~ European Chemical Employers Group conference reinforces EIIL findings on connected generation ~

The EIIL recently participated in the ECEG conference on A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe. In his keynote introduction Eric Mamer, Deputy Head of cabinet of EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, outlined some of the main changes we can expect from digitalisation. There were three which echoed the findings of the EIIL’s Leading the Connected Generation study of 2013 and we think are worth sharing.

A change in work structure

The automation of jobs has resulted in a shift in the fundamental structure of many industries. With the advent of the Internet of Things this shift will accelerate. Entirely new kinds of jobs, and challenges, are being developed that didn’t exist fifteen, ten or even five years ago.

As we discussed in our post on ART in Industry, the lack of understanding about future careers in industry is a major barrier to Gen C pursuing those careers. Promoting the exciting possibilities the future will hold is something companies need to take a proactive role in if they are going to capture the imagination of Gen C.

A change in employment conditions

As Andreas Ogrinz, managing director of the ECEG’s German member BAVC, mentioned at the event, there is an increasing trend for employees to look at their working times rather than their working days. Additionally, Gen C have a tendency to reject hierarchies and prefer a more network-like structure.

These changes in attitude are set to have an increasing impact on the workplace as more members of Gen C join. Companies need to ensure they structure their workplace and working style and educate their existing managers to make the most of Gen C’s capabilities. Fostering networks to crowd-source solutions, and rewarding contribution, rather than just time spent at work, will be critical in retaining Gen C.

Increasing need for embedded digital skills

An increase in digitalisation means an increase in the need for people who can use digital devices at every level of an organisation. Great news for Gen C then, but not so much for non digital natives.

The EIIL stresses the need for intergenerational learning which begins with intergenerational understanding. Companies should help their youngest recruits recognise that they bring valuable skills into the organisation. Demonstrating to Gen C that they are valued is one of the key factors in retaining them. They would do well to trade these skills for the insights of the older generation. The company which can facilitate this will get additional return from its investment in its seniors, as well as increasing its retention rates of young people.