The CIPD’s Annual Conference and Exhibition once again looks set to be a jam-packed event for HR and payroll software vendor Cascade.
The session centered on how technology can play a major role in attracting and retaining skilled young workers who expect to have a say in how a company is run. The debate heard that intelligent use of technology can make companies more attractive to millennials, who are more likely to leave a firm and join a rival if they feel that their voice is not being heard.
Software can also help managers tackle problems such as absenteeism, and also ensure that workers at all levels understand the company’s long-term goals.
The roundtable, which was held at The Yorkshire Post head office in Leeds on behalf of Cascade, featured a number of leading human resources professionals from across the region. The panel featured Paul Sparkes, our product and strategy director, Steve Sweetlove, who heads up professional services firm RSM’s human resources team, Alex Clements, a partner at law firm Schofield Sweeney, who is an employment law specialist, Emma Plummer head of human resources at Airedale Chemical, a manufacturing firm based in Cross Hills, Tracey Hopkins, the finance director of Howarths People and Safety Management, which is based in Cleckheaton and Katie Rigarlsford, the university business centres manager at Leeds Beckett University. The debate was chaired by Greg Wright, The Yorkshire Post’s deputy business editor.
Paul Sparkes said that software could improve a company’s performance by making employees feel more engaged, through the use of surveys. Technology can also help managers by spotting challenges or emerging behavioural trends. The use of anonymous surveys could, for example, reveal some home truths about a business, he said.
He commented: “After a while, what we have seen, is that customers are putting the ability to not be anonymous in certain surveys. Some people want to step up and show that they care about their environment in a much more public way.”
Mr Sweetlove added: “Millennials will not have their voice suppressed. They will have an opinion. They will vote with their feet if they are not happy because there is no job for life. Productive people are engaged people. An annual appraisal isn’t going to work for somebody whose motivation is different.”
Ms Hopkins said that studies indicated that millennials demand and require regular feedback. Technology can also help with the selection process. She added: “Companies need to become more innovative in attracting key talent. Actually, the individual is interviewing us. Are we right for them?
“The workforce coming through were born into technology. They are used to making comments as they feel fit, rather than waiting until you have a meeting and you’ve got the opportunity to discuss that issue.”
Ms Plummer said: “Millennials are not afraid to voice their opinion. They are not hiding behind that screen.”
Ms Rigarlsford said that millennials wanted to have an opportunity to voice their opinions, which could be beneficial for morale and staff engagement. She added: “It’s a good way of doing it rather than a manager having to sit down and say, ‘How are you doing?” The panel also agreed that it was important to build confidence by acting on survey findings.