Meet the Millennials: The next generation of your workforce. Be warned they think differently to you.

Posted on : 31-07-2014 | By : richard.gale | In : Innovation

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Whilst talking with a senior manager at one of the big banks he mentioned he was having trouble with some of his graduate trainees. He couldn’t work out why, after their two year induction, they were having such difficulties in ‘getting out there’ and making their mark on the business. We talked about this after the meeting and our thinking is that the traditional way of working may now be changing with the new generation of Millennials.

Every new generation now has a name- ‘Teenagers, Baby boomers, Generation X and now the Millennials – these are people born between 1980 and 2000 and are now growing up and changing the way organisations function and think. Obviously all these names are broad generalisations but how is this group of people different? The following list identifies the key characteristics of the Millennial:

They Multi-task naturally

Doing several things at once, updating social media, listening to music, watching something else whilst tapping out a note on their iPad is the norm for the Millennial generation. They are easily distracted they are great skills for the real world of work where there are always multiple things to get done. The prioritised, ordered to-do list is history and these guys take everything on at once. What needs to be managed is a clear set of goals that need to be achieved in relatively small and short pieces. This will ensure the most important stuff gets done first.

Their lives are connected and they are immersed in technology

Everything is available and connected, all answers are out there either through searching web, social media or just putting a question out there for an instant response. If your company isn’t out there using these channels then it effectively does not exist. Technology in all its forms is part of life now for this generation. There is no real need to train or get them ‘up to speed’ with applications but they will question why they can’t use their own devices and apps at work and why the firewall won’t let them get to Facebook.

They desire recognition and praise

They need this instantly and often, yearly reviews will not cut the mustard with them. They are used to feedback, likes, comments, suggestions as soon as they put something out there and they generally don’t mind who sees it. Recognising this need is important in hiring and retaining young people. Products are evolving to work in this way – just take a look at Salesforce’s (previously Rypple) that provides that continuous, on-going communication.

They need a great work/life balance

This is really about flexibility for both employee and employer. Millennials are hardworking and play hard too but they expect work to fit into their lives and they want balance. Companies need to show that they can flex and also, as importantly, be more than a faceless organisation. Employee events, charities, perks such as fitness clubs all help. Millennials will work hard to get the job done on time but don’t want to be dictated to on how to do it or where to do it from.

They demand transparency and honesty from those around them

Part of the frequent feedback and interaction is a level of openness and honesty. This needs to be encouraged and reciprocated by any employer or partner if they are going to succeed in retaining the millennials.

They are great team players

The new generation are all about teams, collaboration and communication. The days of going off, sitting alone and pushing through a set of work until completion are finished with these guys. Teamwork, sharing, supporting and pushing hard is where they excel.

They are ambitious

They have grown up with expectations that they can ‘do anything, go anywhere’.  It is critical that we support this as there is so much confident talent out there.


As to our senior manager friend at the bank, we talked again and he now sees the true benefits of working with the new generation and he’s loving it and changing too!



Preparing for the emerging upturn

Posted on : 31-07-2014 | By : jo.rose | In : Innovation

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In this article, we consider the timing of the upturn and the implications for the type of change activity to be planned for and some key principles that help ensure success.

I thought I would start with a few sobering statistical observations: Post the 2007-2008 crash, the Gross Value Added by Financial Services and Insurance to the UK economy fell to below that of manufacturing and retail. Further, since GDP bottomed out in 2009, Financial Services output has generally failed to keep track with both GDP growth and other services output. Unsurprisingly, as the crash unfolded, participants in the industry decimated their change budgets as part of wider belt tightening measures.

More recently, official statistics point to the downturn being well and truly over.  However, are the effects of the crash still in evidence in respect of change investment confidence?

We would assert that many companies within the Financial Services industry remain uncertain about their medium term economic prospects as evidenced by a focus on investment in non-discretionary change, such as regulatory requirements, M&A integration, Business-As-Usual maintenance and on smaller scale efficiency or client improvements.

We appear to be sauntering, tentatively up to a turning point in the industry. The latest CBI / PwC Financial Services survey clearly shows optimism, employment and business volumes up across the sector, despite headwinds regarding banking capacity, regulatory and risk management investment, consumer distrust of debt and increased competition from new entrants and as a result of the internet.

As a result there will likely be some relaxation of change budgets, but from a much shrunken base. In the face of increased demand but probably only modestly increased budget, the requirement to invest wisely is more pressing than ever. This means doing only the right things and doing them well.

With a view to the future and a likely phase of modest economic growth, what additional considerations are there for change investment?

With reference to the latest CBI / PwC Financial Services survey, competition has emerged as the primary expected constraint on business growth over the next year. The business environment remains uncertain and so revenue growth will be both difficult to quantify and near impossible to ensure. This suggests investment priorities should be towards reducing the cost base where the impact upon the P&L will be easier to quantify and more realistic to achieve.

Nevertheless, the upturn means that investment in new sources of revenue will need to be made. However, given the business case uncertainty involved, it will be essential that any investments have measurable targets, are aligned with clear strategic goals and have strong sponsorship and accountability.

We would always advocate two broad principles to underpin any organisation’s change programme:

(1)       Sort out the macro agenda first. There is no point ensuring you are super efficient if you’re actually doing the wrong thing. It’s critical that the strategic agenda of the organisation can be traced down to every aspect of the change portfolio, however technical the change may appear at first glance.

(2)       Every aspect of the change portfolio should be owned by an internal customer. Those responsible for delivery aren’t great sponsors because they inevitably have to second-guess the needs of the business or function they are serving. Even overtly technical changes such as network resilience or data architecture improvements really should be owned by the business functions that rely on them.

In our experience, most of the good behaviours you need from an organisation derive from these two principles of operation, but few organisations fully observe them. Taking the time to consider business ambitions over, say, 3 years and to gain the buy-in to every aspect of the change portfolio really pays dividends in the longer term.

In summary, an inoculation plan for uncertain times should include:

  1. Define Strategic Plan: Ensuring the organisation has a clear sense of growth ambitions and business targets to act as focus for all organisational activity. This means having a clear understanding of how strategic targets will be achieved within every department and ensuring those departments have the process and infrastructure capacity to meet anticipated demand.
  2. Go for efficiency: Targeting operational efficiency as a means to maximising profitability. Given increased competition, asset growth by organic means might be difficult to achieve, so operational efficiency, whether it be through outsourcing, industry collaboration, reducing the product mix or process improvement should be on the agenda.
  3. Ensure delivery effectiveness: Having determined what market segments to target, speed to market, as determined by product development processes and infrastructure implementation needs to be optimal. Are contributing departments integrated and working as required?

Although easier said than done, these things can all be achieved through a combination of strategic planning, capability improvement and robust policy implementation.

Thanks to Graham Dash at Luminosity Services for this viewpoint.

If you would like to debate or add to any of the points raised in this article, feel free to get in touch through any of the communications channels below.


LinkedIn: graham dash


Graham is a Director of Luminosity Services Ltd, founded in 2009 to provide specialist consulting services to asset and wealth management companies, investment banks and the organisations that service them. Our leadership team, comprised of Graham Dash and Syd Wilkinson, have more than five decades collective experience in change management, most of it in leadership positions in tier 1 banks, asset managers and consultancies. Our specialisation is “change” – the ability to plan, manage and deliver business improvements. Please visit our website for more details.

“People Analytics” – Can robots replace the recruiters?

Posted on : 28-07-2014 | By : john.vincent | In : Innovation

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The recruitment industry has been largely unchanged for many years. Technology has, of course, changed the way that companies and individuals interact in the process, from online job and candidate postings with companies like Jobserve and Monster, company recruitment portals to engage with and measure preferred suppliers and online screening of candidates prior to onboarding.

However, we are now at a point where technology can really disrupt the industry through the use of Big Data. The ability to not only hire, but equally as important, retain better talent through the use of what is being called “people analytics” is now a reality. By mining the huge amounts of data that potential candidates leave, either willingly or otherwise, in their daily digital lives is allowing companies to assess the value of existing and future employees.

We won’t get into the whole privacy thing…that’s for another day.

According to Prof Peter Capelli at the Centre for Human Resources at Wharton, big data can predict successful hires better than a companies HR department.

While HR researchers have been kicking around small and simple sets of data, much of it collected decades ago, the big-data people have fresh information on hundreds of thousands of people — in some cases, millions of people — and the information includes all kinds of performance measures, attributes of the individual employers, their experience and so forth. There are a lot of new things to look at.

Now, I’m sure there are a lot of HR professionals who would argue with this! However, like all industries where technology advancements have enabled new business practices and efficiencies, recruitment is no different.

Let’s look at the evolution in one specific area, recruitment of technology professionals themselves. During the technology boom years, agencies specialising in finding talent for companies sprung up at a fast pace, armed with a collection of job board subscriptions and expense account. The game was simple….it was all about speed. How quickly could a CV hit the desk of a hiring manager.

When demand outstripped supply the question of selecting the absolute best fit candidate could often be secondary. Get someone quick…in fact, if they’ve only got 50% of the role requirements then get two!… Demand was high, margins were high and everybody was happy.

Things have changed dramatically since 2008. As demand tailed off so did margins for recruitment firms, with in-house managed services firms putting the final nail in for many new entrants.

So, now with “people analytics” in full swing, are we entering a phase where the recruitment industry will fade away completely. Of course not. For certain roles, or levels of seniority, human interaction throughout the whole process from role requirements, through search and selection is a necessity.

However, for some roles such as developers, software engineers or analysts, the use of algorithms rather than traditional routes can uncover a whole new talent pool, through techniques such as actually mining open source code. According to Dr Vivienne Ming of Gild, a specialist tech recruiter;

There are about 100 times as many qualified but un-credentialed candidates out there, at every level of ability. Organizations are creating their own blind spots, which leads to companies paying too much for their hires and to talent being squandered

Indeed, when the University of Minnesota analysed 17 studies evaluating job applicants, they actually found that human decisions were outperformed by a simple equation by at least 25%.

So, the days of the CV may be numbered. Smart companies are not waiting to advertise a role and harvest applications through their traditional channels, but are more sourcing candidates directly by casting the net into the social media waters, looking at blogs and the like. A recent survey showed that some 44% of companies looked at these platforms before hiring and candidates are now much more aware of their social media brand.

The use of people analytics continues post hire to further develop, nurture and retain talent. An example of this is actually in the world of recruitment itself where Social Talent has developed a data tool which it is testing on 2000 individuals. By analysing their daily activity, from emails, phone calls, browsing, candidate key word searching etc… it is able to build a profile of the most successful techniques and provide constructive advice through popup messages in real time.

So where does that leave the recruiters on both sides of the fence? Well, some of the smart providers are developing their own platforms to provide their customers with advanced people analytics whilst on the client side, we see the focus shifting to a smaller subset of organisational roles.

As for the traditional HR role in the talent process, we’ll leave the last word to Peter Capelli;

My bet is that the CIO offices in most big companies will soon start using all the data they have (which is virtually everything) to build models of different aspects of employee performance, because that’s where the costs are in companies and it’s also the unexamined turf in business