January HR News Roundup

Gen Z employee having a side conversation with a co-worker

This month’s roundup of HR news covers Gen Z employees, the importance of providing professional growth opportunities, trends in workplace technology, and more. Take a look!

Gen Z is Valuable — Here’s Why

Gen Z is elevating the workforce. How? First, says Forbes, they’re “the first generation of true digital natives,” so they’re experts in tech. When you can’t figure out how to fix your computer issue, call on a Gen Z employee. They have actionable ideas — 80% of decision-makers said their company adopted a new tool or solution because it was suggested by a Gen Z employee. They aren’t weirded out by AI or automation and, in fact, 88% think automation will improve their work and make things easier. Show them they’re valued, and they’ll likely stick around for a while.

Professional Growth Matters

Is your turnover rate higher than you’d like? Recent findings reported in an HR Dive article suggest that you might want to take a closer look at your organization’s growth opportunities. Of those surveyed, 82% said they’d quit their jobs due to a lack of professional growth. And 35% who had already left said they’d return to the organization for a higher salary or position. Internal opportunities are especially important, causing employees to stay at their organizations for longer periods of time — and they’re appealing across generations.

4 Tech Trends at Work 

Technology can bring positive change — and it’s making an impact in the workplace. Consider these four trends from a recent Entrepreneur article:

  1. Platforms that make it easier to report misconduct: #NotMe, for example, is a platform and mobile app powered by AI that allows employees to quickly notify their HR department of any harassment, discrimination, or bullying and, therefore, create a better environment.
  2. Digital collaboration tools: Working together is critical to success, and tools such as Slack and Google Docs are helping people do so, no matter where in the world they work.
  3. Task management via online tools: Employees want flexible work arrangements, but organizations need to be able to maintain communication with those employees via chat or video and assign tasks. Enter: Slack, Trello, and Workplace by Facebook.
  4. VR technology that supports diversity and inclusion: It’s important for everyone to feel like they’re part of the team. That starts with a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment — VR technology can help employees realize their unconscious biases and train them to overcome them.  

Curbing the Side Conversations

It’s completely normal for colleagues to vent to each other every now and then — “Can you believe we have to sit through another meeting today?” or “I’m so annoyed that he missed that deadline.” But if your employees are consistently talking about serious workplace concerns in side conversations, instead of bringing them up in formal meetings or to people who can actually make changes, this can turn into a huge problem. As Amy Edmondson, professor at Harvard Business School, noted in her recent Harvard Business Review article, “Side conversations occur because people believe it’s not acceptable to tell the truth publicly. They happen because employees have learned that meetings are places where you go along with the boss or the majority, even if you disagree with what’s being decided or planned.” What can you do? Build a “culture of psychological safety where employees believe that candor is expected and welcome,” says Edmondson, and take action in three ways. First, make sure employees know that you’re aware of the risks and complex nature of working through anything new. Put people on the spot and ask for their thoughts and feedback. And finally, be productive when someone raises a problem and focus on how to solve it.

Written by: Jeannie Krill

January 30, 2020

About the Author

Jeannie Krill at Bright Horizons

As a former Bright Horizons preschool teacher, Jeannie has seen what child care means to clients firsthand. She also offers a view from the Millennials camp, cluing us into what’s challenging today’s largest demographic, and what they really want. She holds a BA in Psychology from Valparaiso University.