Attracting and retaining millennials, filling low-paid but skilled positions, and giving employees more real-time feedback – these are among the challenges that companies face this year in trying to build a better workforce.
Three top human-resources professionals addressed the topics at WorldCity’s 2017 Global Economic Outlook held Jan. 27, 2017 in Coral Gables: Charnley Conway of delivery giant UPS; Olga Martinez of financial services heavyweight MasterCard; and Carolina Gomez, a professor at Florida International University.
Recruiting for low-paying jobs: Offer training, customized benefits
For Conway, one problem is finding talent for positions that don’t pay well or are part-time, yet require specific skills.
“What we try to do,” said Conway, HR vice president for UPS’ Americas region, “is bring people in at an entry level within our organization and provide internal training for them. We do a lot of promotion from within.”
Especially for millennials, the draw must go beyond money. “It’s about impact,” work flexibility and other factors on the job, said FIU’s Gomez. “It’s about finding that balance of giving them other things that isn’t just pay.”
Customized benefits can help. For example, MasterCard implemented policies to include both maternity and paternity leave, something employees liked, said Martinez, senior VP of HR for MasterCard Latin America-Caribbean.
“We’ve shifted from defined benefits-defined contributions to something portable with a company match, because we know the employees we’re hiring today are not going to be around 38 years,” said Conway. “We’re giving them a list of benefits for a certain value, and they can elect what they need. So, it provides more flexibility to the individual.”
Stressing the values a company stands for also carries weight. Martinez said one employee said “the first reason he joined MasterCard was because I started talking about financial inclusion” and programs “to help the under served.”
Shifting from scheduled evaluations to real-time feedback
Panelists also discussed apps and other ways to give employees more regular evaluation and feedback in a shift away from traditional annual evaluations that offered a score or ranking.
New apps offer “an on-going feedback mechanism,” said FIU’s Gomez. “Millennials want it on their phone today. ‘I did something good? Let me know now.’”
At UPS, “where we were having evaluations twice a year, now we have the ability from a peer, from a customer, or from a management person to get instant feedback,” said Conway.
Coffee shop giant Starbucks now asks employees to fill out an on-line form at the end of each
shift to explain how their day went, said audience member Isabel Montes, Starbucks’ senior HR manager for the Latin American region. “The trend, said Montes, “is about moving away from rankings to instant feedback.”
Retaining coveted millennial talent
Also challenging: keeping younger employees with skill sets that are hard to find. FIU Vice Dean for the College of Business Jose Aldrich told the panel his children in their 30s feel the only way to get ahead is to jump to another position with another company, especially after they’ve been laid off and seen peers laid off after mergers.
“Historically, there was a promise between employer and employee,” said FIU’s Gomez. “That promise has become the one-minute handshake. You’re good for us, and we’re good for you. Especially millennials, they do see that.”
One approach: “Try to get a compensation plan that gives them more progression. Try to tie rewards into performance. And try to lay out a career development plan for them,” said Conway. “They want to see, ‘Where are you taking me?’”
Employees often leave because of their manager: “Those millennials need to have a good manager,” said Martinez. MasterCard has a program called “The Whole You,” offering flexible work outside the usual 9-5 and from home.