Customers and Employees Reflect Diversity

Gen Y 2Finding and retaining top talent in today’s market has little to do with the incentives of yesteryear, and it’s a challenge I think most companies today are dealing with in one form or another.  Ironically, the issue parallels the demands we see in today’s customers. Flexibility, enhanced technology, and personalization are key factors.  Suits?  Ties?  Boardrooms? As this new generation of workers might text: LOL.

A recent CNN article highlighted the changes workers born between 1979 and 1997 will bring to the workforce, and how employers need to prepare for this new onslaught of staffers.  Granted, this information is not specific to the insurance industry, but the article, “‘Generation Y’ Set to Transform Office Life,” exposes how a tectonic shift will occur in the U.S. employee base by the end of the decade—when Gen Y will be the majority.

Similar to their expectations as consumers, Gen Y employees have a completely altered set of workplace demands when compared to Baby Boomers.  They want more collaboration and innovation at all levels. Freedom and flexibility is a must when it comes to schedules and information access.

Work-from-home options and non-traditional hours can be a boon to non-Boomers, but it also can be a concern.  If you are enabling this kind of mobile, all-hours access, how secure is the information being exchanged?  Moreover, a fine line exists between empowering next-gen workers and protecting personally identifiable information (PII) or doing regular business.

As the varying generation streams combine into one common, and somewhat brackish, workplace pool, the need for consistency, workflow, and information safety remains paramount.  Some fundamental business practices must remain as buttoned up as a crisp, white shirt—both starched and ironed.

Perhaps if we look at our workforce just as we do customers, with their customizable and individual demands, we can glean some insight.  Good companies address evolving customer needs, yet they do so with a level head. Instead of completely overhauling existing systems and catering to one type, successful companies make adjustments and tweak already proven and trusted methods to address a wide variety of users.

For me, this article and the thoughts stemming from it relate nicely to what we do at CEDAR.  Working with insurers on a daily basis, we merge the new into the old.  CEDAR’s platform unlocks and leverages core system data, creating new opportunities to communicate with additional stakeholders and downstream systems. The need for integration with existing legacy systems and the staff that knows them best is absolutely mandatory.

I guess just as with the integration new technologies, welcoming Gen Y into today’s workplace is about combining the knowledge and reliability of what you have with the benefits new people, ideas, and technology brings.  Everything, after all, is a constant balance and an evolution.