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In the Innovate-or-Die Business World, Your Future Depends on Engaging the Next-Gen Workforce

There's a lot of buzz these days about innovation and with good reason -- innovation is the WOW that in comparison makes incremental growth seem a mere a whimper. Leading innovators can achieve both significant upside both financially and in competitive advantage. Over the last three years, the most innovative companies in a study conducted by PwC delivered growth at a rate of 16% above over their least innovative peers and were more bullish about their growth prospects. In five years' time, the leading innovators in the study forecast a rate of growth nearly double the global average, and over three times higher than the least innovative companies studied. For the average company, this equates to an "innovation premium" of $500M more revenue over their less innovative peers!

In the Knowledge Economy, it is workers that are the innovation contingent - the raw materials in the quest for better, faster, stronger, cheaper. While a few years ago the discipline of Human Resources was an after-thought - a back-office administrative function, today, organizations understand talent acquisition and employee engagement to be a critical component in the overall business strategy.

Research has shown that companies with highly engaged employees perform better financially and have higher customer satisfaction. According to research done annually by the Temkin Group, companies with strong financial results and above-average customer experience in their industry have workforces where 75 percent of employees are highly or moderately engaged.

It's not difficult to connect an engaged workforce with a culture of innovation. But if this is so, companies are facing an up-hill battle as the next generation workforce takes shape as Baby Boomers move into retirement years and millennials fill their ranks. In a new Gallup study, millennials are the least engaged generation in the workforce, with only 29% of millennials engaged in the workplace, meaning they are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company, and the majority of millennials (55%) unengaged. The study also found that 60% of millennials are open to a different job opportunity.

At first blush, this is amazingly frustrating. But organizations need to formulate strategies to engage this new workforce, as there is no alternative.  Stop telling yourself "we can't keep millennials" - the focus must change from employee retention to worker engagement. Ironically, the upside of an ever-shifting workforce is that organizations can benefit from a constant “revolving door” of talent to capitalize on an influx of new ideas, new perspectives and out-of-the-box disruptive thinking that can be key to commanding market share. 

With Epicor ERP (now known as Kinetic), you can take the first step to re-think your relationship with digitally-literate workers and retool to attract, connect and empower this next-generation workforce via cloud, mobile, analytics and other enabling technologies. What's more, you can leverage enterprise social capabilities to allow them to work within the constructs of a digital channel they are familiar with today. This is needed to capture and institutionalize knowledge to evolve and thrive by accommodating the ever-evolving workforce.

Posted by Celia Fleischaker, CMO, Global Marketing at Epicor


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