shutterstock_171179255There is a hot conversation going on in a lot of businesses.

Most every business is facing a challenge related to hiring, retaining and training employees.

And, if they don’t feel the pain now they will in a few years. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be shortfall of 18 million people to fill roles in the US. Millennials and Gen Z’s entering the workforce have an opportunity ahead of them.

In one sense they have a growing field of opportunity. In another they have the chance to define what the workforce of the future looks like – both as an employee, as an employer and as an entrepreneur to create the systems to manage The War for Talent.

Employee Retention & Company Culture

There is a talent gap related to every generation. This talent gap is related to retaining employees as well as training them and keeping them motivated. This has nothing to do with the perception that Millennials have been characterized as slackers by some media. The reality is that a lot of companies have not taken a close look at their culture and how it aligns to the War for Talent.

People are loyal to culture, not to strategy.

It’s not easy or cheap to create a strategy or a culture. But, strategy changes while culture endures. Having a culture that embraces and engages employees will win in the long run.

Culture eats strategy for Breakfast
~ Peter Drucker

10,000 Boomers Every Day

One of the challenges facing organizations today in The War for Talent is the dwindling work force. Or, so it may seem on the surface. There are 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day … this will continue for the next 20 years. However, in the past few months the Millennials have reached a new milestone. Just recently the Millennial Generation became the largest category of humans on the planet. There are 80 million in the US and 2 billion worldwide.

This is a very good thing for Millennials. Not only are they the dominant work force category, but they also have a huge and wide open field to innovate. I mean innovate in a few senses of the word. Millennials (and Gen Z’ers) will be able to innovate what their roles look like.

Innovation will take on a few personas … and some will occur at the same time for the same person:

  • Employee – We already know that it’s become common to jump from role to role and company to company. The employee will decide when, where and how they want to work. Sure, employers will have a say (and a need) to cover specific days and hours. But, more and more the “employee” will vote with their feet. This is one of the challenges in The War for Talent.
  • Employer – They will also become the employer of many of these retiring, or soon to be retiring, Baby Boomers as well as their Millennial and Gen Z brethren. Keeping them challenged … as well as trained and motivated … will always be top of mind.
  • Entrepreneur – This is one I like the most. Innovations in “Human Capital Management” are ready to take off. Several of the large consulting firms and platform providers have already started practices and have built solutions to get the ball rolling. Millennials have a unique opportunity to play a significant role here. Both as a leader of these traditional firms, but most interestingly as a creator of a new kind of thinking for HCM.

Not a Zero Sum Game

In the War for Talent it’s setting up an opportunity that is far from a Zero Sum Game. Quite the contrary … the Millennials and Gen Z generations are going to be able to pick and choose. Millennials are going to have to select from an ever-widening set of “job” options. Millennials are going to be able to define the work force in their own vision. And, in the process create solutions to capture the data, processes and concepts from previous generations. This is what I meant by innovation and the ability to occupy several personas at once.

Technology is making it easier than ever to do a lot of things. Some of the things that have traditionally required “the human touch” are fading away into oblivion. However, some skills, some traits, some specialized knowledge still resides within the human brain and require to human touch. This is an area where Millennials are going to be able to create solutions that capture, catalog and archive what Baby Boomers have spent years, decades actually, to create.

The Future is Bright

It’s NOT all gloom and doom for them in the workforce. The wise companies are figuring out ways to capture the information the Boomers have been carrying around in their heads and on their clipboards. The wise companies are working to insure Millennials and Gen Z workers can enter the workforce and utilize the information their predecessors used to get their jobs done. The wise companies are putting Millennials in charge.

Corollary: The Wise Millennials are creating the next generation of Wise Companies.

These are the challenges and the opportunities in The War for Talent.

Are you ready for battle?