The New Workforce: Engaging the Talent You Have

Anyone that doubts that the global workforce is changing should have attended the panel on the 21st Century Workforce at the 2014 Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles.

Featuring a panel of thought leaders including Maynard Webb (former COO of eBay) as well as executives from GE, and Ernst & Young the panel cast a spotlight on the significant changes in the modern workforce, and what it means for the way organizations lead, engage and harness the power of the emerging 21st Century workforce.

While workforce management may seem dry, the reality is that it is a topic that goes beyond mere employee satisfaction and engagement. Taking the right approach to the emerging workforce is not only imperative for the modern business, it is essential to developing a competitive and profitable organization that is capable of competing and innovating in the global marketplace.

All of this was music to our ears. TaskUs wasn't founded with the intention of becoming an outsourcing company. It was founded to help remove obstacles to growth that prevented organizations and their employees from achieving their potential and in doing so change the way we work. Lofty? Sure, but based on the Milken panel this is clearly a pressing concern, or as panelist Lauren Leader Chivee put it, ""This is the professional, corporate, business issue of our time."

We couldn't agree more.

A Different Value System

It's not uncommon to hear about the "entitled" or "lazy" Millennial generation in professional circles. This is not only an unfortunate point of view, it's myopic. The reality is that Millennials are neither: they're just not motivated by the same "command and control" approach that characterizes most hierarchical. 20th Century organizations. Rather, these highly educated, connected and value-driven individuals want "passion and purpose" in their careers. Combine the well-documented lack of loyalty with the desire for passion and purpose and you have employees who are likely to move on if they're not engaged or fulfilled professionally.

Engagement: The Key to Growth

Engagement and fulfillment sounds like terms worthy of a long, exaggerated eye roll but resist the urge. AON's 2013 Trends in Employee Engagement Report found that 40% of employees are disengaged at work, meaning that they are passive or totally disengaged. While that fact alone should be disconcerting it's even more thought provoking when you consider that AON found that "an analysis of employee engagement and company performance data concludes that companies that managed higher employee engagement relative to their peers throughout the economic downturn are now seeing dramatic, positive impacts to their revenue growth." In other words: employee engagement is a leading indicator of company growth.

Harnessing Talent

There are obviously many components to engaging the 21st Century workforce -- a cohort that is primarily female and multicultural. But the fact remains that learning how to tap their talent is the key to becoming competitive in a global marketplace, but it's also about being able to engage and cultivate the leaders your company needs to become a real player.

Where do you start?

Well, for one thing, ask yourself if your utilizing your employees in a manner that is not only appropriate for your company, but also for them. From our experience working with high-growth companies we've learned that intelligent and useful employees are often being under utilized. Instead of being allowed to support a company in a meaningful way they're asked to "wear a lot of hats" -- code for do what needs to be done. It isn't until after we have come in and helped offload the burden of vital but time consuming tasks that some of our clients realize how much they were neglecting the true gems they have in their organizations. It's a great feeling for our clients, the employee and TaskUs, given our mission of empowering people and organizations -- but we'd rather see clients come to us because they realize the strategic value of outsourcing as well as recognize the value of their workforce. 

There is a lot of work to be done when it comes to harnessing the power of talent, and TaskUs won't stop until it's done, but we also hope more organizations realize that they should spend less time trying to keep their employees busy, and engage them. Leave the busy to us.

Michael Buenaventura

May 08, 2014