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Published on November 12th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Lexington Chamber Breakfast: The Minds of Today’s Workforce

Pictured: Randy Halfacre, CEO/President, Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce and Kathy George, Senior VP of Franchise & License Operations for Spherion Staffing Services. Photo by Calvin Reese, Millennium Magazine.

Spherion Staffing Services’ Kathy George talked about the importance of becoming an emergent employer in today’s business world. She also offered some ideas on how to accomplish that. George began her presentation by explaining the difference between an emergent worker and a traditional worker.

“Emergent workers, as opposed to traditional workers, have a different approach to work. They’re more about promotions for earning not how long they’ve been there. The traditional worker feels like they deserve a promotion based on how long they’ve been there,” George said. “A traditional worker is also very fearful of changing jobs, whereas an emergent worker felt it was an opportunity to advance. If they weren’t getting what they were looking for where they were currently employed, they were okay about moving.”

George advocates that today’s companies adapt to the changing business climate and strive to meet the needs of emergent workers.

One recommendation is surveying employees regularly. She asks, “How are you measuring what your employees are looking for? How can you retain them if you don’t know what they’re looking for?” George points out how frequently customers are surveyed and suggests employees should be treated more like customers in this regard.

Another step toward becoming an emergent employer is treating your employees with the same degree of care you treat your external customers with.

“Pay attention to what is most critical to your employees. Ask them,” George said.

The biggest key may be finding a way to make work meaningful. Mission, vision and values are critical. Having engaged employees will reduce turnover and improve the bottom line.

“We know engaged employees is a good thing. These employees are more likely to help you out, because they believe what they do matters,” George said. “And they know that you appreciate them.”

It’s also important to adjust training methods, making them fast-paced, visual and fun. Simplifying the work environment is another effective strategy. This can be done by providing formal work/life balance programs, social media tools, and online tools to reduce the burden of today’s 24/7 work environment.

George also pointed out some interesting facts, including 75% of people say they would rather stay unemployed than work for a company with a bad reputation and 87% say they would change jobs to work for a company with a great reputation for as little as a 1-10% salary increase. Overall, one in four workers is likely to look for a new job this year, but 31% of emergent workers are likely to look for a new job this year, according to George.

The presentation also included information on Generation Z, the up to age 20 workers. They are different than millennials. George explained this is a generation accustomed to spending more than ten hours each day online with computers and phones. She said this is a very diverse, culturally aware, and highly educated group.

Another interesting idea from the presentation was holding staying interviews as opposed to waiting to do an exit interview. The suggestion is to be proactive and find out what you need to do as an employer to keep your employees. Don’t wait until they’re already leaving.

The breakfast was sponsored by SAFE Federal Credit Union and catered by Crescent Moon Restaurant.

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