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Passing the Baton: From Baby Boomers to Generation X

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For years now, members of the Baby Boomer generation have been running operations at major corporate entities, but recent data suggests that the workforce is changing and so too is its leadership. According to a recent Gallup poll, 31 percent of today’s workforce is approaching or reaching 61 years of age – the average age of retirement – or 65 – the traditional retirement age.  With impending retirement threatening the frontlines, businesses need to prepare for new leadership to take reign. Enter Generation X.

To make this a smooth transition, you have to understand that Generation X, next in line, will undoubtedly lead differently than Baby Boomers. They were raised in a different time and have different values and experiences to bring to the table. However, this is not to say that there aren’t characteristics Generation X can adopt from Baby Boomers.

Motivating a New Generation

At the same time, business as we know it is changing and it is only natural that its leadership will as well. Their history has shaped their attitudes and values. They are likely the most misunderstood generation yet they possess skills of value and if given the chance, can be effective leaders. The following points will help you better understand their leadership style so your organization won’t skip a beat.

Point 1: Advocates for a favorable work-life balance

Gen Xers felt the brunt of triple divorce rates and parents who saw more of their work than their families. Now they are choosing to make different lifestyle choices. Now when the 5 o’clock dinner bell rings, you’ll likely find a quieter office. This isn’t to say that they are less involved at work, but they find value in having personal time and their employees will reap those benefits as well.

Point 2: Micromanaging becomes a thing of the past 

Gen Xers value autonomy. They are more independent, which may seem as though they are disengaged, when in fact they really just encourage free-thinking. There isn’t a need to micromanage. They can give an assignment and then step back assuming it will get done. They can appreciate and trust the abilities of their colleagues. Unlike with Baby Boomers you can expect there to be a high level of freedom in the work environment.

Point 3: Creative is in  

Given their knowledge of technology, Gen Xers function differently than their Baby Boomer predecessors. Xers are savvier to the new technologies and will bring that to the forefront of businesses as leaders. Technology will become more pertinent in everyday business, which can open the doors for innovation.

Point 4: They acknowledge results not time

Xers want to be rewarded based on the quality of their work not quantity (time) they put into it. This can be seen through their management of others, showing favor to outcomes. More time to them doesn’t necessarily coordinate with more or better productivity. However, as noted above they are more likely to utilize the latest trends in technology, helping to accomplish more with less.

A lot is changing in the coming years as Baby Boomers pass over the leadership baton and Gen Xers strive to fill in the gaps. Gen Xers will be taking on great responsibility managing one of the most evolutionary generations – The Millennials – during one of the biggest transitions in history. Their autonomy, resilience and intelligence will hold up well in the business environment.



Author Bio:

Lauren is an enthusiastic writer who is passionate about numerous topics surrounding the HCM industry including talent management and acquisition, technology, document management and leadership, just to name a few. Lauren has been with Paycom for over a year and has taken on roles as a blogger, social strategist and community relations coordinator. In her spare time she enjoys DIY“ing,” exploring the city and keeping up with her two dogs, Deacon and Cookie.

Employer Brand

4 Weaknesses in an Employer Brand From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

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With the holiday moviegoing season upon us, one of the most anticipated blockbusters – about a continuing space battle – is approaching at warp speed. Earlier entries in this enduring franchise actually can teach us about one of today’s hottest HR topics, the employer brand.

The first film’s hero – we’ll call him Lou Swashbuckler – is the most desired talent across several planets. The evil Dark Overlord and his Galaxy Syndicate want him for his special abilities, while Her Highness Laura and her Renegade Association seek his morale and piloting expertise. In the end, Swashbuckler decides to side with the organization whose values and ambitions most closely align with his goals — the good-guy Renegade Association.

Learn more about the employer brand by subscribing to Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast.

Despite having more resources and benefits, the Galaxy Syndicate still lost the war for Swashbuckler’s top talent. Here are four reasons why its employer brand proved unattractive.

  1. Galaxy Syndicate employees are poorly trained

As a workforce, Dark Overlord’s Galaxy Syndicate suffers from a reputation of being less than high-performing. Its low-level, white-helmeted troops are so ineffectively trained for their positions, they can’t even exhibit precise aim with their work-issued weaponry. A few other skills they lack include safely driving levitating vehicles, securing prisoners and identifying people of interest. Plus, they are easily distracted by strange noises and have a keen inability to focus on the task at hand.

These issues found consistently among multiple employees point to a lack of training within the organization. If the Syndicate does not place ability at a high bar, it is easy to see why so many unskilled prospects would apply to this behemoth of an organization. To positively influence his company’s culture and attract quality talent, Dark Overlord should invest his vast resources into proper training on a companywide basis.

  1. The Syndicate has an undeniably high turnover rate

It is no secret that having Dark Overlord for a boss can be hazardous to one’s health. Between the treacherous work conditions of building a battle station while under fire and being ordered to fly straight into a crowded asteroid field, Galaxy Syndicate employees do not last long. The high turnover rate is just another sign of an employer brand that places no value on the livelihood of its people.

Top performers are not going to apply for a company that disregards their well-being. In order to positively influence the employer brand, the Syndicate should craft more specific employee-protection policies and create safety training courses.

  1. The Syndicate bleeds quality talent

Due to the high turnover rate, toxic work culture and the oftentimes ethically questionable nature of the Galaxy Syndicate’s work, many of its best employees eventually defect in favor of joining its biggest competitor, the Renegade Association. That competition may offer a smaller paycheck and more modest benefits, but the scrappy organization’s values and methods are more likely to attract the best workers in less than 12 parsecs.

The Syndicate’s revolving door of employees creates an employer brand and culture of indifference, anonymity and disinterest in comradery. In order to change the perspective of his employer brand, Dark Overlord should create organizational values and a clear mission statement to inspire teamwork and rally his workforce before they quit … or die.

  1. The Syndicate isn’t even a top-performing organization

The destruction of two of the Galaxy Syndicate’s home bases – aka Doom Planets – demonstrates that biggest is not always the best. Its consistent record of failure against a significantly smaller competitor is unattractive and unlikely to draw skilled talent. The organization may have unlimited marketing and recruiting resources to lure applicants, but ultimately, its values attract villainy not invested in the overall success of the organization. This can lead to, at minimum, a toxic culture with high turnover and, quite possibly, the company’s ultimate defeat.

When you are a large company, it is easy to become content with the status quo and, therefore, less invested in your employer brand. But do not become negligent after achieving success. To maintain an employer brand that will attract invested employees, create a strong mission statement and purpose – one around which the workforce will want to rally.

When considering your own employer brand, consider the Galaxy Syndicate’s less-than-stellar reputation and the low quality level of its employees to understand the type of workforce you don’t want to attract. Then try to do the opposite. (Actually, there is no “try.”)

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Talent Shortage

4 Reasons for Our Nation’s Talent Shortage

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Organizations worldwide are frustrated by the challenge of finding well-qualified talent, which makes the fight to hire a top candidate even tougher.

Manpower Group’s annual Talent Shortage Survey revealed that last year, 40% of employers worldwide reported difficulty filling jobs. It’s not just your HR department feeling the pain, either; according to a recent Deloitte survey, 33% of CFOs said that the current talent shortage remains the top barrier to business growth.

What has caused the talent shortage? Let’s look at four contributing factors within the manufacturing industry as a microcosm of what’s happening on the national scale.

  1. Low unemployment and a skills gap

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent unemployment rate was 4.1%. In general, such a low number is considered a good thing. The problem is that today’s employers are struggling to find the right people for their open positions: the qualified ones. Research conducted by Deloitte and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness indicate that manufacturing executives, for example, consider the “quality and availability of talent” to be the most critical part of competitiveness in their industry. Low unemployment means that employers have to work that much harder to find skilled candidates who currently aren’t working – or find competitive ways to convince employed individuals to make the switch to work with them.

  1. Business expanding post-recession

Just before and after the turn of the millennium, rapid growth of tech industries and offshoring labor led to industries like manufacturing taking a back seat in the national economy. Manufacturing jobs – and their accompanying skills and know-how – were displaced, outsourced and diminished in favor of such service sectors as financial services and health care.

Once the Great Recession hit, Americans rethought the idea of manufacturing. In a survey conducted annually between 2009 and 2014 with the Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte found that most Americans would choose to add 1,000 jobs in manufacturing centers. More jobs might have been created as a result, but the skills gap left hundreds of thousands of jobs unfilled – an estimated 600,000 in 2011 alone, for example.

  1. An improving economy

Historically, times of economic turmoil often are followed by bounce-back periods of growth. The current expansion post-Great Recession already has lasted 95 months, making it the third-longest in U.S history.

However, improvement can lead to fears of yet another “overheating,” sending the economy again into a recession-like period. As long as the economy expands, more jobs will be created, along with the need to fill them; the skills gap will counter naturally by holding back the right talent from taking those positions.

  1. Retiring baby boomers

Fresh talent coming through the American employment pipeline is considered weak compared to that of other nations, both developed and emerging. Research from the Program for International Student Assessment indicates that young Americans are behind on math, science and reading.

That’s a big problem. Deloitte estimates that 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will be open in the span between 2015 and 2025 – partly due to the 2.7 million baby boomers expected to retire during that time. Many of these positions are expected to remain unfilled due to the shortage of workers with the skills necessary to operate in the advanced manufacturing environment of the 21st century.

What we see in the manufacturing sector is happening in other industries as well, which illustrates several reasons companies are struggling to find and retain top talent. Are you curious about how you can help your organization buck the trend? Register and attend this webinar for a step-by-step strategy to combat the talent shortage.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Millennials, Talent Acquisition

Braeden Fair

by Braeden Fair


Author Bio:

Braeden Fair produces webinars and podcasts for Paycom, in addition to writing content for the company’s blog and its employee culture magazine, Paycom Pulse. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, he managed social media for the college’s student life division and worked in the broadcasting departments of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas-based sports-talk radio station The Ticket.

Leading yourself

Leading Yourself: 7 Ways to Achieve Your 10-Year Goals

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Imagine you’re at dinner party 10 years from now in a lovely home, with dear friends you haven’t seen in ages. As you make your way around the party catching up on life, each person asks the same questions, wondering what is new with you, your family and your life.

Now let’s return to the present: What do you want those conversations to look like in 10 years? Who do you want to be? What do you hope to have accomplished?

When you’re able to answer these questions, you’re creating a vision for your future and taking the first step in your journey to self-leadership. The next step is deciding how you will achieve these goals.

Creating your blueprint

Start by looking at your current circumstances. Think about the different areas of your life that matter most to you and form goals based on them. Your goals may be professional, financial, mental, spiritual, physical or personal. Which parts of your life do you want to change? Which parts of your life would you like to stay the same? What kind of friend, sibling, parent or employee do you want to be?

By answering these questions, you form a blueprint for what you want to accomplish in the next decade, while also establishing smaller goals you can work on now to help you achieve that future vision.

A physical version of your blueprint, like a vision board, is a helpful way to display your goals and keep yourself accountable.

Leading yourself

With those established, you’re able to focus on what will put you in tune with becoming a leader and being successful. The smallest of details tend to go a long way. By following these seven guidelines, you’ll be able to develop yourself into an outstanding leader.

  1. Personal brand: Pay attention to your personal brand – that is, how you represent yourself through your clothes, body language and communication style.
  2. Intent: Be intentional about your health and happiness.
  3. Organization: Stay organized — whether at work or at home — by establishing routines and keeping an up-to-date calendar.
  4. Learning: Commit to learning something new every day.
  5. 1% more: Volunteer to work on projects others may not want to do, and always give 1% more than you think you can.
  6. Influence: Surround yourself with a solid circle of influence: people who lift you up to the highest self you’ve imagined.
  7. Grit: Exhibit the mental toughness to program your mind for success.

By focusing on these seven items, you’ll be better equipped to visualize what your life will be like a decade from now at that dinner party. Hopefully, your circumstances will equal your blueprint, and you’ll be your happiest, most exceptional self.

Additionally, once you have mastered how to lead yourself exceptionally well, you can lead others more effectively. The better you are at taking care of yourself — whether that be mentally, physically, personally or professionally — the more apt you are to make an impact on those around you.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Leadership

Stacey Pezold

by Stacey Pezold


Author Bio:

Stacey Pezold serves as Paycom’s first Chief Learning Officer. Having joined the company in 2005, she worked her way up to such positions as Regional Manager, Director of Corporate Training, Executive Vice President of Operations and, most recently, Chief Operating Officer. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, she has more than 11 years of leadership and training experience.

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