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Q A younger employees today have differing expectations. What are you seeing and how do companies need to adjust to the onslaught of new people always coming at us?

WHALEN: To boil it down to two critical generalizations about millennials, I would say they want flexibility in where, how and when they do their work. They want technology to be completely integrated with everything they do. The challenge for HR is to take a more open-eyed, let's-see-if-it-works approach to alternative work schedules, telecommuting, remote employees--those kinds of questions.

Second are the employment laws. How do we reconcile them with this technological reality that the line between home and work is becoming very blurred and the millennials will have one electronic device they manage their work and their life on? To separate work time is becoming very complex. As millennials become the majority population in our current workforce, the way we used to work is going to be turned upside down.

DYCHES: The key term is "self-directed.' In the '80s we started self-directed retirement plans. In the early 2000s we started self-directed health plans. Today we are starting self-directed employment, where a group gets together, does a project and then goes their separate ways. The laws that were built in the 1930s do not keep up with a self-directed concept. Something's got to give. Either the laws have to give or the concept is going to be reigned in. Franldy, I hope it's the laws that change.

FENWICK: We've tried to change one of our semantics at work from work/life balance to work/life merge, because a lot of younger workers don't care when they work. They'll work at 3 a.m., but they want to come in at 10 a.m. I'm seeing it on a firsthand basis. Are we giving them the tools to be self-directed to work any time they want and still be able to hold them accountable? The younger workforce wants to be held accountable. These numbers we are talking about? They love them. That has a lot to do with the technology they are used to.

DYCHES: I don't think it's just millennials. All of us who now have technology to do things we couldn't do before like flexibility as well. Technology has allowed for self-direction.

DASH: There is another element in terms of accountability and representation of the company you work for on social media and how that's integrating into your work. Some of the millennials will post anything. They are out on the weekends with their friends. It might be an inappropriate picture for an organization, but they don't think about that when they are posting it. They have on their Facebook that they work for this company. Being able to express to them what the organization accepts and does not accept is extremely important. People are getting fired because they post an inappropriate picture or something of that nature that doesn't represent the organization. But if the organization isn't communicating that and doesn't have a policy in place, then you'll hear, "Well, we didn't know we couldn't do that."

OLSEN: Businesses need to decide what their strategy is when it comes to millennials. It comes down to one word: culture. It all comes down to what culture you have, what culture you want to create. Do you want to give up on your current culture? Do you want to change that culture? That will, in turn, dictate your strategy.

I grew up believing there's work and there's home. This is a product of the industrial revolution. Before that, there was no line between work and home. People

lived on farms or they lived up above the shop. You didn't leave home to go to work until we started building factories, unless you were a miner or a sailor. I grew up in an area where work and home were very distinct. We need to understand that that was a new phenomenon and technology has brought the wheel full circle.

- Elizabeth Dunning
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Title Annotation:Outlook
Comment:Q A younger employees today have differing expectations.
Publication:Utah Business
Article Type:Interview
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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