The job and company of the future must consider digital, millennial disruption – Dion Chang.
Much has been written about digital disruption and the impact it continues to have on business. But according to trends analyst and founder of Flux Trends, Dion Chang, companies need to start paying more attention to the people driving the disruption: millennials.
Chang says that while most research companies look at millennials as a consumer group, it is also important to consider them as a workforce and a source of social change, because those facets are inseparable from their consumer identities.
“When it comes to millennials, individualism is a megatrend,” says Chang. ”The older generation’s approach was one of going to work for a company whereas millennials approach it as a personal knowledge journey.”
It’s not about money. Perhaps for the older millennials that are starting to settle down it plays a bigger role but for the younger ones, Chang says, it’s about meaning – corporate social responsibility; what a company’s climate change credentials are, for example.
“Employees are now like customers and companies have to consider them as volunteers, and not just workers,” says Anja van Beek, vice president of people at Sage International, adding that companies must think about people in a more strategic and holistic manner and not just in terms of costs and productivity.
Social media and networking platforms such as LinkedIn have made it easier for people to monitor job opportunities and get unsolicited job offers, which has contributed to higher staff turnover in many companies.
Says van Beek: “I have been with one company for more than 20 years but that’s very unusual with millennials. They will rather work for companies whose value systems match theirs and after a few years they move on. It comes very naturally to them.”
Facing their own disruption
Chang says millennials themselves have to respond to disruption, with many jobs increasingly being automated. Journalism, law and medicine are all industries where formal professions could be replaced by computers. And that has meant people have to focus on broadening their skill set rather than committing to one profession.
“American press already publish around 3 000 computer generated articles per quarter,” says Chang. “That means people have to rethink their careers and so do the companies that hire them. Your qualification and academic credentials matter less. EY (UK) has already removed the need for a degree from their recruitment requirements and that shows where the world is heading… What matters more are your networks, your experience and your analytical ability. Those skills are not necessarily taught in academia.”
The term ‘slashies’ refers to how young people tend to define their skill-set beyond their professional careers. Many of them have passion projects, other jobs or small businesses on the side, which they find more rewarding and may have plans to abandon their day-jobs in order to pursue them at a later stage.
Chang says right-side-of-the-brain thinkers are becoming more valuable, because left-sided jobs are increasingly being digitized. If you look at the music industry, for example, he says it’s the artists that remained relevant while the record companies and CD stores are not what they used to be.
“Companies need to start rethinking what skills they need to be employing. And it’s not auditors and accountants. It’s software developers, app writers and coders,” he says.
This story was first published by Moneyweb and is republished here with the permission of the editor.
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