HR: Digital Natives Were Yesterday

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Changes in the world of work are forcing employers to do more talent management. We bring you the views of three HR professionals who presented at the SAP Personnel Management Forum on March 19th and 20th in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Next page: Sven Gabor Janszky looks into the future

Sven Gabor Janszky looks into the future

“Profiles aren’t going to help you find the right person for the job going forward,” said trend researcher Sven Gabor Janszky of 2b AHEAD ThinkTank in Karlsruhe, Germany, in his presentation. Instead, tomorrow’s potential recruits will be choosing who they want to work for, and companies will have the task of plugging the biggest gaps in their knowledge. “But how much do you invest in someone who will be gone in three years?” asked Janszky. He maintained that staff will be “bought in” for project work, or rather, people will be picking the projects they like from what companies have on offer. “Often, these people are much better equipped for the job than someone who has been with the same firm for years on end.” What drives these project seekers? Money and status are not their primary motivation – it’s the challenge of the project, a sense of purpose, and working with people who are good at what they do. Janszky’s advice: “Know as much as possible about the talents your people can offer. You can only improve your status if you know where you stand. And lastly, be a caring company – hold on to your people by looking after them.”

Next page: Luisa Deplazes Delgado, Member of the SAP Executive Board, Human Resources, sees changes around the corner

Luisa Deplazes Delgado, Member of the SAP Executive Board, Human Resources, sees changes around the corner 

By 2014, people born after 1980 will constitute almost half of SAP’s workforce. Generation Y workers are active on the social media, they want to be in the office some of the time, but they also want to be able work when they’re on the go. That has implications for management: Top-down decisions are out. “Managers have to step outside their comfort zone,” Deplazes Delgado said in her keynote at the Forum. The new generation won’t put up with the old ways. The individual is sovereign. “Of all social trends, that’s probably the one that will impact us most,” said Deplazes Delgado. Further changes:

  • Decisions are needed in real time, so HR technology must respond with ways of quickly bringing on or bringing in good people with the right skills and knowledge.
  • Solutions like the one SAP uses from its recent acquisition, SuccessFactors, provide ideal support for the process of developing managers, said Deplazes Delgado. Added to which, every individual aims not only to take on responsibilities but also to satisfy their own sense of purpose in what they do.
  • Deplazes Delgado knows from the research just how important it is to meet the up-and-coming generation of managers on the right terms today: Statistically, a five-percent improvement in employee retention correlates to a 0.7% improvement in margin.

Next page: Christian Scholz on Generation Z

Christian Scholz (Saarland University) is already thinking about Generation Z and what they will be like

Hot on the heels of Generation Y will come Generation Z. It will be a big generation gap. Generation Z is not prepared to work all hours; they want evenings and weekends for themselves. They have a hard and fast demarcation between ‘company time’ and ‘my time’. The successors to Generation Y commit to projects, not companies. That will have a big impact: People will go to project marketplaces to pick a project that interests them. They stay with the organization running that project just as long as their work on it lasts. They use social media selectively – that is, when they need to. “Generation Z want to maximize their income and their pleasure in life,” Christian Scholz told the Forum. Another characteristic: You can’t closely monitor what Generation Z people are doing. The company pays them to complete a job, but it has to trust them to do it properly. Scholz’s assessment: “Generation Z people are realistic, not optimistic. They may be fickle in their choice of who to work for because they are always on the lookout for new challenges in new projects. They aren’t as prepared to go the extra mile as their Generation Y predecessors. Their attitude is more individualistic: they don’t join movements, they each find their own path.