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Gustin Partners | June 29, 2016 |

Measuring the Next Workforce - Part 1

By Thornton May
Futurist, Senior Advisor with GP, Executive Director & Dean - IT Leadership Academy

While all organizations exist in the post-Internet Age many operate via Industrial Age talent processes. Generally speaking, the Talent Management space could be labeled a “hot mess.” This “not-of-our-time” situation – a disconnect between the requirements of the modern worker and the management techniques of the enterprise – led me to ask a group of thought leaders and C-level executives what metrics we need to more effectively lead the next workforce.

Are we using the right metrics?
While conducting my research I discovered that there are a variety of statistics used to analyze the health of macro labor markets. One of the most important macro statistics is the labor force participation rate (LFPR - size of the nation’s workforce) - the percentage of Americans who are working or looking for work.

We live in an age of metrics. Thanks to the Internet of Things we have the potential of measuring just about everything. The New York Times embraces the moniker “The United States of Metrics” to describe the U.S. workspace. We need relevant micro metrics to measure the next workforce.

Using the LFPR as a template perhaps we could tighten our focus and assign a score to work force participation rate at a particular company or industry – the Willing to Work for You [W2W4U] rate. What I mean here is that many industry leaders state that open positions remain unfilled despite elevated unemployment levels. One of the problems is lack of talent supply. I believe the unspoken problem is that some workers choose not to work for a given company because of employer weaknesses in three critical dimensions – technology environment, cultural environment and physical environment.

Hubspot, a marketing software and services start up which IPO’ed in 2014 is viewed by many as a poster child of what a hot, with-it, “Cool” company should look like. They measure and manage corporate culture. They have assigned a respected senior manager -Katie Burke as VP Culture & Experience. They have a variant of my W2W4U metric.  Every quarter they conduct a Net Promoter Score survey with all employees. The results are shared with all employees.

Measuring Youth “Employability”
High youth unemployment rates are a threat to both economic competitiveness and societal stability. They are ~14 percent in the United States and well above 25 percent in parts of Southern Europe. In Germany the youth unemployment rate is 8 percent.

We need to measure youth employability [i.e., the set of technical competencies and workplace norms required for success in any career] more granularly.

Boomer Retirement
Who, how many and when workers retire is a major force shaping the modern workscape. 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day. A growing share of Americans are in late middle age or past 65, ages when we anticipate participation rates will decline. How do you measure the propensity for retirement of key mature workers?

The Changing Composition of the Workforce
The Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] projects that in 2025, there will be 73.9 million people aged 25-44 in the U.S. workforce. Millennials will make up 44 percent of a total labor force of 168.7 million.

Pew research shows that presently there are 53.5 million Millennial workers, or 34 percent of the total U.S. workforce population. Generation X has 52.7 million workers, also 34 percent, and 44.6 million baby boomers are working, or 29 percent of the workforce. What generation specific metrics do you need to attract/retain -manage/lead a multi-generational workforce?


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