Although the competition for customers is fiercer than ever before, the challenge of recruiting and retaining top talent is proving to be one of the most difficult things for companies to do today. As thousands of baby boomers retire every day, taking their knowledge and experience with them, businesses are turning to the younger generations to fill leadership roles in every function. The problem is that younger generations are notoriously fickle when it comes to their career choices, as they have very different priorities than older workers.
In our experience, one of the best ways to attract and retain top talent is by investing in technology that makes your workplace faster, more cohesive, and more enjoyable to work at. Since younger generations grew up with the internet, and in some cases with smartphone technology, they have little patience for DOS-based inventory systems and outdated software. This means that if you want to keep younger employees around for the long haul, you’ll have to make sure that they have the tools they need to perform at maximum potential.
Using Technology to Foster Workplace Connection
Unlike older generations, whose work ethic involves self-sacrifice for organizational goals, younger generations expect to have a better balance between their working and personal lives. In addition to their career goals, younger generations have goals around happiness, good mental health, and social justice, which filters into the kinds of roles they value and the kinds of companies they want to work for.
Although technology may not seem like a major driver of workplace culture and talent retention, the reality is that the kinds of technologies used in your business set the foundation for the kinds of interactions your employees will have. For example, many workplaces have adopted some form of internal chat solution like Microsoft Teams or Slack, which research has indicated offer tremendous productivity benefits. This means that the average millennial, who grew up using technologies like MSN Messenger, will feel much more at home with companies that have invested in group chat technologies.
In fact, one of the top demands among younger workers is a sense of connection. The majority of millennials say that they want their personal values to be aligned with their company’s values, and they want to feel connected to the company’s mission. A big part of facilitating this sense of connection is by giving employees ways to “plug in” to the business and engage with their colleagues throughout the workday, which means that your choice of collaboration software will set the stage for your culture.
Embracing Technological Experimentation
Because the younger generations are so tech-savvy, and because they crave opportunities to make meaningful contributions, one of the best ways you can keep them engaged is by giving them the opportunities to explore and evaluate new technologies on behalf of the organization. For example, having your millennial employees experiment with integrating ChatGPT and other AI tools into their workflows could yield process improvements that save you money while giving younger employees the ability to make unique contributions.
Many of the most innovative companies in the world have adopted some form of this policy, particularly in firms like 3M or Google where employees have some amount of freedom to work on personal projects. Some incredible innovations, such as Gmail and Post-It Notes, came out of the “free time” that employees had to perform this experimentation. Although your organization might not be in the business of creating new products, there is still tremendous potential in allowing your younger employees to experiment with new ways of doing things.
Of course, this requires a level of openness and flexibility within your organization. If retaining younger talent has been a persistent problem for you, it might be the case that younger generations are feeling too stifled in their roles and need opportunities to experiment and make unique contributions. It may also be the case that you need to foster a culture of innovation within your company to encourage the kinds of proactive employee contributions that will ultimately save you money.
The Value of Learning Management Systems
Although people from older generations often view millennials as being lazy or entitled, the reality is that many young professionals are eager to learn and grow. One of the primary motivators for millennial employees is professional development, and the data indicates that companies that offer lots of learning opportunities have a much easier time of retaining them.
However, training is expensive, and learning budgets are smaller than ever before. Additionally, the shift to remote working means that getting an entire team in a room for a training session can be expensive and time-consuming. This means that Learning Management Systems, which collect and organize your intellectual property, best practices, and wisdom from senior employees, are one of the best ways for you to foster a learning culture without having to invest in lots of training programs.
By investing in a Learning Management System, not only do you provide younger employees with on-demand learning opportunities, you provide a platform for your more experienced workers to share wisdom, anecdotes, and best practices in ways that will outlast their time with the company. The accumulation of knowledge that Learning Management Systems facilitate creates a kind of “snowball effect” where your employees are continually sharing, learning, and improving.
Technology & Company Culture
As we can see from just these few examples, the kinds of technologies your business invests in will have downstream impacts on your corporate culture. From creating a space for continual improvement, to facilitating employee communication, and by providing opportunities for employees to share and gain knowledge, technology continues to become a silent partner in everything that businesses do.
Working with Kalmer Solutions
Kalmer Solutions provides managed IT services for the modern workforce. Based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, we support our clients with virtual CIO services, technology upgrades, cloud-based computing, IT support, cybersecurity, the fulfillment of compliance requirements, and more. Our goal is to become your trusted IT partner and add long-term strategic value. Contact us today to learn more about how working with us can transform your business.