Intelligent CIO North America Issue 22 - Page 37


‘‘ business

Gen Z is different , they say . The newest entrants to the workforce have a strong preference for ‘ experiences ’ over possessions , possess a burning sense of social justice – and have absolutely no interest sitting in a job that doesn ’ t equip them with the technology to keep their skills sharp .

Before Covid , these expectations might have led to little more than a wry smile from HR departments . But as the pandemic fades , businesses find themselves facing a ‘ Great Resignation ’ as workers reappraise what they want from their careers .
This is especially strong among younger employees , with multiple researchers finding that anywhere between half and three quarters of Gen Z workers are planning to change jobs next year .
Cue a scramble for top talent , fuelled by offers of better pay , more benefits and greater flexibility . But are workplace yoga sessions , free fruit and workfrom-home really the best way to attract the brightest and best of Gen Z ? Could the answer be something more fundamental : the technology employees use to do their jobs ?
Gen Z cares about how technology transforms the job spec and opens up new avenues for autonomy , responsibility and job satisfaction .
A survey conducted by Dell before the pandemic found that an astonishing 91 % of Gen Z respondents say that the technology offered by an employer would determine their decision when choosing between similar job offers .
It ’ s not just younger workers , either : research from Hays Recruitment found half of all employees would be attracted to an organization that shows a strong commitment to investing in technologies such as automation .
processes long after the rest of the organization has gone fully digital .
It ’ s remarkable that in the third decade of this digital century , the proliferation of paper remains one of the biggest challenges facing AP , with Ardent Partners finding that almost a third of professionals cite it as a major concern .
Attracting Gen Z to AP is a tough sell at the best of times . The job is difficult , repetitive and workers can only use mandated tools . There ’ s little opportunity for innovation or autonomy because the scope of the role is necessarily limited by the systems already in place .
Lloyd Humphreys , Principal Product Manager for Data and Analytics , Tradeshift
But as the pandemic fades , businesses find themselves facing a ‘ Great Resignation ’ as workers reappraise what they want from their careers .
Employers are beginning to realize this too , with over a third actively touting their investment in Digital Transformation as a way to reel in talent during the interview process .
For an illustration , let ’ s look at a line of business that ’ s rarely if ever been at the forefront of technological investment or innovation : accounts payable ( AP ). This is a department notorious for keeping antiquated technology long after its expiration date , and which in many cases remains reliant on paper-based
Things are very different when a department embraces modern digital tools that are customizable by design . These enable a business to move to a truly communitybased model of employment where anyone can contribute ideas for new applications , workflows and other tools – or even code them themselves .
Instantly , every employee gains a whole new perspective on work : it ’ s no longer something you do for a paycheck or to satisfy your line manager but becomes an occupation where your contribution – to
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