Your “tragic” digital workplace means the best young people just don’t want to work for you.

10 October 2018 by

Here is a conversation I was told about:

Kelly: “Hi Dave, I’m going to have to leave my new role at Zeus Auto.”

Dave: “But you only started here yesterday. What’s happened? You can’t leave.”

Kelly: “Yes, I know, it sounds nuts, but to be honest, it’s just too hard to get anything done here. Zeus Auto is a great brand and has terrific values and the role could be wonderful but your tech sucks – and not just a bit – a lot. It’s like being thrust back into 2002 and I just can’t be bothered trying to make an impact here when the systems are so awful. Anyway, got to dash – thanks for the opportunity, but I’m done.”

Dave: “Nooooooo.”

OK, so I am masking the names and have adapted the words to protect the innocent, but this conversation did happen and was retold to me by someone on the receiving end.

The best young talent you want and need in your company no longer view a modern advanced digital workplace as desirable – they see it as essential. They will either not join you at all or will quickly leave if your digital world of work doesn’t purr like a Ferrari in the same way they experienced at “Start-up X” or when doing their own freelance gigs while still at college.

Unemployment for decently skilled people in the US and UK, as well as other major economies, is at historic lows, so while all we hear is that “those robots are taking our jobs”, the reality in 2018 is actually the opposite – too much work for too few people. Young skilled people can afford to be very choosy.

So, if you can’t offer a digital workplace of which you can be proud, all the HR efforts around recruitment and retention are just wasted time and money, because even if they do come on board, the best ones will leave.

And it gets worse. The people who will stay are those you wish you hadn’t hired in the first place – you know who they are! Having a digital employee experience that is smooth, efficient and even pleasurable is crucial for talent retention.

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Categorised in: Digital workplace

Paul Miller

Paul Miller is CEO and Founder of the Digital Workplace Group (DWG), rated by the Financial Times in 2020, 2021 and 2022 as one of the UK’s leading management consultancies in digital transformation. He is a business and social entrepreneur. His latest book is ‘Nature of Work – The new Story of Work for a Living Age’ (co-authored with Shimrit Janes). His previous book, ‘The Digital Renaissance of Work: Delivering digital workplaces fit for the future’ (co-authored with Elizabeth Marsh), was shortlisted for the Management Book of the Year 2016 Award. Paul’s previous book, ‘The Digital Workplace: How technology is liberating work’, helped to popularize and explain the term “digital workplace”. Paul has given many inspirational talks on the digital future of work, for audiences at Microsoft, IKEA, Google, Accenture, Harvard Business Review, Cisco, European Commission, IMF, Adobe and Oxford University.

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