54 Million Workers Believe Technology Plays Second Fiddle: Here's Why

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We read a lot these days about the value of technology to businesses of all types, and it’s true that digital tools make us better. CRM platforms improve customer service and efficiency. Document sharing streamlines collaboration and makes operations more transparent. We all use technology and it’s important to have access to these types of tools in the workplace. Any office worth its salt has - or is trying to have - an impeccable tech infrastructure. In fact, solid technology is so integral to doing business that it sort of goes without saying that top talent expects it. And the advent of the Cloud and cross-device computing is beginning to make a lot of traditional office equipment, like desktop computers, less and less critical to operations.  So as far as recruitment’s concerned, technology is not the top draw it once was. These days, prospective team members are looking for the right company culture, for several key reasons.

Big Reason #1: Cultural Expectations = When You Were Born

The workforce is dominated by the millennial generation –those born roughly between 1980 and 2000. About 54 million US workers fit that description, and they make up more than a third of the entire population of the US.  This is significant to employers, because millennials have priorities that are a little different from those of previous generations.

A report on workforce trends identified Culture and Engagement as an important factor in hiring and retaining top team members:

Organizations are recognizing the need to focus on culture and dramatically improve employee engagement as they face a looming crisis in engagement and retention.

Millennials are looking for more than a steady paycheck. They value connection, interaction, and a feeling of belonging, as the barriers between work and life are increasingly eliminated. The Human Capital report lists 3 workplace priorities for millennials (and many others):

  • Flexibility: This is all about options: where, when, and how we work. These have expanded tremendously with technology and today’s workers want options.
  • Professional development: Workers look for opportunity within the company for advancement and skill-sharpening, as well as participation in courses and mentoring programs.
  • Company Brand: The company’s image or reputation matters to workers. They want to see evidence that their employer shares some of their values. They’re looking closely at how a company demonstrates social responsibility, sustainable practices, and corporate giving.  Millennials care about their employer’s place in the community.

Big Reason #2: Culture is a Differentiator

When they’re competing to attract and retain the best team members, businesses must use every advantage. A strong and distinctive company culture differentiates one office from the others and is often the deciding factor in job choices.  Yet the culture rarely receives much direct attention. Deliberate identification of the company’s values and priorities is essential to nurturing a distinct company culture.

In the Deloitte report mentioned above, HR leaders listed culture and engagement as their number one challenge. They understand that creating a stimulating and positive workplace is more than just a nice thing to do: it’s a necessity, and they’re working to find ways to incorporate these considerations into the company’s fabric:

“In an era of heightened corporate transparency, greater workforce mobility, and severe skills shortages, culture, engagement, and retention have emerged as top issues for business leaders. These issues are not simply an HR problem.” -Global Human Capital Trends, 2015

Something I learned in the men’s bathroom recently really speaks to this point.

The research shows that the companies having most success in attracting top talent are those that are able to differentiate themselves by creating a company culture that values meaningful work, employee engagement, and job and organizational fit, along with strong leadership. The Muse is a great resource for understanding how your company fares with culture, technology and more.

The best team members make a personal investment in their work, and they’re looking for a company that is worthy of that. A culture that lines up with employee values and priorities creates a workplace where great things happen.