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Preparing for the Next Generation of Employees

Baby boomers are retiring, millennials are moving into management positions… what’s next? Gen Z, the college students of today, are entering the workforce and bringing with them their innovative minds, new ideas, and higher expectations for the way an office should use technology. 

Speaking as a current college student in the midst of my first office internship, the transition from an inconsistent weekly routine of classes, studying, and other activities to a regular 9-5 work week was overwhelming. For one, I was concerned that by going into a technology-based industry, the processes would be foreign and confusing. I thought I would have to learn new computer applications that I would have no previous knowledge on. There was also the concern that communication within departments would be delayed or not fully compatible across a shared device.

Many of my worries dissipated on day one when I first took my spot at my desk. My computer was imaged and ready for me, my email was set up, and my calendar was already populated with all my on-boarding and orientation meetings. I learned later this was thanks to the automated workflows Virteva has on the backend using ServiceNow, which makes repetitive tasks like on-boarding work like clockwork. This made me feel more comfortable and helped me get settled into my routine much faster. 

This is how it should be everywhere. In fact, my generation is so used to things “just working” like this, it will be difficult for us to be happy working for an organization that doesn’t invest in a modern technology infrastructure. We’ll seek out workplaces that are rooted in the intuitive and intelligent use of technology, and the companies that embrace this style will win over the best and brightest of my generation.

 

Adaptability: The Key Factor for Attracting Valuable Employees

According to a study by Brookings, Millennials and Gen Z combined will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. And as digital natives, we have the depth and breadth of understanding of technology to embrace the next generation of tools and processes without feeling shackled to the “way we’ve always done things.” For instance, if we encounter processes that were common in the 90s still being used today, chances are we’ll respond with a resounding, “Why?” not because they’re unfamiliar, but because they’re less efficient than the automated processes more commonly used today. “Work smarter, not harder” could be the mantra of our generation.

The reason for this, in part, is because Digital Natives are much more used to change than the generations before them. In fact, today’s consumers update their technology more often than ever before. A recent Gallup poll shows that about half of Americans with smart phones update to the most recent model every two years. Our phones, tablets, and computers have perpetual software updates, faster connections, and new applications that appeal to consumers. So with consumer technology changing as often as it does, companies that stick to their old familiar ways will be left in the dust in the Digital Enterprise Age.

 

Expectations of Technology in the Workplace: Things Should Just Work

My expectations as a consumer, employee, and student are similar in many ways. When I am a consumer, I expect the ease of automated processes along with exemplary customer service. For example, if I have a concern with an order, I should get a response from a customer representative within the same day that I sent a request. My same beliefs are applied to the workplace. If there is an issue that interferes with my work I expect my ticket to be processed and resolved in a timely manner. I expect things to flow as easily when I’m an employee as they do when I’m a consumer. 

I expect things to be effortless, connected, and proactive. I want a company to anticipate my needs and act on issues proactively, not retroactively. My expectations were met in my internship with Virteva with thehe ease of sharing documents through my team’s SharePoint site kept things organized, safe, and efficient. I was able to work on documents at the same time as my teammates, so version control was never an issue.

I use ServiceNow for submitting timecards, requesting time off, or submitting a ticket if something isn't working right. And while I know there’s much more to ServiceNow than just that, I also know that it’s the reason things around the office work so smoothly. I don’t have to spend time tracking down approvals or waiting for fixes, and can focus more time on the projects I’m here to work on.

 

Real-time Communication

Thanks to the cloud-based tools like Office 365 and ServiceNow, I see less of a need for email. This tool, which I know has been a primary source of communicating for decades, is slowly becoming obsolete. As a digital native, I am relying more on instant messaging applications like Skype or Teams rather than email. That, plus the real-time editing and sharing of documents, makes email less and less essential.

But real-time communication isn’t the only thing that is changing in the workplace. For example, the automating workflows through ServiceNow makes the way we do work and resolve issues more straightforward and intuitive. There’s no guesswork around who needs to do what, when.

 

Freedom in the Modern Work Environment

Gen Z values freedom, and that includes freedom in the workplace. We don’t want to be tied down to a desk all day. In a college environment, students complete their work at home, at the library, in the student union, at coffee shops, in grassy areas outside… We’re used to having options for a change of scenery. So as we transition to the workplace, having the technology infrastructure that enables us to move around and work from different places – a standing desk, a lounge area,

a picnic table outside – will be essential to keeping us happy and productive.

 

Focus on Your Future

Your company’s future is my generation. We are adaptable to change, innovative, willing to learn and grow, and have a strong work ethic that values efficiency. As we enter the workforce, we’ll bring with us expectations for the way we want to work. We will look for the employer that listens to and incorporates our needs, and is adaptable to change. We will not go along with the way things have always been done, and will always find ways to make processes easier and more efficient.


Take Your Career to the Next Level

Interested in new opportunities with ServiceNow? Take a look at our careers page and take the next step on your journey!

Dana Bakke
Dana Bakke
Dana was an intern at Virteva during the summer of 2018.

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