Why Generation Z means HCM teams need to be at the forefront of digital transformation

Published 1/28/2019 by Alex Arundale, Group HR Director, Advanced

It will be no surprise to Human Resources (HR) and business leaders that we are in the midst of a digital revolution which is fundamentally changing the way workplaces, and therefore HR teams, operate. With Generation Z (those born from the mid-1990s to early 2000s) starting to enter the -workplace, HR teams need to be ready to engage and upskill a multi-generational workforce which will work like no other before. HR teams are faced with the challenge of ensuring their business is doing everything it can to address changing employee expectations and demands. We look at why the introduction of Generation Z into the workplace is going to be one of the key drivers for digital change in 2019 and beyond – and how their interaction with Human Capital Management (HCM) Software will affect the HCM team.

Introducing Generation Z

Our 2018/19 Annual Trends Survey Report highlighted that the move towards digital technology in the workplace is vital for Generation Z. When asked about the most important attributes for today’s business leader, 65% of Generation Z respondents said leaders must have the ability to think and react with pace,52% said a strong digital skill set was important and 35% said a ‘digital-first’ vision was crucial. And we can only expect this focus to increase. This generation grew up alongside smart phones and have a tendency to adopt new technologies easily, and more than that, they expect slick technologies to be a part of the workplace experience. As the Baby Boomers start to retire, Generation Z will begin to fill more senior business positions and have an even greater impact on the way we do business. HR teams will need to consider a digital strategy including their HR Software for the following areas in order to answer these needs:

Recruiting in the digital age

New hires are more likely to utilise online tools such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and have a higher expectation for a seamless digital application experience. With many Generation Z candidates relying on online opinion and information, it is more important than ever for your brand to have a positive social footprint. Gone are the days of lengthy forms and manual applications, candidates will be looking to apply for jobs quickly and easily using trusted social media tools. If your application process is complex and isn’t reaching audiences online, you are less likely to be attracting the top talent. Adopting digital best practices within your HCM department can help you widen your reach, and a modern HCM software system is your first point of reference to show Generation Z applicants that you are digital brand that appeals to the way they work.

The shift from employee engagement to employee experience

Employee engagement has long been at the top of any HR Director’s agenda, however we are seeing a shift in this mind-set due to the focus on employee experience in the workplace. According to Forbes, building the best employee experience is the next competitive frontier for companies. Although creating a good employee experience is a companywide endeavour, HR and IT have a critical role to play in ensuring digital expectations are met. In order to compete with the top businesses recruiting graduates, organisations are having to offer much more to appeal to Generation Z. A digital agenda is a key part of this – having an infrastructure that is easy to use, appeals to younger audiences and encourages digital collaborating and self-service will improve your employee experience. On the flip side, HR teams can also benefit from having accessible data in responsive digital systems such as their Payroll Software, gaining actionable employee data which provides a better understanding of staff behaviours, enabling you to respond and make a positive difference.

Establishing a modern work-life balance

One shift which is progressing at pace is the need for mobile and flexible working within the workplace. Having business systems that support working from home and allow employees to access information and documents on the move will enable better productivity and also enhance the employee experience. HR teams working in multi-site organisations would especially benefit from Cloud HCM software that is available on-the-go. Generation Z are used to being able to access information instantly and at their fingertips, and will expect this from workplace systems. In a world of Siri and Alexa, Generation Z expect to get answers with minimal effort, so why should this be different in the office? Generation Z are also less likely to be accustomed to a traditional 9-5 working pattern. Gone are the days of rigid working hours, sat in the office. Many organisations now offer working from home or remotely as standard, with flexible working hours meaning employees have the freedom they require, enabled by HR Software that sits in the Cloud. The question for HR and IT leaders will be, are you ready to support your teams in this way?

Looking at these three key areas, it is clear that having a HCM department that is ready to embrace digital ways of working and innovative HR Software will mean your organisation is well placed to attract and retain the future talent of the workplace. Do you have a plan in place in 2019 to reimagine HR in your business? At Advanced, we understand that HCM teams need forward-thinking technology to enable them to succeed in the digital age. Find out more about our Cloud-based HCM solution for Medium-Enterprise Commercial, Public and Third Sector organisations.

*Source: Advanced Annual Trends Survey Report 2018/19
* Source: Forbes 2018 will be the year of Employee Experience