Today's post is courtesy of board member Steffi Burkhart. Um diesen Artikel auf deutsch zu lesen, klicken Sie hier.

Although the baby boomer generation is the largest and most powerful in terms of purchasing power, I would argue that my generation, millennials, are the most influential age group in the digital era. We are the key to solving many of the world and economic problems that lie ahead, not only because we have to somehow fill a huge gap after the baby boomers retire, but also because our mind- and skill sets will be the ones that will help change the economy in a lasting way.

Gen Y, Gen Z: Who are we anyway?

In terms of population size, the millennials are the total of Generation Y (*1980-1995) and Generation Z (*1995-2010) added together. We live in a time of so-called multi-optionality. This means that unlike many of our parents, we do not live through a classic three-phase biography, but multi-graphical: experiencing full-time employment, self-employment, part-time employment, sabbaticals, time spent abroad and industry changes. We're the first generation that's probably going to change jobs eight times. This is at least the assumption of the World Economic Forum. I personally believe more changes will take place. We no longer live a structured life and we want to develop horizontally rather than fight our way up the vertical career ladder over the years. If we feel the need to improve our working environment elsewhere, to develop ourselves further or to create more impact, then we are gone.

While just a few years ago CEO's in large corporations  were role models for young talent and trainees, today these are founders like Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. And while in the past it was possible to attract graduates from elite universities to companies, consulting firms or investment banks - at least for the first few years of their professional lives - today things are very different. Now these younger workers feel that meaning, impact and success are more likely to be achieved through self-employment or starting up a new business rather than through working in large organizations and being dependent on their risk-averse managers.

New impetus in a VUCA reality

So why are millennials going to be the creators of tomorrow? Because today we live in a VUCA reality. VUCA is a term that was coined in 1987 by the U.S. Army War College and stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambivalence. These four phenomena are shaping our times - consider digitization and modern technologies as the VUCA-catalyst. They form a new world that cannot be explained by old textbook theories nor by any previous experiences. Successfully confronting this new reality can only happen if we face it in a different way.

We are already in the middle of creating our new tomorrow: the use of intelligent technology, especially information and data collection and its processing in real time, will enable us to defeat diseases, decode the human genes in just a few minutes for the price of a cheeseburger, push people to make the right decisions, change the complex weather situation, revolutionize agriculture through the use of robotics, and completely redesign energy reduction and production.

However, in order to do all that, these technologies must be researched, developed, programmed and controlled. And who would be more suitable to get this job done than those who grew up in a VUCA reality? Those who have been shaped by the digital world, have a networked and collaborative mindset and the power to interpret the most important mass technology of our time - the Internet. It's us - the Digital Natives. "Pay attention to those who are 30 years old. They are the internet generation. They are the builders of the world," says Jack Ma, CEO of the Alibaba Group.

New thinking

Facebook, Google, and Wework and Co. were either founded by millennials or the majority of the employees belong to this generation. It is noteworthy that the value of these "young" companies is already much higher than that of many "Old Economy" companies. We need more of these new business models, this new way of thinking!

Airbnb is a prime result of "new thinking" when you compare it to the Old Economy: one of the largest hotel chains in the world is the Hilton Group with almost one million beds. It has been around for nearly one hundred years and is worth around 31.5 billion U.S. dollars. The corporate value of Airbnb, a community platform founded in 2008 without a single hotel room of its own, is 35 billion U.S. dollars.

The Airbnb founders have achieved something amazing: They have taken the old principle of "staying overnight out of town", and re-thought and remodeled it, bypassing the most established and centuries-old companies in just 10 years. 

Your experience is worth nothing in an all new world

When the rules of our world change, we need a new way of thinking and behaving. Don't let your organization think and act in hierarchical structures but build networks and use them intelligently to develop into a smart and agile company that can react quickly to market challenges.

If only it were that simple. Many organizations are still stuck in their old ways. In order to develop your organization, cultural change is needed on three levels: technology (digital transformation), structure (organizational design and workflow architecture) and people (employee empowerment, leadership culture, customer-centricity). Only when disruptions caused by hierarchies have been eliminated can mass intelligence develop in organizations. Without us, the millennials, without our ideas and our collaborative and experimental mindset, this change will not happen.


Today's post is written by Kronos Summer Intern, Megan Grenier. Megan is an intern on our mid-market marketing team. She'll be returning to Saint Anselm College this fall where she's studying communications.

My experience as an intern at Kronos this summer has been incredible. I have had the opportunity to learn and do so many new things. One of the most interesting aspects of my work experience - and sometimes one of the most challenging - has been learning to communicate appropriately with colleagues who span many generations.

When I first started, I had to learn many new technologies that I was not accustomed to. Next, I had to learn how each person I work with communicates. I work with fellow Kronites who span Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. It can get a little tricky trying to balance all of the communication styles!

I have had to ask a lot of questions: when should I send an email versus an IM? When is an in-person conversation the best option? Is it okay if I stop by my boss's office unannounced?

With so many questions, I have made a few mistakes: like not hitting “reply all” on an email or starting to work on a task my manager just emailed me about without first telling him that I was available to do so. While I have made my fair share of mistakes, I have learned a lot because of them. Perhaps the biggest two things I have learned is that it is okay to ask questions, and it is better to overcommunicate than to under-communicate.

And so, based on my experience, my two pieces of advice to future interns would be:

  1. Ask as many questions as you need to: It is better to get clarification early on, so you can be led in the right direction, rather than making errors along the way. I have noticed that my managers and coworkers appreciate my consideration, and it makes my life a whole lot easier.
  2. Overcommunicate. My managers always prefer when I give them more information than less. They want to be kept in the loop. So, it is okay if you send them that extra email, they will appreciate it.

Communicating with people in general can be a challenge, but multigenerational communication is a whole new ball game. To learn more about the topic, check out my series The ABC's of XYZ on Kronos's What Works blog, where I dive deeper into these questions, to help bridge the communication divide in a multigenerational workforce.

Today's guest blog is courtesy of one of our summer interns, Marissa Beaudoin.

After reading a recent blog post about “optimizing your millennial employees” (and other countless articles and posts related to Generation Y), I can't help but give my opinion on the matter. Not because of the constant bad reps they're getting, or even the numerous stereotypes about their laziness and poor attitudes, but simply because I am one of them.

As an intern for a global software company, I've been exposed to the corporate world and more importantly, have worked with Generation Y my entire life. Sure, there are always going to be those who slack off, behave inappropriately in the workplace, and simply just make fools out of themselves, but isn't that true of every generation?

In my current intern program, I've met the most intelligent, driven, and quite simply, good young adults. And while there are always going to be others who are not quite as hard-working, I truly believe that us Millennials have a lot to offer. So instead of complaining and focusing on your Generation Y employees' weaknesses, I suggest harnessing their talents in order to be successful in the 21st century. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your younger workforce:

  1. Listen to them. Our generation is extremely talented, creative, and full of outside-the-box thinkers, so when you listen to what they have to say and give them opportunities to voice their opinions, you'll be surprised at what they have to offer your company. Often times, managers continue with the same goals and strategies for decades since that's all they've ever known; but if those ideas are challenged and new solutions are offered, the company can greatly benefit and grow.
  2. Learn from them. Particularly in terms of technology and social media, Generation Y knows a lot. Many times I personally think I don't know much about technology or computers, but after working and interning in several different positions, I've realized that I know a lot more than others. So those younger employees that actually do claim to know a thing or two are most likely the experts.
  3. Give to them. Our generation is constantly receiving feedback in real-time, whether it's receiving grades and feedback in class, or when we're constantly being judged and critiqued by our peers. We are always reflecting on what we do and thinking about how we can improve. I can certainly attest to this, where I find myself ending every email and project with “Let me know if there's anything I can add or change to this”.  While managers may be used to only giving end-of-the-year reviews, Millennials will be able to grow from constant feedback, be it constructive criticism or praise when appropriate.

 

 

Today's guest blog is courtesy of one of our summer interns, Marissa Beaudoin.

1012827_10151807670131115_1501959386_nI once read that college graduates should approach finding a career the same way you approach finding a partner- the only way to find the right job is to go out on a lot of “dates” to try them out and see what they're like.

For a lot of people, this means they will try out a bunch of different jobs, staying at each one for an average of less than four years. This concept of “job hopping” is a nightmare for employers, managers, and HR professionals because it means more hiring, more training, and more expenses. So naturally, the widespread goal is to retain employees so they don't consistently need to be replaced, and this can be achieved by finding the right people for the job.

But how are people supposed to know what they want to do, especially when they're straight out of college? As a 21-year-old college student entering my senior year at a small liberal arts school outside of Boston, I have a general sense of what career I would like to pursue. I have a marketing major and ideally would like to find a career in this field, but I'm not sure if this is what I am going to do for the next 40 years of my life. Did you know what you wanted to do with your life at 21? If so, is it the same thing you've done all throughout your professional career? Probably not.

So then, how can employers avoid this whole “job-hopping” thing if most people have no idea what they want to do after college? Should we cross our fingers and hope we've picked the right job and career? Take a miserable job and stay there until retirement? Simply just not get a job? No, no, and definitely no. The answer is internships.

By now, I'm sure we've all heard or read about the importance of internships and how they're essential for getting hired after graduation. However, as an intern myself at Kronos, Inc., I've been able to better understand the things I'm good at, the things I'm not, and what I'm looking for in a job. So even if I can't exactly say what it is I want to do with my life, my internship has definitely helped guide me in the right direction.

I've also learned that having an internship gives you the opportunity to experience a real-world working environment. You can't teach students in a classroom how to contribute in meetings or communicate with your co-workers- these are the kinds of daily activities that seem so normal to people who have jobs, but for students who have never experienced them, they can be pretty overwhelming.

So many students can benefit from having an internship, and employers can greatly reap the benefits as well. By giving college students the opportunity to get real-world experience and help them narrow down what they want to pursue as a career, they can hire candidates well-suited for their jobs and avoid hiring new employees every few years. Kronos has certainly understood this concept, growing their internship from 20 interns a few years ago, to 54 this summer. And while I still am not 100% sure of what I'd like to do after May 25th 2014, I know I have a much better idea after my internship here this summer.

As the long Labor Day weekend beckons, many of us pause to reflect on our work, where we are in our careers, and how happy we are in our jobs.  I don't know about you, but at this time of year I often experience vivid memories of what it was like to go back to school - new clothes, blank notebooks, endless possibilities for the year ahead.  In today's post, our 0-1 year post college Marketing Specialists reflect on what it's like to make the transition to the corporate environment for the first time.

Hello from the Ground Floor!

For the second installment in the series, we wanted to share some of our initial perspectives and first impressions of life in the working world.  We're each going to take a paragraph or two to describe how the 9-5 life compares to our past experiences, and what we foresee for ourselves in the not-too-distant future.  And, as always, we want everyone to chime into the conversation.  If you're just entering the workforce, what are your initial impressions?  What are you looking forward to?  What challenges do you expect?  And, if you're more of a workforce veteran, what do you think of this influx of young new employees?  What do they need to work on, and what are they doing well?  As you'll see in our perspectives below, anything is fair game.  Enjoy!

Jennifer Earls

Do you recall your first day at work after college?  I remember mine very well, because it was just a few days ago!  Sure, I have had part-time jobs and I have completed internships before, but this is not the same.  Starting my first job is actually a lot like when I studied abroad in Spain.  Once again, I'm the foreigner in a completely different world with its own set of norms and a new language.  Who wouldn't be intimidated when their co-workers are carrying on full conversations solely in ambiguous acronyms, i.e., “FYI, I'll need the RFP ASAP, preferably EOD, although the deadline is still TBD, OK?”  And, could somebody please translate the 401K plans into English?  Although entering the workplace has required many adjustments, e.g., going to bed at the same time as my parents again, I'm slowly getting acclimated to this new way of life.  And the smallest signs that I belong to this new place, such as wearing an office badge with my name and photo rather than the “temporary” one, receiving my first official business cards, and having fellow employees wave to me in the hallway thrill me because they remind me that I will find my place here.  I know that I have a lot to learn, but I also have plenty of room to grow.  As far as I can see, it is only up from here!

Kelley Kossakoski

When I entered college as a journalism major, I hoped that following the completion of my degree, I would become the next Natalie Jacobson (WCVB newscaster for 35 years and alumna of UNH - like me!) or Jackie MacMullan, (Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated columnist, and another UNH alum).   However, mid-way through my collegiate career, I realized that while I loved journalism, I did not want to actually be a journalist, and that instead, I wanted to work in marketing. Upon realizing this, I worried that I had made a critical mistake by choosing to specialize in something that I liked during college, and not specifically in a field that I wanted to enter following graduation.  I felt that I would be at a severe disadvantage by not having the words “marketing” on my diploma, and I wasn't sure that employers were going to be interested in hiring someone who hadn't taken classes that exclusively related to the responsibilities of a marketing job.

Happily, I have already found that having a major outside of your field doesn't matter, so long as you have gained skills in college that are transferable, and that you have the capacity to gain experience and expertise successfully within a particular field.  Not only was I able to obtain a job in marketing, I am meeting people everyday in my department who, like me, did not major in marketing and also have worked in fields outside of marketing.  Within the marketing department here, there are former economists, sales representatives, writers, engineers, scientists, and financial analysts, and all of them have a greater base of knowledge and experience due to their varied educational backgrounds and previous jobs.  I've realized that you are not defined solely by what your title or major declares you to know, and instead, that it is what you learn along the way through your collegiate or professional journey and what you are passionate about, that defines what you do each day.

Greg Scott

Going from my first job (a company of 30 people) to my current job (a company of 3400 people) was, and still is, quite a culture shock.  Whether it's wandering down the wrong cubicle aisle or finding out where the free coffee is, it seems that everyday there's something different to learn about.  After a few weeks with the new job, here are few lessons that are helping me smooth out the job transition:
a)    Have a lot of conversations.  And by conversations, I mean listen.  I learned more about potential jobs from just listening than any website or job board.  Current and past employees can give you a point of view that you won't get anywhere else.
b)    Be a people person.  You don't have to be the life of the party (or meeting), but speak up when you can.  It can be hard to get involved at meetings and into the flow of conversation when you're new, but at any company the employees are the most valuable resource for not only the bottom line but also for each other.  If you're a little nervous or shy about speaking up (everyone is at times), ask a lot of questions and refer to back to the first suggestion.

What works for you?  Post a comment and let us know what you've done that has helped you enter the workforce or switch jobs early in your career.

Guest Blog submitted by: Greg Scott, Jennifer Earls, Kelley Kossakoski

Hello, everyone!  We are excited to introduce you to a unique miniseries at the Workforce Institute, a series of blog posts that will follow the early stages of professional development of three recent entrants into the working world. We'll tackle issues that affect how generations interact in the workplace: technology, communications, perspectives and anything else that we, or you, feel is relevant.  Welcome to the Ground Floor.

So, who are we?  All of us just recently joined the workforce, and are members of a Marketing Employee Development program at Kronos, Inc.  More importantly, we're all from Generation Y (which includes anyone born after 1980).  We may have our obsessions with iPods, text messages and the Internet, but we're also beginning to enter the workforce - in HUGE numbers.  At 75 million strong, Gen Y is the largest generation to come along since the baby boomers.

Let's face it.  The workforce is now more diverse than ever, especially with regard to age.  In fact, 64 million people will be leaving the workforce by 2010.  Conveniently, the largest generation since the baby boomers, Gen Y, is stepping in to fill their shoes.

We're here to share our thoughts and insights on how generations can work together, and more importantly, establish a dialogue on these cross-generational issues.  We want your comments, ideas, and experiences!

limbo-dancing.jpgIn a new article from our board member, Steven Hunt, he talks about the challenges of keeping your selection standards high when the labor market is tight.   He discusses the downside of lowering the bar to increase your applicant pools - increased turnover, decreased morale, lower productivity - and suggests a number of strategies to avoid the adverse consequences of lowering the bar for incoming talent.

While many organizations are competing for talent, one desirable population, the Millenials, may be underlooked.  In a recent BusinessWeek article about the importance of the youth vote this election year, our board member Jared Bernstein is cited as saying Millenials "start lower and grow slower" than their parents did when it comes to employment opportunities in the US as many former middle class jobs have shifted offshore.  Proactive organizations are reviving their college recruiting efforts and making investments in growing their talent from within.  Although their recruitment strategies may be cutting edge (Facebook, MySpace) the employment brand value proposition may still be old school.   It's made clear in the BusinessWeek article that Millenials share many of the same priorities with their parents when it comes to employment - with health benefits topping the list.

What is your organization doing to recruit and develop talent from the Millenial generation?

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