the issues and problems that can cause employee burnout?
Q6. The complexity of working life continues to grow and negatively impact the employee experienceâ€”and, ultimately, retention. Whatâ€™s one thing your organization is doing to make your employeesâ€™ working lives better and to retain employees?
Q7. What technologies are getting outdated in your workplace, and what new technologies are you investigating or investing in to improve productivity and the employee experience?
Q8.Â What advice can you share with other HR professionals about how their role needs to change in the new world of work to ensure that all HR policies and procedures make employees feel like trusted partners in the organization?
Here at Kronos, we recently achieved a terrific milestone that we'd been pursuing for a while - we made the list of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For.Â Â This list is based on a combination of survey responses from more than 315,000 employees rating their workplace culture, as well as an extremely detailed culture audit of employee policies, benefits, values, professional development opportunities, recognition programs, communication processes, community involvement, and more.
This type of recognition doesn't happen by accident.Â Commenting on this award, our CEO Aron Ain said â€œSince 2010 weâ€™ve seen more than a 20-point increase in our global employee engagement scores thanks to continuous and focused investments in our people and practices. Over that same time, Kronos global revenue has doubled. Thatâ€™s not a coincidence. We cannot deliver innovative products or deliver great services to our customers without having great people. Having a culture steeped in trust, transparency, and caring brings out the best in us all, and Iâ€™m beyond proud of what our Kronite family accomplishes together every single day.â€
That our CEO has this level of belief in the importance of employee experience at Kronos provides support for a wide range of investments that our organization has made to attract great people and to ensure they want to stay and build their careers here.Â According to the Great Place to Work research of Kronos employees, 94 percent of Kronites are proud to work at Kronos; 96 percent laud the company for great communication; and 95 percent of Kronites agree they have a great boss.
We know that our people managers are critical to our success, and have invested in their development via ourÂ Manager Effectiveness Index program.Â If you are attending the 2018 Great Place to Work Summit in San Francisco March 7-9, you can attend a session by Kronos Chief People Officer David Almeda and Vice President of Talent Management Kim Nugent to learn about how they developed this program.
You can also learn more about how Kronos creates and maintains our WorkInspired culture from the following posts at the Workforce Institute:
The image above is from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.Â It isÂ the "eye" used by computer system HAL 9000 to monitor a space ship and crew bound for Jupiter.Â Released in 1968, the movie raises questions about what might happen if (when?) the artificial intelligence technology humans develop as tools to help ourselves develop self-determination and a conscience of their own.Â Â At a critical point in the movie, Astronaut Bowman asks HAL to "open the pod bay doors".Â HAL responds, "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."Â HAL's in charge and Dave is on a desperate mission to save himself.
I saw 2001 the year it was released - 50 years ago.Â As a young teenager, obsessed with all things science fiction, I was obsessed with the themes in this movie and the questions it raised about whether there was a limit to how far artificial intelligence technology should go.Â In 2018, we have more questions than ever on this front.Â There is more technology active in our daily lives than we would have imagined possible in 1968.Â There is more debate than ever about how artificial intelligence will change the workplace for workers.
The MIT Technology Review compiled all the sources they could find from pundits opining about how that burgeoning tech is going to impact the workplace and workers.Â Their conclusion? The opinions vary wildly as to what impact AI will have on jobs.Â Some believe that new jobs will be created, others that the need for many existing jobs - or parts of jobs - could be completely eliminated.Â Both of these perspectives are true, depending on the jobs and industries under consideration.Â Strategy consulting firm McKinsey says 6/10 current occupations have more than 30% of activities that could be automated and that globally up to 14% of the current workforce may need to change their occupation by 2030.
We decided to do some exploration of our own.Â In partnership with Coleman Parkes Research, we recently completed a global survey of nearly 3,000 employees across eight nations.Â Our research focused on employee attitudes about their workplaces and their experiences at work.Â We got back a lot of insights aboutÂ their managers, the technology used in their organizations, and their perspectives about how artificial intelligence is likely to impact their jobs.
Overall, we found that four out of five workers can see the potential benefits in AI to improve their workplace experience, but have concerns due to a lack of strategy and/or communication on the part of their leaders.
Here are some of the survey highlights:
Would you like to learn more and/or get involved in the conversation?
Today's post is from Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute @Kronos.
Here at the Workforce Institute, we love stories about organizations that focus on their employees' experience.Â This video story about Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia is a great example.Â One of the employees in this video talks about how much she values working for "a mission minded company that makes a difference in our community".
Goodwill describes their mission as follows:
GoodwillÂ® strives to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by helping people reach their full potential through education, skills training and the power of work.
It's clear that for the employees and community members featured in this video, these are just words on an inspiration poster on the wall.
Today's post is from Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos.
As we have for the past few years, we asked our board members to predict the 2018 global workplace trends that will be on practitioners' minds this year.Â Â You can watch a video of their individual predictions here.Â We've synthesized those individual predictions into five key themes below.
As has been the case in recent years, we continue to predict a growing focus on employee experience as a means of acquiring and retaining great workers.Â We've also predicted the growing importance of people analytics and leadership development in the past.Â New this year are predictions related to artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace and the accelerating workplace impact of Boomer retirement.
Check out our predictions below and let us know what we got right and wrong by commenting on this post.Â Happy New Year to you all!
Workforce Institute Board Predictions for 2018:
The Board Members contributing to the 2018 Workforce Institute at Kronos predictions include:
David Almeda, chief people officer of Kronos Incorporated; Veronica Baz, founder of profesionistas.org.mx and former general director of the Center of Research for Development (CIDAC) in Mexico; Natalie Bickford, group HR director at Merlin Entertainments; Bob Clements, senior principal at Axsium Group; David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research; John Frehse, senior managing partner at Ankura Consulting Group, LLC; China Gorman, a human capital management consultant, speaker, and writer who is former CEO of the Great Place to WorkÂ® Institute and former COO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); John Hollon, editor at RecruitingDaily.com, award-winning journalist, and nationally recognized expert on leadership, talent management, and smart workforce practices; Sharlyn Lauby, The HR Bartender and president of ITM Group, Inc.; Joyce Maroney, executive director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos; Dennis Miller, chief employment officer at Cal Poly Pomona Foundation; Neil Reichenberg, executive director of IPMA-HR; Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and partner and research director at Future Workplace; and Mark Wales, workforce management industry advisor.
For a full list of Workforce Institute Advisory Board Members from the Americas, Europe, and China, please visit workforceinstitute.org.
The following post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute @Kronos.Â
Itâ€™s been a long held belief among HR leaders that people donâ€™t leave companies, they leave managers.Â As a result, many organizations invest in management training and development to mitigate the risk that they'll lose high performing workers as a result of poor management.Â Is this a good investment?
Research published in 2017 from theÂ Smarter Workforce Institute at IBM revealed that the number one reason people left their last job was due to a lack of job satisfaction (40%), with only 14% of respondents saying they had left their previous job because of their manager.Â The research report "Should I Stay or Should I Go"Â , based on surveys of over 22,000 workers globally, found that almost as many respondents (39%) indicated that they left their last job for a variety of personal reasons such as spouse relocation, child care or health issues.Â Â So have we been wrong to put so much emphasis on the role of the manager in employee retention?
Here at Kronos, weâ€™ve made extensive investments in manager assessment and development that are paying significant dividends as measured by high employee engagement and low turnover.Â Â We are winning accolades around the globe for being a great place to work.Â We believe that the role of the manager is critical to sustaining the employee experience that leads to loyalty, retention and great business outcomes.
In order to take a closer look at these somewhat contradictory findings, I invited David Almeda, Chief People Officer at Kronos and Dr. Sheri Feinzig, director of the Smarter Workforce Institute at IBM to join me for a discussion of how to reconcile these findings to the general wisdom that people leave managers, not companies.
I asked them to share their insights on the following issues:
You can listen in on a recording of our conversation below:
What do you think? How important is the role of the manager in an organization when it comes to employees' decisions to stay?
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