Understanding the Workforce Shift: From Loyalty To Liquid
By Andrew De La Torre, Head of Technology, Vodafone Americas
You’ve heard the trends—“employee loyalty is dead” and “no one stays in the same job for 20 years anymore”. It’s true. Gone are the days of the Loyalty Workforce who stayed with companies from the start of their careers all the way through retirement. In fact, two thirds of millennials (born between 1982 and 2004) expect to leave their current employer by 2020. This trend has dubbed the new generation of workers as the Liquid Workforce since they quickly shift and move between jobs and companies. But what has caused this dramatic swing in the way people envision their roles inside an organization? And how do CIOs keep pace and manage these different generations? It all comes down to digital transformation.
The Need for a Connected Business Impacts the Workforce
Today’s consumers demand products or services in real-time across any device. This immediacy did not exist prior to the digital age we live in now, where information is at the fingertips of every consumer. The app culture has led to consumers expecting a personalized approach from companies no matter what the channel. They also expect offerings to be as efficient and as easy to use as possible. These changing consumer demands have forced companies to adopt a total communications philosophy that embraces fixed, mobile, cloud, and other digital platforms to connect their business.
As a result of businesses shifting to address customer demands, the workers have changed the way they do their jobs on a daily basis. In order to meet the ever-changing customer demands, employees are personalizing the way they work so they can be efficient and quickly address problems in front of them. As a result, the attitude of the workforce has significantly shifted.
Where Workforce Loyalty Now Lies
Instead of gaining a sense of loyalty to the company they work for—like the Loyalty Workforce, hence the name—the Liquid Workforce is loyal to the digital tools they use to get the job done. Each of these employees has tools they want to use to drive productivity and efficiency in their daily jobs.
Changing consumer demands have forced companies to adopt a total communications philosophy that embraces fixed, mobile, cloud, and other digital platforms to connect their business
They are educated and informative individuals who know what they want to do and how they want to do it, so they’re motivated to seek out and access the tools they know can help them succeed. The Liquid Workforce is loyal to the way they do their jobs instead of to the job itself. Without the ability to use the tools they wish, these employees are likely to leave a job for a destination where they can.
The issue this attitude creates for the CIO is that as employees adopt new tools, the CIO can lose visibility into the tools employees are using, creating a shadow IT. In fact, 51 percent of millennials are using third party cloud applications at work whether or not they’ve been approved by their employers.
In the past with the older Loyalty Workforce, turnover was limited and their requirement for tools to do their job was minimal. With that generation and business environment, the CIO would run a rigid, inflexible set of standards for processes to run the business. However, in today’s world with high customer demands and tool-driven loyalty, CIOs now need to adopt a new state of productivity tools.
Let the Integrations Begin
The biggest pain point facing CIOs is the question of how to gain visibility into these applications and integrate it all into their environment while addressing employee productivity concerns. Shadow IT is a product of the CIOs inability to rapidly adopt digital platforms. The traditional rigid guidelines for applications no longer work in today’s workforce. In the past, CIOs would issue internal surveys and polls to identify employee pain points so they could eventually launch an application to address the issue. However, today the fact is that a CIO will not find the age-old problem, where the workforce doesn’t have an app for resolving an issue. Additionally, by the time a CIO may launch a new application following a traditional survey, the survey respondents who expressed the issues have likely already moved onto another company where they can use their own tools.
CIOs need to make themselves a true marketplace for employees to go to when looking for productivity tools. To do this, CIOs must embrace the existing tools in their environment and remove the rigid and inflexible guidelines that may prevent the workforce from leveraging third party applications. Given that today’s workforce is likely going to find a way to use these applications anyway, CIOs should embrace them in order to gain visibility into how they are being used instead of applications being used in the background.
Until this shift toward digital transformation, the workforce—and as a result the applications used by employees—moved slowly. Today, with the employees moving from a Loyalty Workforce toward a Liquid Workforce, the CIO must follow suit and embrace an open environment, where employees can leverage the applications they need to do their job, the way they want to do.
Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), founded in 1982 and located in New York, is one of the largest mobile networks worldwide specializing in mobile and fixed telecommunications.