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Is Your Technology Deterring Your Future Workforce?

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Posted by Guest Blogger

December 7, 2016

Double-Face-edited.jpgTechnology . . . a word that can be found in every blog, every article, and just about every presidential debate as of late.  And, with the increasing use of technology for organizational effectiveness, challenging the status quo and looking for technical solutions are now workplace norms.  In the 1970’s, you were technologically advanced if you questioned how something worked inside a computer. Nowadays, having a “continuous improvement” mindset about technology is a common, stereotypical millennial characteristic. Not having a technical infrastructure to support this mentality will severely kill recruiting efforts for a growing tech-savvy workforce.

First and foremost, let’s put an end to characterizing that it’s just millennials that are tech-savvy; nowadays, we’re all tech-savvy. In the not-so-distant past, the #-symbol was a number sign, cell phones had physical keys, wearable technology was a beeper, and mobile technology was a Gameboy. Today, our iPhone analyzes our sleep habits, 3D printers can actually print food, and Amazon’s Echo can tell us just about anything we need to know by simply starting a sentence with “Alexa!”. The point is, technology is so intertwined in our daily lives that it’s almost impossible to avoid it. Even more so, we heavily rely on it for workplace efficiency, quicker results and optimized processes.

 


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A few years back, I found myself in the market for a new job. In a world of “sexy” companies like Google, Facebook and Pied Piper, I looked more towards companies with forward-thinking technology.  In fact, I wound up turning down an opportunity with a reputable company that had outdated HR technology. A great job isn’t in the salary or the title; it’s one where you can make an impact. And, if you’re seeking a tech-creative-type to be immersed in your company’s outdated technology with little opportunity for change, you might have a hard time finding and retaining the right talent.

 

3 WAYS TO MAKE SURE YOUR ORGANIZATION'S TECH IS UP TO PAR

 

Understand Your Competitor’s Technology

What industry are you in? Who are your competitors? Hopefully you already know the answers to those questions! In fact, you may be the leading company in the industry, but if your competitors are doing cool things behind closed doors that lead position might be a thing of the past.

Unless your city is currently banning Uber or Lyft, it’s probably been a while since you’ve taken a yellow taxi.  In fact, that last taxi experience may have left a bad taste in your mouth since they’re hard to hail in densely populated areas, rarely kept clean and hardly reflect any premium status. Regardless, taxis and Uber drivers can both still get you where you need to go. What’s the difference? That little “Set Pickup Location” button in the Uber app on your smartphone; and maybe even the app itself! Uber didn’t just gain market share by creating an app considering the services are essentially the same. No, they employed technology in an industry where it was lacking and pulled the rug right out from beneath their competition.

Take the learnings from Uber and apply them to your organization. Is your competitor invested in technology that’s giving them an advantage? Should your company? Will that investment support and attract better talent? Will your organization benefit from it?

 

Ask the Right Questions

Does your organization conduct exit interviews? When a potential candidate turns down a job offer, do you ask why? Getting at the root cause of why a candidate or employee decides your organization is a fit for them is a critical component in the recruiting and backfill process.

In today’s tech-forward world, understanding a candidate’s desire to express creative flexibility goes hand in hand with the technology your company employs. More and more, companies are shifting towards SaaS (software as a service) solutions where system customization and configuration are limited. If your organization is migrating in that direction, you may want to alter your recruiting strategy.

Mark Swartz, Senior Contributing Writer for Monster.com lists 7 Good Reasons To Turn Down A Reasonable Job Offer, with reason number five being “The Corporate Culture Doesn’t Feel Right”. Your organization’s choices of where they invest in technology are absolutely part of the culture. If your recruiting strategy doesn’t align with the technology your company employs, be prepared to re-post that position six months from now. Trying to find a candidate or retain an employee who thrives on creative flexibility probably isn’t going to be an easy task for your organization if your technology doesn’t allow for that skillset.

So, ask questions and honestly assess where your company sits in the tech-spectrum. That honesty and forthright questioning will only help in honing in on the right candidate. 

  • What level of technical creative flexibility is important to you? 
  • What technology do you like to work with and why? 
  • What technology turns you off? 
  • How did you leverage technology in previous jobs? 
  • This is what we use today – have you used it before or what have you heard about it? 
  • This is why we don’t use “X” product – thoughts?

 

Invest Where it Makes Sense

If your company has a technology strategy and mobile isn’t a part of it, you might want to rethink that decision. Earlier this year, Statista.com reported that Android users had the option to choose between 2.2 million apps in the Google Play store. They’ve also shared data stating that “In September 2016, business apps were the second-most popular category, with a share of 10.07 percent of active all apps being business apps.” Naturally, games were the first-most popular category with a share of 24.43 percent.

Don’t make an app for the sake of making an app and don’t buy technology because it’s trending; decide if it’s the right fit for your company. Will productivity increase? Will people use it? Do our competitors do something similar? Will it make people’s lives [or work] easier? Will this attract better talent? If the answers are predominantly “yes”, then implement and implement fast! The worst thing a company can do is invest hard dollars, resources and time into technology that never sees its full potential or isn’t a good fit for your organization. If that’s the case, then you’ll undoubtedly attract good talent but retention will become your next issue.

Having the right technology has gone way past recruiting the stereotypical millennials. It’s become a make-or-break with workforces of all ages and verticals. Be strategic and keep up-to-date on what’s happening in your industry. If you don’t, great talent will abruptly leave you in the dust. 

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About the Author Ryan Gibbons serves as the Senior Director of Commerce & Operations and is responsible for creating operational efficiencies to support a low cost-to-serve model. Prior to this role Ryan has served in a variety of roles focusing on HR technology and operational efficiency.  Ryan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Temple University, hikes, skis, cooks and enjoys building furniture.

Topics: Recruiting Trends, Leadership & Management

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