Tag Archives: GenY

Your People and Global Internet Trends

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Data Point Tuesday’s mission is to find reports and impactful data sources that most HR professionals would never find and serve up some of their more interesting data points for consideration. Usually the reports come out of the Human Capital Management arena:  academic papers, vendor survey analyses, white papers, etc. There’s a ton of data flowing in our space that the average HR person would never have the time to find. It’s what I do here. But sometimes the best data and analytics sources don’t come out of the HCM arena. And the annual Internet Trends reports is one of those sources.

I have been waiting with bated breath for Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2016 report – and it’s here! Last year, I suggested that the report really should have been titled The Internet in 2015 Is All About HR. I wrote about it here. This year, I think the report should be titled How the Internet is Just Beginning to Change Everything at Work. Again, it should be required reading for HR professionals everywhere.

The annual Internet Trends report that Meeker publishes is certainly not an HR report. But it contains critical information and data that HR people need to know. It’s all big picture stuff that relates to the Internet, but it also all has impact on people – and most of it has impact on people at work. In the U.S., in Asia, in Europe – all over the world. I encourage you to flip through the report – it’s in PowerPoint – even though it’s really long. This is the outline – and I defy you to not find the majority of it interesting and relevant to your HR work, your workforce planning and your role in setting business strategy.

Here are the topics covered in this year’s report:

  1. Global Internet Trends
  2. Global Macro Trends
  3. Advertising/Commerce + Brand Trends
  4. Re-Imagining Communication – Video/Image/Messaging
  5. Re-Imagining Human-Computer Interfaces – Voice/Transportation
  6. China = Internet Leader on Many Metrics
  7. Public/Private Company Data
  8. Data as a Platform/Data Privacy

Every single one of these topics has an impact on how you interact with your people, your people strategy or your people policies. Seriously.

For example, as you think through your internal communication strategy, this graph might be helpful:

Internet Trends 2016 1

Think it’s useful to know that 64% of Baby Boomers cite the telephone as their most preferred contact channel vs. 12% of Millennials? (It won’t be shocking, I hope, to note that Millennials prefer – by 48% — social media and internet/web chat channels.) While you might instinctively know this, seeing the hard data puts the need to rethink employee communication into a different perspective, doesn’t it.?

The advent of using microphones instead of keyboards to interface with computing is in very early days, according to Meeker. However, in 2013 35% of smartphone owners used voice assistants (think Siri) and 65% used the voice interface in 2015. Adoption is rising fast among smartphone owners of all ages. Even if the majority of voice commands are about calling and navigating home, the use is skyrocketing. And as the Boomers age, think of the impact – at home and at work – of not needing to use a keyboard to utilize technology. Is your organization prepared for this radical shift?

In the US, the reasons for using voice interface and the locations we are using it are not so focused on the job. But the trends are pretty clear. What can you do to anticipate and leverage this and enhance productivity, knowledge transfer and the employee experience?

Internet Trends 2016 2

So if calling mom and dad, and navigating (literally) home are the current most often uses of using voice for computer activation, then the charts above make an inordinate amount of sense. But if you keep the oldest demographic of the workforce in mind when reading these charts, you can see that a sea change could be on the very near horizon. What if the oldest demographic of the workforce isn’t going away in the next 10 years? Even more, what if enabling/convincing the oldest demographic of the workforce to stay in the workforce was the key to your workforce plans over the next 10 years? And what if the newest/youngest demographic of the workforce was already using voice for computer interaction nearly 100% of the time as they enter the economy?

Interesting data. Interesting questions. See what I mean about non-HR sources of data?

And just to leave you wishing for the good old days, there’s this graph comparing the attributes of technology use among the emerging Gen Z cohort to the Millennials:

Internet Trends 2016 3

As my dad used to say, “If that doesn’t make your hair curl, I don’t know what will!”

The workplace and workforce planning implications of this report put the future in new light. A good light, I think. A challenging, but good light. And a light you need to focus. What do you think?



Filed under Analytics, Big Data and HR, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Demographics, GenX, GenY, GenZ, Internet Trends, KPCB, Mary Meeker, Millennials

Get To Know Me: Here Comes GenZ

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We haven’t quite got GenY figured out, and here comes GenZ! Universum, the global employer branding firm, has conducted a GenZ survey and found some interesting conclusions. In Generation Z Grows Up we’re given a bit of a peek into this new generation that will be 40% of all consumers by 2020 (less than 5 years from now!) and there is news:

  • GenZ is spooked by the college debt of the Millennials

  • GenZ doesn’t think universities are preparing students for workplace success

  • GenZ perceives current high levels of unemployment following university/college graduation

And it appears that Gen Z’s current orientation to post-secondary education isn’t what we might expect:

Universum Gen Z 1It would appear that 62% of Gen Z would consider joining the economy right after high school – particularly if employers will invest in their training. Of course, as with all things global, attitudes are different around the world. On average, though, if only 38% of high school students globally are committed to enrolling in a university degree program before joining the world of work, there are a great many young people considering forgoing the traditional post-secondary education route in favor of less debt, more employer-sponsored training, and more employment opportunities. Maybe.

Universum has been surveying college/university and graduate school students about to graduate for almost 30 years. It probably has the biggest and most robust data set of student expectations and employer preferences in the world. The 2015 Gen Z survey asked more than 50,000 recent high school graduates about their future careers, higher education plans, as well as their attitudes about work and life. A real window into the next generation of employees.

I know it seems like we haven’t figured out the Millennials yet. But time is marching on and it’s time to meet and greet a whole new generation of employees. Given the dramatic demographic shifts we’re experiencing, we can’t get to know these newcomers fast enough. The first truly digital natives are sure to provide employers opportunities as well as challenges.


Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Gen Y, GenZ, Universum

Memo to Baby Boomers: You Don’t Want to Lose Molly!

When you’re our age, sometimes it’s hard to remember.  Actually, most times it’s easy to forget what it was like to be starting out, to be the kid on the team, to be one step behind, to feel awkward, not to know your way around.  It’s easy to forget what being young was like – because it was a long time ago.

In case you’re having trouble remembering what it was like when the way ahead was full of promise, when every task assigned was an adventure, when getting a project to coordinate was like getting a promotion, when a “well done” from someone more senior kept you motivated for days, when turning 25 meant you could rent a car on your own, let me introduce you to Molly.

Molly graduated a couple of years ago with a major in graphic design from a small, excellent liberal arts college in the Midwest.  She went on three “study abroad” programs (to Peru, Barbados and Spain) to become fluent in Spanish, was on the volleyball team, danced in a couple of musicals, produced a campus comedy/improv group and got good grades.  She was a hard worker in and out of the classroom, working summers in her father’s manufacturing business.  A most valuable player in every aspect of her college years.

Before she graduated she had a job offer from an alum who was building a small startup division of a specialty retailer.  He needed a Marketing Coordinator who would be a most valuable player for the business and be willing to grow and develop with the organization.  A true entry level position.  She would have to move to Denver and then to the West Coast to the retailer’s headquarters if the team met their goals.

In the first 12 months on the job, Molly did a little bit of everything including planning logistics for a trade show and designing and producing the division’s first product catalog.  She was eager to learn, worked hard and nothing was beneath her.  Every assignment was a growth opportunity.  Every business trip an opportunity to expand her contacts.  She took on more and more complex and critical projects and became the go-to person on the team.

When the team made the move to the West Coast, there was no question that Molly would make the move too.  So now, under the full view of the corporate marketing team, Molly has more opportunities to learn, to get involved with bigger projects and to gain valuable experience.

Molly just turned 25, has 2 years of work experience and knows she could probably propel her career forward a couple of notches by leveraging her experience to find that next big step in a bigger company.  But she’s not doing that.  She’s thrilled with her colleagues and her boss and her company.  Her job continues to provide extraordinary experience and skill development and she’s proud of her work, her progress and her company.

But the keys to her “stickiness” are her relationships.  The relationships with her new boss, the division president and other corporate leaders who are coaching her and providing her with great learning opportunities and actionable feedback.  It’s all about how they care for her as a person and as a professional so why would she consider leaving?

I saw her work first hand last week when she produced an extraordinary marketing event at a company here in Las Vegas that is distributing her division’s products.  She was wrangling celebrity chefs, two CEOs, the press, the production crew, her senior management team and the logistics teams from both organizations like a pro.  She was confident, on top of every detail, and the event was gangbusters great.

So why discuss Molly?  Because she’s a lesson for all of us Boomers who believe all the hype about how different (and difficult) the GenYs among us are.  I think it is hype because in Molly I saw myself at 25.  And it made me think that, although the context of starting a career has changed significantly in the last 30 years, people are still people.  Young people want to learn, want to be trusted, want to try their wings.  They want their bosses to invest in them and care about them as people.  They want to be respected.  That’s what I wanted when I was 25.  And 30, and 40, and 50.

I loved talking with Molly and hearing the excitement in her voice, feeling the energy she exuded, and knowing the slight fear of not delivering what was expected – all at the same time.  Because I remembered when that was me.  Like Molly, I was lucky to have found organizations and bosses willing to create real relationships with me and to provide incredible opportunities for learning and development.  To trust in my abilities and to take risks in my intelligence and inexperience.

Strip away all the technology, the mobile apps, the globalized economy, and the effects of the recession and remember what it was like to be an excited, inexperienced kid full of dreams about how our fabulous career would unfold.  And then take a new look at the GenYs in your organization and talk with them the way you wanted to be talked to 30 years ago.  Create solid, real relationships with them and coach them the way you wanted to be coached.

While my Molly is certainly special, I think there are a lot of Mollys out there.  And the key to keeping the Mollys in your organization is creating real, personal relationships with them.  Trust me.  You don’t want to lose Molly!


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