Millennials – own research

For my recent master thesis, I’ve conducted own research, to answer the question about how millennials influence changes in the way’s companies are managed. The hypothesis behind the presented research says that millennials as a growing group of employees in companies have a very large impact on changes in management methods.

The subject of the research were companies from the business services sector. The companies have been selected from the members of the largest association of business services sector companies in Poland. ABSL is an association of over 200 companies employing over 170,000 employees. The aim of the study was to estimate the size of the millennials group in the surveyed companies and their impact on the companies in which they work especially in the context of management methods.

The research was conducted in the form of a CAWI survey. The answers collected were anonymous from the group of people to whom the survey was sent. The survey was conducted from March 3 to 11, 2020. The survey was sent to a selected group of directors or HR managers / specialists of selected companies.

As part of the study, the respondents received 10 questions to confirm or deny the hypothesis presented. The answers came from respondents from 10 different companies, out of 50 questionnaires sent out.

In the first question, the respondents were asked about the participation of people aged 25 to 35 in the total number of employees. The answers showed a significant share of millennials in the group of employees for companies for which information on the percentage distribution could be drawn from the answers.

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The KPMG report from 2017 mentioned in earlier blog posts predicted that millennials by 2020 will constitute 50% of employees, and by 2030 this number will increase to 75%. The presented analysis shows that in 8 out of 9 companies surveyed this indicator exceeds 50%, and the average for the presented companies is already approaching the indicator of 75%. The collected results confirm the research assumption that millennials are a large group of employees, which plays an important role in the total number of employees of the companies from the business services sector.

The purpose of the next question was to understand whether companies are building a coherent employee management strategy related to age differences. The answers collected for this question show that to some extent companies are trying to build their strategy and relations with employees, noticing the needs related to age groups, but they are not limited to age, they  expand them to the social and family context of employees.

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The next question examined the respondents’ perceived challenges in working with millennials as employees. The most frequently appearing answers are presented graphically below.

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The most frequently mentioned challenge related to generation Y as employees was involvement, which concerned both the issue of involvement in the relationship with the employer and in relation to the tasks performed. As a result, we can mention the answer regarding loyalty to the employer and organizations that are a challenge, keeping in the employee in the long run. In this context, one can recall the Deloitte report cited in earlier posts. It shows millennials great openness to change employers. Another important element mentioned was the need for frequent feedback that was presented in earlier posts as well. Especially regarding the need for positive feedback.

In this context, one should also mention the negative feedback response, which focuses on the problem of accepting just negative feedback. The next two answers relate to confidence in quickly acquired knowledge, and thus questioning authorities and questioning the existing situation, which was also discussed in earlier chapters. These elements largely address the need for change in internal communication and search for new channels and ways of communication with employees. An often-recurring element was the issue of the distribution of time at work from private time, and more precisely the search for a balance between professional and personal involvement. Another element mentioned was the group’s claim to meet the expectations.

The next question was about the positive qualities that millennials bring to the organization. Some of the positive features presented coincided with the previously mentioned negative features, which was marked as a positive challenge that has a good impact for changes in organizations.

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One of the most common answers was about the ease with which the millennials adapt to changes at work. With this element, it is worth combining answers regarding open communication and the emphasis they put on it, as well as cooperation with new technologies that are not a barrier for them. Especially since the Y generation puts the will to develop and learn. The creativity and innovation mentioned in the responses can also be linked to the fact that millennials as a generation question corporate language or authorities, which was mentioned on the occasion of negative issues. This means that they want to develop further and look for new solutions, which is noticed and appreciated by employers. It is built on confidence, which was mentioned in earlier chapters, which results from adolescence and relationship with parents. Employers also note that millennials have a positive impact on both the atmosphere at work and the dynamics of work. An approach was also indicated to a balanced division between work and personal life as a positive example. The paradigm changes, we live to work, we work to live.

The next question refers to the issue of employer branding and the actions that companies take in its framework to meet the expectations of employees and improve the image of the company as an employer. Respondents list the various actions they take. Below is a list summarizing the answers collected.

  • The most important element on which the company focuses is the work environment in the organization, directly affecting employees.
  • Flexible working hours have been introduced
  • Activities under CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) are undertaken, involving employees in activities
  • Diversity promotion activities aimed at involving employees from different social and ethnic groups, different sexual orientations and ensuring work in a safe environment
  • Programs targeted at university graduates to encourage them to read the job offers
  • Paid internship programs
  • Participation in various events and conferences as an organization and enabling its employees to participate in them
  • Promoting goodwill and relating the actions taken to the overall corporate culture of the employer
  • Emphasizing internal communication using new channels
  • Continuous analysis of employee needs and adjustment of benefits in line with the results of conducted research

The sixth question was to examine what the cause of the initiatives undertaken was as part of employer branding activities. First, companies react to changes in the labor market and trends that appear in various organizations. Their goal is to maintain their attractiveness and respond to reported needs. Some changes are introduced in response to employee demands. One answer shows that this is a matter of generational changes taking place in the organization. One answer concerned the dynamic growth of the organization and making the employer more attractive to potential candidates.

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The next question examined whether management has access to dedicated training on generational differences and how they affect companies, in which respondents work. Most companies offer such training to the management of organizations.

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The next question was to check whether changes were made to non-wage benefits to better respond to the needs of different age groups. Here, the votes of the respondents were evenly distributed. Half of the companies try to adapt the offer considering the age differences of their employees. The other half of the organization tries to build a range of benefits regardless of the age of employees and maximize it individually.

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Ninth question checked whether the changes introduced in the organization and functioning of the offices could have resulted from meeting the needs reported by millennials. Among the answers, there is the question of responses to market activities, but most respondents note that they result from a generational change and the need to meet the expectations reported by millennials.

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Respondents mention as part of their answers the main elements that have been introduced as part of the changes referred to in the question.

  • Introduction of remote work opportunities (in two companies)
  • Introduction of flexible working time (in two companies)
  • Desks for standing work
  • Chill room, a room for rest and relaxation
  • Modernization of the office and organization of a kindergarten for employees’ children
  • The gym

The last question checked whether companies are taking any additional actions with millennials in mind. Most companies focus on the implementation of the projects mentioned above and activities under global in-house programs.

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Respondents mention as additional activities

  • Actions to improve well-being at work
  • Activities under diversity & inclusion programs, promoting diversity, and involving various groups in joint activities, promoting mutual understanding
  • Promoting cultural diversity and improving communication
  • Integration within teams and companies
  • Enabling dynamic career paths and the ability to change development directions
  • Promoting work-life balance
  • Providing resources for eLearning and personal development

The tests confirmed the correctness of the hypothesis. Millennials are a significant group of employees and have an increasing impact on changes in organizations. Companies recognize the expectations of generation Y and try to address those. They want to be an attractive employer on the market by taking care of their image both for current and potential employees.

millennials as employees

For millennials, an important condition for choosing an employer or producer is commitment. Engagement understood on many levels. Involving employees or consumers in the organization’s activities, supporting initiatives outside the workplace. For millenials, both perspectives, employees and consumers are put on an equal footing, and companies must maintain balance in planning their activities as part of the mission, bearing in mind that the company’s employees are also the closest consumers. Philip Kotler in “Marketing 3.0” notes that: To sell a mission (…), companies must propose a mission in which they promise transformation, they must create thrilling stories to support it and engage customers to accomplish this mission together.

26904043416_a2e7b1fb08_c.jpgSo what are the expectations generation Y has from their employers? The aforementioned social commitment, at the level of the local community or in a broader perspective, such as Microsoft’s declaration of reducing its carbon footprint from the beginning of the company’s existence. Internal grants that allow groups of close associates to implement projects to improve the quality of life in the immediate area, such as painting classrooms or organizing community vegetable gardens in housing estates or supporting animal shelters, are becoming common practice. An important aspect is the cooperation between employees and the company sponsors the materials needed to implement the action.

17163266906_a25d3d58e9_c.jpgIt should be remembered that the adolescence of millennials and their entering adulthood is a mix of “analog” childhood and “digital” teens. It causes, that generation Y places socialization and building interpersonal relationships very high in the hierarchy of its values. They have the desire to create a kind of family at work, who spends time together not only performing professional duties, but also have fun out of the office. Hence, they enable, support the organization of such meetings by providing space in the office or expanding employer branding teams, whose one task is to build history and develop bonds between the employee and the company, but also between the employees themselves. Employees as the “consumers” of this content are later the best advertisers for new potential job candidates.

Employer branding teams are becoming a necessity for most companies. The actions they take have measurable financial effects. Although their marketing projects aim both current employees and potential candidates, generating cost, ultimately they contribute to lowering higher costs related to finding and employing suitable job candidates. Their goal is to give employees a sense of home from the company they work for. Very often they use social media in their activities. They are to involve employees who eventually become brand ambassadors and provide information on positive actions of the employer further encouraging more people to become candidates for work. New potential employees start to apply themselves, making it is easier and faster to find the right people for the job.

In addition, some companies at the center of their corporate values ​​often put team spirit or, like Salesforce, a philosophy derived from the culture of Hawaii, Ohana, which means a family in which the company includes not only employees, but also customers or suppliers. This shows how much new employees and their approach influence organizations.

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Support is another important element expected by employees and consultancy in the next stages of their professional development. This expectation shows that they want to develop and draw on the experience of elders. It also shows that they expect support in an ever-changing world and advice on how they should evaluate their decisions in the context of their strengths and directions in which they want to go. Ultimately, it shows the need for communication within the organization also in the form of mentorship. Through relationships with someone more experienced, ready to help and seeing, appreciating the employee’s progress. It does not always have to be someone who is much higher in the organizational structure, often the millennials themselves, who have longer experience perform well in these roles. Generation Y sees as an important element of cooperation in companies socialization, which is to take place not only at work, but also outside of it, employees of this age group want to celebrate success together. Both large and small. The most important aspect is the shared positive experience. Nevertheless, employers must pay attention to this element, because it shows millennials, to what extent the company perceives their effort, contribution to achieving a common goal.

An extremely important element in relations with millennials is communication, which should be two-way communication. Generation Y likes to get involved and understand. They want to be sure that the work they do has a positive impact on the company and makes a significant contribution in its functioning. In addition, they are happy to engage in all possible activities and initiatives to improve the functioning of the team. Design thinking sessions are becoming more frequent, during which invited employees of the company with different experiences, from various departments, trying to find solutions to complex problems in the company. One of the important elements of Google’s internal policy is to encourage employees to spend 20% of their time on projects that they think can have a positive impact on Google. This has been happening since the very beginning of the company’s operation. Some of the company’s main products began in this way, AdSense, Google Maps, Google News.

These elements regarding millennials’ approach to work ultimately require a new approach in terms of supervisors who will no longer be required to carry out the project from point A to point B. Managers with millennials should focus on ensuring conditions for cooperation and communication, giving the chance to work out the best path. Although this does not always work, those elements are important for the Y generation such as transparency, listening and collaboration can bring more benefits than using and reproducing patterns.

45064629294_fa6a51fa41_c.jpgThis generation is familiar with technology and can take advantage of the new opportunities it brings. This allows them to perform more tasks and monitor more parallel projects. Task-based work mode provides motivation, but also lets you enjoy your free time. It also creates new niches for project management monitoring programs like Asana, Microsoft Planner, Scoro or monday.com. These elements contribute to the fact that Generation Y is the most productive generation among employees. What seems important from the perspective of employers is to provide them with the right tools to work and make employment forms more flexible.

Articles that inspired text above:

  1. Kotler, H. Kartajaya, I. Setiawan, Marketing 3.0,
  2. Smith, Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030, https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2020/01/16/microsoft-will-be-carbon-negative-by-2030/
  3. Page, S. Brin, 2004 Founders’ IPO Letter, Google, https://abc.xyz/investor/founders-letters/2004-ipo-letter/

Workplace in the 21st century – Automation impact

The 21st century brought significant changes in jobs around the world including international corporations that experience the technological revolution and the need for continuous innovation every day. This process will be enhanced accelerated by current pandemic. The question arises to what extent technological and digital revolution affect changes in the workplace.

What can be observed is, among others, the flattening of organizational structures. CEOs and senior leadership have a growing group of senior managers who report to them and the development path is shortened. This results in greater transparency in organizations. It also gets large corporations to a more open management model, which Frederic Laloux presents in his book “Reinventing the Organization”, with ultimate model called the turquoise organizations. In those organizations we deal with a much more democratic and an inclusive management model, involving all employees of the company. Thanks to this, communication within such organizations is much clearer and more readable. Open to new ideas and ideas coming from all its members. Hence the success of new methods for collecting ideas and converting them into new products like design thinking. Collecting different perspectives and bringing people together with different experiences in the millennial perspective is seen as a good course of action. Interesting, fun and innovative. The main goal is to ask the right question to solve the right problem. The most famous anecdote is the one about the creation of the iPod. On the one hand, Steve Jobs wanted to create a new portable music player to make money for his company. Ultimately, the question he asked the project team was about how we can change how people experience music. The effect was not just a music player. An online store was created that allowed you to download new music onto your device within a few moments. He created a new model and availability of music in a device that can be taken anywhere in your pocket, focusing on high quality product. This story spoke to millennials and involved young consumers. For Apple, it has laid the foundation for tremendous economic success.

Currently, one of the most important trends affecting the workplace is the digital revolution and the increasingly common work automation in every possible dimension. This applies to both physical and office work. The observed changes show that it creates new development opportunities, although it requires openness from employees and readiness to take on new professional challenges or learn new skills. Peter Drucker noticed this in his book „The Practice of Management”: In fact, the new technology (although displacements of the workforce will certainly arise) will increase employment, especially for highly qualified and well-trained people. (…) They will not eliminate human labor. On the contrary, they will require lots of highly qualified and trained people – managers, to think and plan, and for the design, production, maintenance and management of new tools – well-trained technicians and employees.

Increasingly, people in the their workplace work with robots in various forms from factory machines through tools partially facilitating their work, to computer algorithms that perform repetitive tasks. Thanks to this they leave time for creative and critical thinking processes. Nowadays, more and more employees have to devote time to tasks that require assessment, creativity and decision-making that will not be required from robots doing work. For now, automation focuses on tasks that can be determined by a set of rules in such a way that the algorithm can repeat them, and thus independently check the next items, leaving issues requiring assessment and critical thinking to people. This causes an increase in the demand for employees with exceptional skills or those who are ready for a longer period of training and implementation to deal with such tasks.

As predicted by McKinsey & Company in the analysis of the impact of automation on the workplace, How will automation affect jobs, skills, and wages approximatelly 375 million jobs around the world can be automated by 2030. This represents up to 14% of all professionally active people. This will require them to develop new skills and find a new job.

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In the study, McKinsey focused on analyzing the potential for such transformation, giving information about the directions in which this change is going. Change that is inevitable. The presented study shows that the main elements of work automation relate to issues of repetitive and non-specialized skills. Jobs that can be described in form of procedure, code and repeted by robot. In addition, we are able to predict potential problems and the few will only be directed to people who will have to make decisions or assess a given specific situation.

What puzzles in the results of the analysis of industries most exposed to the risk of automation presented by McKinsey & Company is the fact that they affect the most basic positions. The greatest emphasis should be placed on retraining employees and raising their level of skills in such a way that they can move to better paid positions and not be excluded from the labor market. Factory workers and assembly workers can be replaced by robots carrying out repetitive elements. There is a high risk for trade employees, cashiers, who can be replaced by self-service cash registers and automated stores like AmazonGo. Service desk employees, telemarketers who are replaced by bots supported by self-learning algorithms. Office workers whose task is to enter data into systems or accountants in service centers. An example is Accenture, which by extensively automating the activities delivered to its clients will reach the level of 40,000 automated roles. However, what should you pay attention to, at the same time Accenture increased employment from 492,000 to 505,500. Most of the people from this group have been retrained and is now doing less repetitive work.

Automation on the one hand brings benefits to employees, giving them a chance to develop and acquire new qualifications. It should be remembered that the majority of employees are millennials and employers should care about achieving this group’s aspirations by developing their skills. On the other hand, the employee must still show commitment and a desire to constantly develop, facing the risk of being pushed out of the labor market. This is a very significant risk as shown by the detailed analysis prepared by the Bloomberg agency in the tool in which everyone can check the risk they face in the position held in connection with automation processes.

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FOLLOW THIS LINK TO BLOOMBERG TOOL

What strikes is the large number of positions most exposed to automation with low income, and therefore with low qualifications needed, the progressing process of which may be most affected. It is anticipated that from 2025 most of the work will be done by robots or artificial intelligence. The change is gradual and although the ratio according to which we will rely more and more on automated work will continue to grow, it will not eliminate people’s work completely.

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                                          PEOPLE WORKFORCE VS. ROBOTS RATIO

Another big change resulting from the increasing automation in the workplace is making ways of working more flexible and attracting new experts. Especially in the sectors of new technologies or professional services. We deal more and more often with highly qualified employees available at any time, anywhere on earth, using new technologies and performing work via the Internet, connecting remotely. The task-oriented mode of work allows employees greater freedom of work organization, and thus also gives companies the chance to find employees, they no longer have to live near offices. They can travel provided that the tasks given to them are carried out in a timely manner. It also allows employees to focus on important values ​​outside the company, such as family and friends, their community. Task-oriented mode of work means that if the task is completed, there is no new one or there is a period of downtime, a moment off work will be more motivating, than sitting in the office for no reason. Unless properly planned for training time to upgrade employee skills.

As a result, companies must place great emphasis on maintaining such an extensive employee network, which is no longer shared by shared coffee in the office. Hence the great emphasis on company values, which are very important for building employee-company ties. As Philip Kotler notes in the book Marketing 3.0: Like creative people, companies should start thinking about self-realization that goes beyond material goals. They need to understand what they are and why they do business. They should know what they want to become. All this should be included in corporate missions, visions and values. Profits will be the result of consumers’ appreciation of the efforts of such companies working for the good of community.

 

Articles that inspired text above:

  1. Frederic Laloux, Reinventing the Organization
  2. Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management
  3. Philip Kotler, Marketing 3.0
  4. Chui, S. Lund, P. Gumbel, How will automation affect jobs, skills, and wages?, McKinsey Global Institute, [online], https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/how-will-automation-affect-jobs-skills-and-wages#
  5. Bowles, Is Accenture’s SynOps automation solution a killer app or a job killer?, Diginomica.com, [online], https://diginomica.com/is-accentures-synops-automation-solution-a-killer-app-or-a-job-killer
  6. Whitehouse, M. Rojanasakul, Find Out If Your Job Will Be Automated, bloomberg.com, [online], https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-job-risk/
  7. Chowdhry, Artificial Intelligence To Create 58 Million New Jobs By 2022, Says Report, forbes.com, [online], https://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2018/09/18/artificial-intelligence-to-create-58-million-new-jobs-by-2022-says-report/#2124773d4d4b

coronavirus chances – business perspective

There are industries that were heavily hit by novel coronavirus outbreak. I gave some examples in my previous post on coronavirus threats (you can follow this link). However, every downfall for markets opens chances for others. This crisis is no different. There are industries and companies that are thriving or will grow in near future.

To mention first eCommerce, especially marketplaces. As we are forced to stay at home to protect ourselves and others, we shift our shopping experience to internet. Online shopping experience developed for most of the companies in recent years become their main channel of sale with all its limitations. For most of the companies this is not a prime sale channel and currently not able to cover the gap created by lockdown. Nevertheless, companies that offer marketplace solutions allowing to access wider group of consumers will benefit from current situation. Supported by intelligent client targeting they will be able to offer sellers working channel while making their margin over the sale. Online sale now is equally needed for fashion with AI enabled “fitting experience”, car manufacturers with extended virtual reality car setup tools. The question that stands out is if we will move at larger scale or need for shopping experience will be stronger and will wait this all out. Nevertheless, we can expect number of sale & clearances especially in fashion to see companies hoping to turnaround accumulated stock to regain partially cash flow. Amazon expects to hire 100,000 workers to fulfilment centers.

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Movement in eCommerce needs to be supported by logistics and delivery thriving in current market situation. Having in mind that everything now needs to be moved globally between factories and target markets supply chain and logistics become crucial in securing business flow. This is in the situation where both supply and demand were hit by novel coronavirus. Factories mainly located in Asia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia were shut down threatening demand. On top of that demand was hit by change of shopping experience but mainly but refocusing of clients from luxury goods, fashion, entertainment to food and hygiene products. There is a need to grow local delivery teams supporting local food suppliers in direct sale, couriers who will deliver online shopping or even local shopping for those in lockdown.

Companies who are in entertainment business mainly in streaming are expecting increase in viewership. Their main worry is to have enough interesting content and closing on new productions where possible to keep the people interested and online. Nevertheless, longer lockdown may significantly impact production calendars which may be seen in viewers numbers in coming months. Another part of industry that is growing is online gaming. Even F1 racers to keep focused are moving to online tournaments. This business is expected to grow and companies who are enabling players around the world with equipment and access like Sony via PlayStation, Microsoft via Xbox or Google with Stadia premiere are expected to gain from current situation.

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A lot of use noticed the increased demand for online, remote working experience. Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts and Zoom are seeing increase in usage counted in millions of new users. Solutions that enable companies to make project flows, communication ongoing and teams focused with usage of new tools from Microsoft 365 like Planner or tools from companies like Scoro, Slack, Asana, DocuSign, Salesforce and many others are already experiencing interest in tools available. New clients are expected to stay for longer as new world of remote working is expected to stay with us for longer. Not to forget that this is key place to showcase value of the cloud across companies that were reluctant till now. Microsoft, AWS, Google and Cisco will utilize their strong cloud base to grow their businesses further.

Last but not least in times of health crisis is always pharma. Companies are working to get drugs and vaccines as quickly as possible available globally. Already millions of dollars are coming in funding to secure fast track for coronavirus related research and trials. Number of labs are chasing the time but not as usual we are seeing collaboration across researchers sharing results and discussing potential scenarios and finally sharing work. Some are working to develop new solutions, other are testing to speed up the global effort. Close to pharma would be all the health startups that are offering new telehealth solutions. Connecting patients with doctors regardless of the place. The more it’s related to new equipment the better for the startups. Teladoc gets additional funding from the market. Solutions like HIGO can see bright future ahead with connecting doctors’ availability with personal checkup tools allowing doctors to give well informed diagnosis or recommendations.

As the usage of online is increasing it gives big chance to grow for telecoms, broadband connectivity providers will see increase demand on the services and a lot of pressure to maintain availability and quality of the service. Investment in 5G will allow to secure new demand.

There are industries that are on crossroads. They can see current situation as a chance or as curse.

  • Personal banking – reluctant to invest in digital solutions allowing customers to full online service without unnecessary visits in branch will see quick decrease in customer numbers. Banks that offer fully digitalized solution connecting more even outside from standard banking and offering quicker and safer payment in eCommerce, giving better client experience will be winners.
  • Manufacturing – lockdown is closing factories; this will impact production but also force companies to invest in automation solutions to make them people dependent as little as possible. Question now is what will future proof manufacturing
  • Education – online solutions are posing new chances for education availability but key elements to be successful is quality of the content as well as output tool flexibility and finally ease of connectivity. This may also change in the future the way we see education and how we will validate its quality across future teams.

Time of crisis always possess great threats to jobs. Nevertheless, it always positions chances to win to companies that have wider portfolio and were using more channels to connect to customers. The key questions for all of us is how long the whole situation will last. The shorter the better. Time of crisis is also a chance for innovation.

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Articles that inspired text above:

  1. https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/not-all-is-lost-some-businesses-are-thriving-during-covid-19
  2. https://amp.thenational.ae/business/technology/coronavirus-sectors-thriving-despite-the-economic-gloom-1.997795
  3. https://nocamels.com/2020/03/coronavirus-economy-5-industries-thriving/

who are millennials?

Millennials are a generational group that will soon become the largest in terms of the professionally active. Employers looking for employees or producers offering their products are increasingly focusing on them. According to various estimates of companies analyzing economic data, such as KPMG in the 2017 report. In 2020 they will constitute 50% of employees in companies, and by 2030 they will represent 75% of the professionally active.

Different age groups meet in the workplace. The generational divisions presented below are high-level and are not reflected among each individual. However, they show some characteristics and summarize the experience of given age groups.

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Thinking about the very general characteristics millennials as an age group, one can point out that they have more confidence than, for example, generation X. They want to express themselves being open to change. They are often more liberal than previous generations, while becoming less religious. They still have a desire to develop, becoming one of the best-educated generations. On the one hand, they are very eager to use social media, but most of them use the available tools controlling the shared materials through privacy settings. Unlike the Z generation, which often uses new technologies without any limitations.

Bearing in mind the fact that they are becoming the most numerous professional group, we can observe an increasing impact that millennials are beginning to play on the way companies are managed. You can observe how company executives, often representing earlier generations, are trying to adapt to their expectations, and thus change management practices, refreshing design of the offices to meet the needs of the growing number of millenials. Generation Y is one of several groups currently professionally active. Each of them is governed by its own specificity, sets different goals and is guided by different values both at work and in everyday life.

Generation Y during the school period spent time on additional classes and trainings. This is one of the elements that has created in them the habit of continuous learning and continuous development. In addition, it was intensified by their parents, who on the one hand were still busy, went to training cheering, forcing, praising, but also confronting with trainers in situations where they felt that their child had been treated unfairly or missed. They were called helicopter parents. Such actions created a very close relationship, but also sent mixed signals that strengthened the attitude of constant need for recognition and gratification. Parents who, on one hand, are caring, but on the other hand do not give children full freedom of action, they constantly monitor. By forcing teachers to be recognized for their mere participation rather than focusing on their performance.

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They grew up during the technological revolution that facilitated the availability of information and later also goods and services almost in real time. Music that is always available. The revolution of the iPod, which made it easier to enjoy the day with music anywhere, lets you break away from reality. It was easy to collect your favorite songs from online stores sitting at home and rip to one lightweight device. This availability combined with the experience of generation X, which had to wait for hours for its favorite song on the radio to be able to record it on a previously prepared cassette. Wait to rewind movie on a VHS compared to the ease of use of movies on DVD. Amazon, which has taught almost immediate availability by delivering some online shopping even in 2 hours. The emergence of cell phones that made it possible for someone to send a text message or call for an immediate response. Before, you had to try to catch someone at home to answer the phone, which didn’t always work out. Finally, a huge change brought by the appearance of Google search engine. It did two things. On the one hand, it was possible to verify information and check its quality, which allowed to question existing authorities. You didn’t have to take it anymore, now you could find information and form your own opinion in a few seconds. Ultimately, if you could not find information on a given topic just in the search engine you questioned its truthfulness, if there is nothing about it on Google, it means that it does not exist. On the other hand, we have an immediate need fulfilled again. The award comes straight away and you don’t have to wait, search for information in books at home, or go to the library.

Millennials entered the labor market during the economic crisis of 2008, which had its mark on the global economy for nearly a decade. On the one hand, this created greater distrust of state institutions and of big business, which is one of generation Y characteristics. They expect greater change and a more people-centered social approach in decisions made by governments and by business. Nevertheless, they are one of generations that is more optimistic than pessimistic about the future. Since they managed to survive the terrorist attacks on September 9, 2001 in New York and the economic crisis of 2008 they are able to survive everything. It also strengthened two other things, the desire to experience, more importantly experience together.

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Other issue is planning and looking at the future. Millennials saw that both Baby Boomers and generation X, despite hard work and effort, lost homes, cars, and accumulated property. This learned them not to be attached to things and do not try to plan in the long run. They invented the abbreviation YOLO – You Only Live Once. They spend the accumulated funds on travel more often than buying a car or real estate. In addition, as the generation that has the most liberal approach to all differences between people, they expect that future decisions will have social changes in mind. Hence the growing emphasis on reducing the gender pay gap in every sector of the economy. Equal rights for young parents in access to care leave and encouraging especially young fathers to participate more closely in the life of newborn children, allowing both parents to fulfill goals in family life and career. Equal pension rights regardless of gender. Acceptance for social differences resulting from sexual orientation, gender identification. They are looking for a balance between business needs, job responsibilities and willingness to participate in the community and giving more from them through volunteering or spending time under employer’s CSR activities. They want to be part of a community that cares for each other while realizing their professional ambitions.

The development of the internet, during their adolescence, also brought social networking sites that allowed them to keep in touch with the group in which they also want to be when they can’t always be together. This meant that they want to be in touch and have access to all information on a regular basis. They also need such access in the work they undertake. Again, they are the cause of the FOMO phenomenon – Fear of Missing Out. This is an age group that is very creative and wants to look for new solutions, hence new start-ups appearing that want to both meet the needs of the business and fulfill the needs of communities.

In their report ‘Millennials 2019 – Poland’, Deloitte among the presented results of the conducted research shows which aspirations most of the surveyed millennials indicated as key. They list the five biggest ambitions of generation Y:

  1. Make good money / be wealthy
  2. Travel / see the world
  3. Buy your own home
  4. Have children / start a family
  5. Achieve a high professional position

The set of ambitions indicated by the respondents tries to find a balance between professional and personal aspirations. They want to have a sense of self-realization at work, which they share with the Baby Boomers generation, with whom they get along well in the work environment. They try to devote their tasks, learn as much as possible to be able to check yourself and expect rewards in your work. Unlike Baby Boomers, they want to collect their prize faster, without the patience of waiting too long, and when this prize doesn’t come, they know they can take advantage of the offers available and find a job that will give them a sense of appropriate gratification. This is due to the fear of another economic crisis, which may deprive them of the promised retirement measures or material things like homes, cars bought on credit. Importantly, this issue is not always about changing the amount of remuneration, often expectations are about greater freedom at work, more flexible working time, understanding for self-realization outside the company. From a different perspective, generation Y, like generation X, tries to contest reality and expects the workplace or goods providers to carry out its activities within a clearly defined set of values and will stick to it even in more difficult times, confirming its integrity in business. They want to feel that companies, thinking about the financial result, will deliver results in an ethical manner and in accordance with the proclaimed values and declarations included in the mission and vision of the company. Regardless of whether they will deal with them as employees or consumers.

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Literature:

  1. Milenialsi 2019 – Polska. Polskie wyniki globalnego badania „Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, Deloitte, [online], Dostęp w internecie: https://www2.deloitte.com/pl/pl/pages/human-capital/articles/raport-millenialsi-2019.html, (22.11.2019)

Coronavirus threats

There’s been series of articles explaining short-term effects of coronavirus pandemic and predicting its long-term implications. Overall impact globally is estimated at $2 trillion USD. As this sounds disturbing the worst part of this economic crisis is again large number of employees who are losing their jobs at the beginning of fight against pandemic. Number of industries is being hit by lockdowns and fear before virus. The major effort from governments goes to jobs security as number of aspects of the crisis can be fought but tornado of unemployment is the worst that can happen across the globe.

To start with travel where we see it dropping to fractions of normal levels this time of the year. It’s not event partially compensated by massive increase of air freight needs and demand, where especially for shipment of medical equipment passenger planes are being used. Majority of the flight personnel and pilot crews are self employed which makes them also easy to be released when not needed. This impacts all companies working and supporting our air travel across the globe. Not to mention cruise ships. This part of travel industry may be impacted longest by the people hesitant to travel once pandemic is contained and no longer threatening the world. Airlines will be partially supported throughout this travel ban period by governments with some financial aids. They will be quickly getting back on track, especially with the help from business travelers around the world. They will be cutting a lot of cost, but people will come back. We may lose for some time free peanuts and drinks but sooner or later air travel will come back. I wouldn’t be sure of the same for cruises. They seem to be a serious trap for all passengers this day with countries rejecting thousands of people arriving in their ports. This will stay with news readers.

Following travel industry, we need to mention hospitality. Of course, the lockdowns and travel bans were main cause for this situation. Some are fighting offering quarantine rentals or supporting nurses and doctors with the place to stay for the time of pandemic. Giving them much needed protection over families they left at homes, away from potential infection threat. Current crisis poses post-pandemic issues as well with strong demand from travelers on assurance of highest hygienic standards. Coming from already difficult spot owners of venues will need to find additional funding for related investments around new policies or communication on existing one to regain visitors trust in their brands. Hospitality issues are extended to all the service companies supporting businesses from dry cleaners to food suppliers. They are often missing major contributors to their cash flow and face the same issues.

Both industries contribute to issues for tourism all-in-all. This is related to business travels around major cities but mainly to vocational spots that already are being hit by cancellations or face big uncertainty on this year incomes. This is will impact all local governments who heavily rely on tourism related taxes. No or limited tourists numbers can cause long term issues for all the local communities who make best of their efforts to make sure travelers feel most welcome in their cities, villages all around the world.

Entertainment industries are facing slow down from closed cinemas, theatres, sport arenas to cancelled sport events, major conferences. Almost all companies working hard in event organization lost contracts as a lot of events were cancelled. Cinemas are closed and production of new movies or TV series are postponed which as well will impact release calendar for next seasons. Theatres are not inviting viewers to performances. For them is also impossible to organize anything artificial via internet considering limitations over number of people in one place. Global sport is impacted with no games of football, baseball, basketball. It was hard to imagine but even championships being postponed or Olympic games moved to hopefully safer seasons.

It is important to mention retail. Closed stores, limitations of gatherings but mainly in time of crisis shift of customers focus to goods they find essential is causing a lot of issues for retailers. They can find a way to move some of the stock via e-commerce channels but that’s still smaller portions of the overall sale and there is no major increase covering gap from closed stores. Customers are now focused on making sure basic needs are covered and they are more considerate on spending money to aspects that are not essential. We can expect major clearance sale over the internet but even though those seems beneficial for customers retailers will be focused on limiting loss that is already expected.

Drop of consumption on all goods mainly apart from groceries and hygiene related products is causing issues for manufacturers and in longer terms for construction industries. We see big drops in sold cars numbers as well as in sale of all products that in current period of pandemic seem luxury. This includes electronic sale, though big demands on home office and home-schooling needs. Currently you can see reports on construction sites working but ultimately with increasing levels on unemployment and banks resilience to give mortgages construction is facing big threat.

As this show business will be impacted. Economy will suffer. You can read about this all around the news. Media mention that unemployment rates are getting higher every day and will grow to levels not seen in many years. All of that is not focusing, especially from language perspective, that this all is impacting people. Employees, workers, friends, family, colleagues from school, many of those around us. As much as we can do to help local companies and buy in local stores, order food from restaurants, buy some extra flowers or so participate in other initiatives focused on securing that business flow, we will see people losing jobs. Let’s remember to push our governments to make sure that anti-crisis regulations are focusing on jobs security. With all the economy limitation the objective should not be around minimum amounts of support but should be focused on securing as close as possible to current expenditure levels of families. We need to push governments. We should all agree it’s no time to save money but to spend, helping employers and employees because at the end of the day economy is people.

As I want to end this on more hopeful note, I wanted to share a wish that governments will stand to expectations set by citizens and we all be able to go out and catch some breath. I have my three favorite spots I would be more than excited to do with my family and get them to Hel Peninsula, spend few days in Masuria and lastly do the hike in Tatras. What would be yours? While in lockdown let’s dream a little.

 

Articles that inspired text above:

https://www.marketwatch.com/amp/story/guid/3E86F2C6-6319-11EA-9BD8-D956BCAECEEF

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-cost-economy-2020-un-trade-economics-pandemic/

https://hbr.org/amp/2020/03/understanding-the-economic-shock-of-coronavirus

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2020/03/12/coronavirus-impact-on-global-economy-financial-markets-in-6-charts.html

https://www.bcg.com/publications/2020/covid-consumer-sentiment-survey-snapshot-4-06-20.aspx

Read more about coronavirus at:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/03/covid-overview-coronavirus/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=social::src=facebook::cmp=editorial::add=fb20200401science-coronavirus101::rid=&sf232171396=1

Culture Iceberg – What is it all about?

Firstly, let’s take a closer look to the title, culture and iceberg. Why they are together and what do they mean.

Culture as it’s described in dictionary[1] definitions is “the way of life, especially general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time”. I would add to this concept that it’s learned through a process of socialisation, interaction with community we live in. It is built on all artefacts created by group.

There is number of concepts in sociology, anthropology describing what culture is. Ultimately if you sift those phrases you will see that culture is described as THE WAY. For any given group, culture is shared knowledge (of values, symbols, ideas), behaviour that gives patterns to interpret, use, perceive the world[2].

Picture1This gives you understanding of how many things we want to pack in this one word. Considering that when you think of cross-cultural communication you can notice how many things can interrupt message.

Having in mind this brief overview of what culture is let’s now consider the word iceberg.

Iceberg is picturing culture with all this worlds associations. Big concept with a lot of beneath the surface. Let’s not forget that that’s something you can crash into if you don’t embrace it’s potential and size.

The overall concept of using an iceberg to picture complexity of culture comes from American anthropologist Edward T. Hall. In his book Beyond Culture he describes the concept of culture iceberg model. It basically means that there is more than what we see.

When looking to an iceberg you can recognise 3 levels each getting you deeper. Like other concepts core of an onion or roots of a tree. (Those concepts we will touch in other posts).

Picture2More we understand, deeper we go. First level would include what’s visible to outside world. This is what we commonly associate with culture. Art, language, rituals, fashion, elements that identifiable or accessible. Next level is just below the surface and are not so obvious. For example, concept of time, personal space, body language, expressions, philosophies, beliefs. Ultimate level is deepest and most emotionally intense. These are commonly understood within group and for instance include childrearing, notions of leadership, attitudes, decision making, concept of “self”, concept of time.

Whichever model describing culture we take it will show us basically that there is more than we see or experience in a first place. It is our decision to take the effort and discover more. My main objective for this blog is to show that world, people, cultures are interesting and each one of them is worth your attention and minimum effort. After all, if we know each other better we work, live in better communities. Even if they are mix of different cultures. Oh, considering culture models an onion, a tree or an iceberg I chose the last one, it sounds the best.

Interesting read:

Take time and read this New Yorker commentary by Joshua Rothman on evolution of use, meaning of the word culture in modern society.

“The meaning of Culture” by Joshua Rothman, New Yorker, Dec 26th, 2014

Footnotes:

[1] Cambridge Dictionary – http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/culture

[2] University of Minnesota – Centre for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition – http://carla.umn.edu/culture/definitions.html