Making it Work for the Digital Native

Workforce management means giving Millennials the technology they need (and expect)

Ashley, 24, heads home after her first week at the non-profit organization where she’s super pumped to work. Her passion for helping their inner-city clients is higher than ever… but she’s feeling less positive about the administrative antique show she witnessed.


iStock-508209126-961760-editedI mean, did she hear right? Does her new employer process hundreds of timesheets by hand every couple of weeks?! And some of the timesheets are… gasp… handwritten?

Ashley swears she actually saw timesheets spread across a table, as staff tried to determine if people were going overtime, and then all of this data had to be manually coded and keyed into their finance and payroll system. Sometimes that didn’t match up with data stored in their other system, so the data has to be constantly validated. What?!

The early 2000s called and they want their systems back, Ashley thinks, shaking her head.

Like her Millennial peers, Ashley grew up as a “digital native.” She can’t remember a time when smartphones weren’t everywhere, when everything couldn’t be automated. She just assumes there’s an app for that - like all her school, professional and personal experiences to date. Then Ashley started working at the chronically underfunded, time-strapped community agency, and she found out that some places are still trying to catch the digital age.

Ashley and her cohort - and what they need/expect from their workplaces - cannot be overlooked. Remember in the last blog post in this series we pointed out that Millennials will make up close to 75% of the workforce by 2025!

Along with that demographic trend, the demand for more detail-oriented analysis skills in the workforce requires that public sector organizations and non-profit organizations, such as Ashley’s employer, leverage technology across all their departments. Not to mention the emergence of new, strict reporting and funding requirements and competition for limited dollars.

Nothing short of a digital transformation of workforce management is required and, along with the technology, a complete rethink of how organizations manage their processes.

Many of our clients note pain-points such as manual scheduling processes, a lack of integration between HR, Payroll and Finance, a lack of mobile access to data and employee information (such as T4s, expense reports, remaining vacation days, etc.) as barriers to managing their workforce effectively. (All their employees, not just Ashley and peers!)

Key questions to ask

When it comes to choosing a workforce management solution, there are a few must-have features, without which many non-profits and public-sector organizations find that their processes are still difficult. (After all, who wants to upgrade to a ‘digital version of inefficiency.)

Some key questions to check off against any workplace management solution are the following:

  • Does it integrate HR to Payroll to Finance, ensuring a seamless flow of information and removing the possibility of data duplication or inaccuracies due to manual processes or constant downloads/uploads of information?
  • Does it have scheduling functionality that uses smart data to help you schedule employees across locations and roles based on seniority and qualifications, and allow you to easily replace shifts without the headache of calling around manually?
  • Can it manage your applicants efficiently, onboard new employees smoothly, retrieve all employee data from a centralized place, and empower your employees with appraisals and training?
  • Does it let your employees make changes to personal information and access tailored information at any time, across any platform, without having to bother your HR team or fill out paperwork manually?
  • Is the solution built upon a system that is robust, secure, and easily upgradable - ensuring that your data is protected and support is easy as technology evolves or your needs change?

Download the full Software Evaluation Checklist >>

This checklist should go a long way towards helping you evaluate workplace management solutions, to ensure you give your employees the right tools to manage their responsibilities effectively - especially as Ashley, Aidan and their young peers, take up more positions at your organization now and in the years to come!

Have you had Millennials in your organization react in horror to the processes and systems for workforce management? Leave your comment below.