manage, secure and deliver it for a remote workforceUtah Business recently recognized the top HR professionals in the state, among them Ivanti's own Debbie Wine!

Read on to learn more about Debbie's thoughts on what people look for when job searching, how companies of the future will take care of their employees, and how she would like to see HR and talent acquisition progress.

Utah Business: In your opinion, what one benefit are employees most looking for when job searching?

DW: Today, employees are taking a multi-layered approach to job seeking. If you had to single out one benefit it would have to be an organization’s culture. However, within a candidate’s perception of ‘culture’ these days, there are quite a few elements: work-life balance, a clear career path, potential for advancement, an inclusionary atmosphere, and company financial stability and ongoing market success potential.

Work-Life Balance and Opportunities to Give Back

Work-life balance, particularly for the current generation of millennial candidates, is more important than ever. The younger demographics, whether recruits or employees, now expect organizations to see them holistically, supporting their blended work-life and allowing for more flexibility. MetLife, in its 2019 Employee Benefits Trend Survey, found that 76% of employees believe “when work and life blend and enrich each other, everybody wins.” For younger workers, MetLife discovered they regard work as an important part of their ‘personal brand,’ owing in part to the advent of social media and the opportunity to publicly share many personal work-life details. 

Ivanti embraces work-life balance with a robust volunteer time off (VTO) program encouraging employees to take at least 8 hours of paid leave a year to volunteer at the non-profit of their choosing. This program is in addition to the regular paid time off (PTO) benefits employees have. In 2019, employees participating in the global Ivanti Cares VTO program logged a record 4,971 hours, stunning proof that we fulfilled a personal need for our employees to give back to their communities.

Upward Mobility and Opportunities to Learn

Regarding a clear career path and potential for advancement, in a tight labor market, candidates are expecting to see the runway to moving up the ladder and/or learning new skills on the job.  As MetLife mentioned in its survey, people want their employers to be their ally, working with them on the road to a meaningful career and healthy work-life balance. 

Actively nurturing an employee’s unique needs with an inclusionary atmosphere is another key aspect candidates desire in an organizational culture. Candidates want transparency and inclusion as part of a work-life environment that supports their success personally and professionally. They look at their work as part of the larger holistic picture of their well-being.

Financial Stability of Company

Lastly, company financial stability and ongoing market success potential is a factor in candidate’s evaluation of a company’s desirability. Millennials are adept at online search and can have a pretty good picture of a company’s position in the marketplace. It’s up to the recruiter to have data at the ready to present an accurate sketch of the company and to be able to answer candidate’s questions with adequate detail.

Companies who present a clear picture of a healthy work-life balance culture, and a stable organization that supports individual needs and encourages success, will have the best chance of attracting candidates in a competitive market.

Utah Business: In your opinion, how does the company of the future take care of their employees?

DW: The company of the future will be a mix of millennials and Generation Z workers. By 2022 the first of the millennial cohort will be turning 40. This means millennials will be increasingly transitioning to more managerial and executive positions as they mature in their job experience and take on more influential roles in organizations. Generation Z, in parallel, will be moving into the workforce with its own set of expectations. 

To effectively take care of these two distinctive cohorts, companies need to acknowledge differences in perception and goals, and at the same time, be aware there are also some commonalities in expectations between the two groups.

Compensation and Retention

In designing compensation and retention programs, companies need to be aware that millennials are widely reported to be less financially well off than their Gen X or Baby Boomer predecessors. Studies by Deloitte and the Federal Reserve both point to statistics that show millennials have to spend more on nondiscretionary expenses such as paying off student debt, which has grown 160% from 2004 to 2017. 

Taking care of millennials in the future means helping these employees with sound retirement planning, savings programs and counseling where needed.  Financial stress contributes to employee performance issues so helping cash-strapped millennials develop a sound financial foundation helps employer and employee. 

Gen Z employees are a different bunch. Analysis shows they are saving at an early age, are laser focused on getting rid of student debt faster than millennials and see no obstacles to becoming 20-something millionaires. Taking care of those Gen Z individuals who choose to join an existing company means providing them with sophisticated savings options and incentives to stay with a company long enough to see return on investment.

Company Culture

Work-life balance is a company culture greatly desired by both millennials and Gen Z, with the nuance that Gen Z is more cause driven as opposed to volunteering for a particular organization. This cultural aspect will continue to be a priority well into the future.  Companies wishing to foster an environment that appeals to these workers need to make initiatives related to work-life balance, including paid volunteer time, a basic part of their overall mission.

Lastly, companies have to take care of their employees’ holistic experience – nurturing trust through transparency, promoting clear advancement paths and working as a team with each and every employee. Younger employees, the ‘digital natives’, expect much more open sharing of ideas and feelings and want their employers to be less rigid and open to their ideas.

Utah Business: How would you like to see human resources and talent acquisition progress?

DW: I would like to see an evolution which results in human resources (HR) getting a seat at the executive table and being seen as an integral player in shaping the strategy of the business. I do think this is evolving but not as fast I would like. In many organizations HR is still very much siloed and not called upon for strategic decision making.

An Integral Player

For a number of reasons, HR becoming a more strategic element makes sense. The recent highly competitive hiring market spotlighted the need for HR to up its game in talent acquisition. In a candidate driven market, companies who offer the complete suite of benefits people are looking for today have a better chance of being chosen.

HR also needs to be strategic in exactly who they hire and that means a direct channel into executive decision making and business strategy. For example, in the tech field, it helps to know a company is adding a new product division in a few quarters and that division is going to be regarded as a major contributor to growth. Transparency with HR here is essential so HR can begin looking at its candidate pool from a future perspective and be proactive in filling critical positions.

Data Analytics and Succession Planning

Using data analytics and becoming more scientific in gathering information is another imperative in HR’s evolution. Trend analysis will help to spot economic and educational changes influencing recruitment. Also, more frequent employee performance conversations will help people feel they’re on track and can meet their personal goals. In a competitive market, hiring a new employee is just the beginning. Using practices like ‘stay’ interviews in which employees can freely discuss how satisfied they are in their current environment is essential to retaining valued employees.

Lastly, companies need to think of adopting a family business mentality of succession planning. It’s inevitable people will be leaving or retiring. Having a pipeline of candidates to fill critical positions is a must to ensure business continuity.