Are You Ready For The 4G workplace?

multi-generational-workplace-300x199The recent UKCES (UK Commission for Employment and Skills) report ‘The Future of Work’ takes a look at the workplace of the future and whether the emerging multi-generational workplace will be a good or a bad thing for employers and employees and the CIPD’s study of nearly 3000 employees and over 900 employers points strongly to the latter. It also highlights the fact that few employers are actually planning for this phenomenon.

  •          31% of employers say that they react to issues relating to the ageing population as they arise rather than having a strategy in place.
  •          34% of employers say their organisation does nothing to ensure it has access to enough skilled and diverse people of all ages.
  •          22% of employers say their organisation has no provisions in place to ensure employees of all ages develop and keep their skills up to date.
  •          46% of employers said that line managers are not trained in managing teams of different generations and that their organisation has no plans to change this.

Almost a third of employees saw no challenges whatsoever in working with colleagues from different generations, with employers and employees in agreement that knowledge sharing and greater innovation are by far the leading benefit which is very reassuring to know but, as can be seen from the statistics above, if employers aren’t ready to meet the differing needs of all their employees the benefits of the 4G workplace may not be gained.

With this huge increase in 4 Generation (4G) workers, the workplace of the future has to be more flexible about where, when and the number of hours people will be working. So how are employers going to manage this greater need for flexibility and ensure that workloads are spread appropriately according to skills and capabilities? One thing seems clear to me – without the workforce management technology in place to support this flexibility – employers will struggle.

CIPD Report

UKCES Report

Zero Hours Contracts – Are We One Step Closer To A Truly Agile Workforce?

imagesCAHIW1UVI believe it can only be  good for UK business that zero hours contracts are being taken seriously and that the pressure on the Government to provide guidelines for employees and employers is growing. The CIPD report following a public consultation has concluded that change is required to ensure the flexibility that can be offered by zero hour contracts benefits both employers and employees.

Flexible working contracts have become increasingly important for many businesses; allowing them to become more agile and competitive and improving employee engagement by giving employees the total flexibility they may need to balance complex home and working lives. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I believe a major issue that needs to be addressed by many organisations is that of making zero hours and other flexible contract employees easier for managers to manage. The way to do this easily is by using workforce management technology that can automate some of the processes needed to track employee attendance and schedule employees according to both business requirements and employee preferences.

Below are the four main recommendations made by the CIPD:

  • The use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts preventing workers from working for another employer should be banned, with a narrow exemption for employers that can demonstrate a compelling business reason, for example, confidentiality or the protection of trade secrets.
  • CIPD recommends that staff on zero hours contracts should, after a minimum period of 12 months service with an employer, have the legal right to request a minimum number of hours per week.  Employers would have to respond positively to the request unless they had a business reason for turning it down.
  • The CIPD believes all workers should be legally entitled to a written copy of their terms and conditions not later than two months in employment (currently under the Employment Rights Act 1996 only employees are entitled to this). This would help provide greater clarity on behalf of both parties on the issue of employment status and the associated employment rights.
  • The CIPD would support the creation of a code of practice setting out for employers and zero hours workers some key principles and guidance on the responsible management of these types of working arrangements.

The full consultation can be downloaded here: http://www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy/consultation-responses/zero-hours-contracts.aspx

The full report, ‘Zero hours contracts: Myths and reality’ is available to download here: http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/research/zero-hours-contracts-myth-reality.aspx

Is Technology The Only Differentiator In The Workplace Of The Future?

millennialsOne of the topics that currently fascinates me is the generational changes that are forecast in the workplace.  Jon Andrews a partner at PwC and head of its HR Consulting practice in the UK, recently contributed an article in HR Review in which he states that by 2020, millennials (people born between 1980 and 1995) will represent more than half of the working population in the UK and one of the major differentiators between millennials and previous generations is their use and knowledge of technology. He believes that, for the first time, older people will be turning to younger people to learn from them in the business world.

However, he goes on to say that it is not only technology that differentiates this younger generation – millennials also expect rapid career progression, a varied, interesting career and plenty of feedback, and research has backed this up, showing that the millennial generation place higher priority on workplace flexibility, work/life balance and the opportunity for overseas assignments over financial rewards, when compared with other generations.

And apparently it isn’t just younger workers reshaping the workplace. In the UK, where there is no default retirement age and a phasing out of final salary pension schemes is in progress, the older generation will be extending their working life and it won’t be unusual to see a 17 year old and a 70 year old on the same team; presenting real challenges for managers and HR. Understanding inter-generational and individual differences and, in particular, what motivates people will become increasingly important and organisations will have to respond to an individual’s needs in order to get the best from them.

It seems, in the face of these changes in the workplace, if  employers want to get the best from their employees, they will have no alternative but to offer more flexibility and choice in working practices and opportunities. The more organisations can personalise value propositions for each employee in terms of what matters to that individual, the easier it will be to keep them engaged so they can retain and motivate their employees.

With more flexible working practices for individuals – it will become crucial for employers to have an accurate record of hours worked and the ability to schedule employees in the most cost effective and productive way possible. Technology will play an important part in this revolution and I am happy to say that the technology already exists. I believe it will be crucial for both small and big businesses to take advantage of the latest Human Capital Management technology if they wish to keep up with the changing face of the workforce.

As both a manager and an employee, this topic will be something I will continue to follow with interest and if you have any stories to share or want to comment on any of the issues – I would be interested to hear from you. What kind of flexibility would you like to see personally? Do you believe that inter-generational tension will become an issue? What steps has your organisation taken or is planning to become a more flexible employee?

Zero Hours Contract Debate Rumbles On

ZeroIt looks like the zero hours contract debate will be rumbling on in 2014 according to the Chief Executive of ACAS. In an article published in HR Magazine this month, Anne Sharp welcomes the Government’s decision to institute a 12-week consultation to produce guidelines for employers and employees to help clear up confusion. As ACAS have seen an increasing number of enquiries from employees concerned with changes in their terms of contracts this can only be a good thing. Zero hours can offer flexibility to both employers and employees but with a second reading due in the House of Commons of a Private Members Bill seeking to prohibit zero hours contracts – it is clear that some strong guidelines to protect employees and inform employers are necessary if they are to remain a part of the flexible working toolkit available to maintain the agile workforce required to support economic growth.

The key to ensuring fairness in the workplace is by being able to track and monitor zero hours workers time and attendance and put in place processes and rules that will show employers and employees are getting the best out of this kind of working practice.

I have always maintained that businesses need to be as agile as possible, however a mix of full-time, part-time and the highly flexible zero-hours contract workers are essential to retain talent and ensure business objectives are met. If you want to keep abreast of the zero hours debate you can find out more by visiting the ACAS or the Government websites:

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4468

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/zero-hours-employment-contracts

Like Fine Wine Older Workers Improve With Age

According to an article in Employee Benefits  older staff are apparently healthier and fitter than their younger colleagues.  Well I can’t help but agree with that 😉

Britain’s healthiest company report, which surveyed nearly 10,000 UK employees,  has found that the average Vitality Age (or health age) of respondents in their 60s is 3.9 years older than their actual age whilst respondents in their 30s and 40s had a higher health age difference, at 4.26 and 4.3 years respectively.

Lifestyle, stress and particularly lack of exercise have the greatest effect on ‘Vitality’ and the way employers manage their multi-generational workforce can encourage workers to look after their mental and physical well-being. Employee benefits, flexible working and fair working practices can all contribute to a healthier and more satisfied workforce.

It is once again good to hear that as the numbers of more mature workers increase, they will have yet more benefits to offer employers.

TWS19.600.vintage

New Survey Finds 85% Experienced An Increase In Productivity Due To Flexible Working

I wonder how many of you got a chance to review the recent online survey carried out by BakkerElkhuizen among HR professionals in Germany, England, Belgium and the Netherlands on the theme ‘Flexible Working’.  What made it particularly interesting to me was that UK came out top of the table when it came to organisations that had already implemented flexible working.  

Table1

 

Here are some of the findings I found particularly noteworthy:

The motivation for organisations to implement flexible working: The survey found that in the UK, 85% of HR professionals saw a rise in productivity and generally in the UK, Germany and Belgium, the main argument for flexible working was “higher staff satisfaction”, the exception was in the Netherlands where cost-savings on buildings and workstations was more compelling.

 The top 3 most important reasons why flexible working has not yet been implemented:

  • Companies are still looking into the possibilities of flexible working
  • Staff are tied to a fixed place and time because of their specific duties
  • The organisation feels that the presence of staff is necessary.

The main reason given not to implement flexible working: When an organisation did not see any advantages in flexible working, they gave the reason that it is not possible for all staff to work at varying times and/or places and that they wish to treat all staff equally. At most organisations flexible working is not possible across all members of the workforce.

Infrastructure and support for flexible working: Unsurprisingly, ICT infrastructure was seen as the most essential tool for flexible working by half of the respondents in England, the Netherlands and Belgium.

My organisation does have the infrastructure available to manage a remote workforce and experience has shown that it is an important requirement is for flexible workers to have all the information and security they would find in an office environment available at home or on the move. Also important is the ability to track and monitor employee productivity and hours worked and a modern workforce management solution makes this much easier.

You can download the full survey report here and why not take a look at this free white paper: Reaping the Rewards Of Flexible Working to learn more about flexible working.

A lighter look at mobile workforce management

Here is a little something to get over the Wednesday hump –  did you know you can manage your workforce from anywhere? Learn more about three breakthrough technologies: Instant Engagement, Guided Decisions, and Mobile Management — and how they will change the way businesses manage their workforce. Here’s an informative white paper you may find useful download white paper.

Time Well Spent
Time Well Spent