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Generation X: The Workforce's Neglected Middle Child - from Projections, Inc.

Generation X: The Workforce’s Neglected Middle Child

In the past decade, media and HR departments have focused on the incoming wave of Millennials and the outgoing Baby Boomers. Meanwhile, Generation X workers have gone largely overlooked. Currently in the majority of leadership roles globally, Gen Xers are the ones changing the nature of work. This examines the under-appreciated impact of this generation in the workplace.

Generations in the Workforce

The “Baby Boomers” are those in the generation born between 1946 and 1964. Though no universally accepted timeframe exists for the following generations, the term “Generation X” generally applies to those born between 1965 and 1980. “Millennial” refers to those born between 1980 and 1995, give or take a year.

In 2015, Millennials inched past other generations to become the largest part of the American labor force, when they made up 32.0 percent, compared to 31.2 percent for Gen Xers and 30.6 percent for Boomers. Their percentage of workers continues to climb as Boomers retire.

Despite their fewer numbers, Gen Xers increasingly hold positions of power in the workforce. They currently hold 51 percent of leadership roles globally, with an average of 20 years of work experience.

Generation X in the Workplace

Generation X experienced unique circumstances growing up. Their youth as well as their present day lives formed certain characteristics.

Independent and Entrepreneurial

Gen Xers were latch-key kids who came home from school to an empty house. From an early age, they were on their own to organize their time, with the freedom to make decisions. As a result, this made many managers from this generation independent in their management style. And, they are more entrepreneurial: 55 percent of start-up founders are from Generation X. This independence also makes them ideal leaders in a union-free organization.

Technically Adept

This generation built the bridge from analog to digital. They grew up in a computer-free world but were still young when the Internet exploded. They’re technically savvy on par with Millennials. And Gen Xers use social media more, with 81 percent on Facebook. They’re more likely to use tech to engage with the world and keep track of their Millennial children.

Hyper-Collaborative and Excellent Communicators

Gen Xers are frequently the glue holding together multigenerational households. More Millennial children live at home longer and aging Boomer parents require caretaking. Sixty-seven percent of Gen X leaders are effective in “hyper-collaboration.” In other words, their strength for working with others enables them to shape the future of work by getting people to work together. This could contribute to the continued decline in union membership, as Gen X leaders act more collaboratively across levels of the organization.

Understanding Ethics: Does Employee Age Matter? - from Projections, Inc.

While popular focus overlooked Generation X in the workplace, members of this generation entered positions of authority. They continue to move into leadership positions, and they continue to shape and re-shape the future of work. Gen Xers are independent, entrepreneurial, and technically savvy communicators. As a result, they bring generations and staff subgroups together to develop solutions and inspire innovation.

Onboarding Strategy: 3 Quick Improvements to Make Now

Onboarding. You’ve been doing it for years, and we bet it goes something like this:

  1. You welcome your new hires to your organization.
  2. You tell them all about your mission and values. (Yawn!)
  3. You play a few role-playing games to “break the ice.”
  4. You take a tour of the office.
  5. You wave to Dave from Accounts. Dave waves back. (Hi, Dave!)
  6. You tell your new hires how wonderful they are.

Then you just hope everyone turns up for work tomorrow.

People told you this would inform and educate your employees. It would reduce staff attrition.

But, here’s the kicker: Most onboarding strategies follow the exact same pattern as above. And they’re seriously dull.

The result? Employees are suffering from “onboarding fatigue.” They know exactly what to expect because they experienced the same thing in their last job.

Mission and values. A few games. A tour of the office. Waving to Dave from Accounts…

Come on, you can do better than that.

Twenty-five percent of all employees leave a company within a year, and 20 percent leave within the first 45 days. Onboarding can reverse these trends, but only if you do it properly. And we bet you’re not doing it properly. Sorry.

If you really want to succeed, you need to think outside the box.

Here are three creative onboarding hacks that you need to incorporate into your business, like, now.

1. Gamification

There’s a certain point in the onboarding process where someone from HR says something like, “OK, it’s time to have some fun.” The problem is, new hires know what’s coming next, and it’s really not fun at all.

HR professionals always insist on role-playing games, where they split groups of new hires into small teams and get them to act out a certain scenario. Organizations have been doing it for decades, but do new hires actually enjoy it? We don’t think so.

There’s nothing wrong with incorporating interactive elements into your onboarding process, but you need to do something different. This is where gamification comes in. Most companies don’t use this technology for onboarding, so you’ll instantly engage your new hires.

Why not ask employees to download an app onto their smartphone that includes a digital checklist? New hires can tick off items as they complete them during training. Alternatively, employees can play training games on a tablet.

Research shows that organizations who incorporate gamification into their onboarding generate a 49 percent boost in engagement and a 36 percent improvement in turnover. Still, only 17 percent of companies use this technology.

2. Videos

People love watching videos. Around 1.3 billion people use YouTube alone. Incorporating videos into your onboarding process might seem strange. HR teams should teach employees about company values, surely? New hires can watch videos in their spare time, right? Not necessarily. Research from Gartner suggests that onboarding videos are the most effective type of video for organizations — more effective than product videos and sales enablement videos, in fact. What gives?

The truth is, videos will standardize your onboarding techniques and ensure you get your message across properly. Whether you want your new hires to know about your company objectives or labor relations policies, videos will explain everything in a clear, concise, creative way. Consequently, every single new hire will receive exactly the same message.

Want to create onboarding videos of your own? Projections, Inc. can help you with that.

5 videos that will improve employee engagement

Now that we’ve established you need videos, what should you include in your visual content? There are various things you can incorporate into your onboarding videos, but it’s always a good idea to check out the competition.

Recently, we published an article about what makes a great onboarding video. We looked at how some of the biggest brands and organizations engage new hires with their visual content. (Check out the article here!) This is what we learned:

You don’t need fancy graphics to get your message across. People respond to great content, not dramatic music or Hollywood-style action movie sequences.

A piece-to-camera is awesome if you want to tell your brand story and convey your values. Encourage your CEO to be a part of your onboarding video!

Animation works well if you have lots of information that you want to tell your new hires — statistics, data, numbers, that kind of thing.

3. Personalization

Personalization will help you achieve your onboarding goals. We know there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to onboarding, so customizing this process should produce explosive results. Onboarding a group of new sales agents will require a different approach to onboarding a senior manager, for example.

Tailor your onboarding to each individual. This might take you some time, but it could provide you with a return on your investment. Sure, standardized onboarding programs might work for some companies who just require temporary staff, but if you really want to reduce turnover, you need to customize content.

“To achieve personalized onboarding, initial assessments can be used to better understand an employee’s areas of excellence, areas of potential growth, and areas that need to be developed to ensure job readiness,” says the Association for Talent Development.

Related: The Employee Experience: The Path to High Engagement

Here’s how to personalize onboarding:

  • Send personalized emails to new hires before your onboarding event. When people arrive for onboarding, give them a handwritten welcome note.
  • Get to know your new hires individually. Ask them questions and boost engagement.
  • Provide new hires with individualized training based on their experience, qualifications, and goals.

All onboarding isn’t great onboarding. If you need to engage with new hires and prevent them from leaving your company, you should invest in new strategies that provide real value. Forget everything you’ve been told about onboarding strategies. Splitting your new hires into teams and playing a few games won’t do much at all. Gamification, videos, and personalization, however, will change perceptions toward your organization and result in confident, informed, more productive employees. Take it from us, we know!

HR’s Role In Controlling Sexual Harassment

The #MeToo campaign that recently hit social media has brought an important subject into the public’s eye – sexual harassment and sexual assault. This problem is one that stretches far and wide, but it is unknown how prevalent it really is. One issue that is particularly troublesome is that many employees don’t feel comfortable bringing their harassment complaints to the human resources department or any other representative of their employer.

Companies must ensure that they provide solid training for all employees as well as a clear plan for employees who are subjected to harassment of any sort. This strategy must also include a framework that ensures swift action to address the complaint.

Fear of Retaliation

One of the top priorities in these cases is separating the victim from the alleged harasser. Employees must be assured that retaliatory measures won’t be taken if they report sexual harassment, as this fear can keep a victim from speaking up. Anxiety over being fired or having to deal with other problems at work because they lodged a formal complaint can be a true deterrent in creating a positive work environment.

An estimated one in four employees are affected by sexual harassment while they are working, but experts believe that this is a low estimate because of the fear of reporting. Proper training regarding sexual harassment is one way to combat the problem of employees feeling fearful to report these actions.

From the employer’s standpoint, training can go a long way toward protecting the employer. One of the fastest growing complaint areas in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission deals with now is complaints of retaliation. The liability that companies face from retaliation complaints is actually much greater than what they face for a complaint of sexual harassment.

Factual complaints are encouraged

Factual complaints are a key point in sexual harassment cases. As much as employers need to encourage victims of sexual harassment to come forward, they must also require that these complaints are based on fact and not fabricated.

One way that employers can encourage factual complaints is to ask that employees clearly document the incidents, reporting them as soon as they happen. Keeping track of the time and date, type of action and any witnesses to the harassment can help with the investigation.

Witnesses must be encouraged to give a factual statement about the events when they are asked about them. Speaking to them privately and ensuring them that adverse actions for factual statements won’t be initiated or tolerated.

The situation gets touchy when there aren’t any witnesses, but employers must still take these complaints seriously. The more information the victim can provide can make the investigation much easier and a bit faster for the employer.

What You Can Do Now

Providing solid training on what constitutes harassment is a vital element of a defensible position for your company. Make sure your sexual harassment training is fully compliant with all current laws and, just as importantly, make it easy for employees to complete that training, repeating it as necessary to ensure compliance. Ideally, your training should be available 24-7 and outline a specific and understandable path for complaints, questions, and other two-way communication on this topic.

To protect your company and your employees, your harassment training should also include other kinds of harassment such as workplace bullying.

Ultimately, sexual harassment complaints are a difficult spot for all employers as well as employees. Through proper training and a solid plan for handling these complaints, employers can help to make their workplace a harassment-free zone.

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How Virtual Reality Will Change Human Resources

human Resources virtual realityMost peoples’ experience or knowledge of augmented and virtual reality involves entertainment – for example, the Pokémon GO augmented reality app and the uber popular Epcot attraction Soarin’, which takes “riders” on a realistic virtual journey around the world.

Virtual reality (VR) has obvious entertainment value. And, as forward-thinking companies are discovering, it also has unlimited potential to revolutionize recruiting and training. Savvy human resources professionals are tapping into this technology to woo top talent, overcome geographic recruiting and training constraints, and cement their firms’ position as technologically advanced. The millennial and Gen Z workforces are drawn to cutting-edge technologies, and the “cool factor” of joining a workplace that embraces VR shouldn’t be underestimated. As the following five companies have discovered, VR is more than a gimmick: it’s a genuinely useful tool.

General Mills: Shows Rather than Tells

Most college students are familiar with on-campus recruiting events. Typically, they show up wearing their Sunday best and stroll from one table to the next meeting recruiters and collecting pamphlets or brochures. It’s necessary, but not necessarily exciting. General Mills has stepped up its recruiting game in a huge way. Candidates visiting with General Mills recruiters may be invited to don a headset and goggles and – thanks to a 360-degree GoPro video – take a VR tour around corporate headquarters and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. They feel what it’s like to be an employee and experience the corporate culture first-hand. That recruiting approach is certain to leave an impression – a very positive one.

General Electric: Virtually Takes Candidates Where They Can’t Otherwise Go

Like General Mills, General Electric has discovered the benefit of using virtual reality in its recruiting efforts. For example, candidates can don a virtual reality headset to journey to the bottom of the sea and explore the company’s oil-and-gas recovery machines.

Lincoln Electric: Reduces Costs of and Increases Access to Training

Lincoln Electric has discovered that combining traditional and virtual training is a win-win for the company and employees. The company offers students the ability to practice on a virtual reality arc-welding trainer in addition to receiving traditional hands-on training. Studies show the combined approach leads to better communication and significantly higher certification rates.

Boeing: Offers On-the-Ground Flight Training

Boeing runs an Immersive Development Center in which its engineers test new parts and products, and pilots train in virtual reality flight simulators. Additionally, Boeing occasionally invites engineering students to the center so they can explore the company’s technologies, thanks to VR. All of Boeing’s engineers began as students, and the company’s recruiters hope that visiting students will one day return as employees.

Fidelity Investments: Researching VR App to Track Employee Benefits

With a realization that many people are visual learners, Fidelity Investments has created a prototype VR app to explain employee benefits. Users who don the headset are transported to a virtual boardroom populated with employees. Some employees are green, meaning their 401K investment strategy is sound. Other employees are red, indicating that it may be time to revise their strategy. The motivation behind the app is that viewing data in a three-dimensional matter makes it easier to digest.

Clearly, there’s widespread potential for human resources departments to embrace virtual reality. Companies are already using VR to recruit top talent, train existing employees and onboard new hires. How do you think these kinds of applications will change the way your HR and recruiting teams manage the future of your company’s talent?

Digital Marketing + Human Resources – What Top Companies Are Doing Now

Human Resources and Digital Marketing2017 will be blanketed by a myriad of digital marketing strategies for HR firms. From recruitment and onboarding to employee engagement – human resources personnel must be ready to embrace new trends, staying ahead of the curve and meeting the needs of discerning employees across the board.

Wait, back up the bus… did that just say – MARKETING? For human resources?

The job market is becoming increasingly competitive, with unemployment numbers continuing to fall. That means employers have to set themselves apart from other companies. It means communicating your company’s values, beliefs and the ways in which you’re working to be an employer of choice. In short, marketing.

So yes, today, marketing means digital marketing – and digital marketing is powerful stuff for human resources. Sending letters to employees homes is so 2015… now, you need to be online, transparent, and ready to embrace the demands of an entirely new kind of job-seeker.

Keeping Websites Up to Date

Employee-centric websites can serve as information hubs for recruiters and talent. In fact, your company’s website is usually the first platforms for job seekers scanning available opportunities and listings. With this in mind, your website must be up-to-date and reflect all the current and burgeoning employment trends. From industry developments to top hiring prospects, your sites should also include a wealth of resources for clients and talent. We’re talking about employment listings, growth reports and informative articles that correlate with several industries and niches. It is also vital to implement social media links and SEO strategies to secure brand visibility and awareness. In fact, meta tagging and keywords still play a pivotal role in connecting users to the services and information they need.

Beyond recruitment, HR will need to embrace digital marketing in the onboarding process. Begin with emails to your teams that keep everyone informed of any start dates for new hires. This makes sure your new employee has all the software, hardware, training, and resources they need to hit the ground running. Consider automated fulfillment of a gift of premium items, so that new employee will feel welcome and part of the team immediately. Add to that some relationship-building marketing emails for your new employee, helping them get acclimated without overwhelming them on their first day.

And look for places to implement a digital marketing strategy in every corner of your online presence by creating an interactive onboarding program that will allow new hires access to the information they need as they get started in their new position.

Newsletters and E-Mail Lists

Of course, regular email newsletters will continue to play integral roles in all HR marketing campaigns. However, these materials can also serve as mobile blogs for all your new and existing subscribers. This means the content should effectively attract and engage job seekers and clients – while addressing all their questions and concerns.

This is where knowledge of online content creation becomes important – what kind of voice do you want for your company in this arena? What topics are vital to cover, and how will you convey who your company truly is? This kind of digital marketing is what draws people to companies today – and repels them just as quickly. It’s important to truly reflect who you are and the kind of team you’re continually building to help your company reach its goals.

Your email content should always be easy to scan and digest as well. Creating memorable content helps generate a lasting buzz about your company

Social Media is Still Essential

As always, mastering the right social media platforms will be imperative in reaching the right people and drawing them to your company. Recent statistics show that 79 percent of job seekers use social media for daily searches. This includes Facebook and Twitter, along with other platforms and networks. With this in mind, your HR department should continue cultivate relationships on social media platforms relevant to the kind of people you hope to attract. This will help you reach your prospective team members on a large scale – while effectively marketing the things that differentiate you from your competitors to specific individuals.

Believe it or not, depending on who your company is, Instagram and Pinterest can both be especially helpful in establishing a visible presence for your company. Savvy HR professionals utilize these platforms for posting industry growth charts, pictures, videos, and anything that connects their company to what their kind of job seekers are looking for.

 

So, digital marketing strategies for HR doesn’t sound so far-fetched in 2017. Embracing these concepts can help you build a stronger company with an unbeatable team of engaged employees.

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