This article was updated on July 24, 2018.
With all the changes in compliance requirements, HR leaders should be mindful about the impact of HR regulations on talent. For many organizations, rapid change has created a gap between regulatory requirements and employee behavior. CSO calls this "compliance fatigue" and says the sheer volume of requirements has lead to a climate where people aren't clear on how to behave. As your organization adapts policies to meet the requirements of FLSA, ACA, HIPAA and a host of other HR regulations, how will your employees respond?
The Connection Between Change, Compliance and People
Any organizational change, from mergers to new compliance requirements, has the potential to impact employees. New requirements can lead to a drop in engagement, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports there's a connection between how HR manages change and employee morale. As HR leaders implement new compliance requirements, understanding how people respond to change can be key.
Does Age Play a Role in Adaptability?
An influx of millennial workers has led to a workplace that's increasingly less hierarchical and more focused on personal freedoms. Millennials may have cultural tendencies toward flexibility, but HR leaders shouldn't assume baby boomer employees are resistant to change.
"Baby boomers have been shown to be adaptable to challenging and changing economic and social conditions, such as the Global Financial Crisis and increasing longevity," notes National Seniors Australia. While baby boomers made their mark as the first generation to challenge authority, these older workers tend to be more team oriented than younger peers. Baby boomers are often characterized by dedication and loyalty. In other words, these older workers may not always like change, but they'll do their best to adapt — even if it means putting in longer hours.
Boomer Technology Resistance: Myth or Truth?
While society might have the perception of boomers as resistant to technologies, Inc.com highlights that this generation has experienced no small amount of tech disruption in their lifetimes, including the advent of ATMs, cellphones and the internet. So hard-working boomers in fact aren't tech-averse, they just need special onboarding.
The biggest differences in how boomers and millennials approach tech in the workplace is likely how they use it. Marco notes that while millennials are confident with a "mashup" approaches to cross-platform work, boomers are "the last generation of mono-taskers." In addition, Marco's research indicates that boomers are more likely to prefer apps and tools that fit their unique working needs, as opposed to adapting their work flows to existing platforms.
As your organization implements enhanced human capital management technologies (HCM), getting buy-in from all generations of your talent mix is crucial. While boomers may not have grown up with a smartphone in their hand, there's no reason to believe that they'll entirely resist new mobile applications for time and attendance, learning management or payroll — especially if those platforms have the potential for individual customization. Between their love of productivity and decades' of experience weathering change, there's a good chance that employee-sensitive onboarding can help you reach your desired adoption metrics among older employees.
Generations Can Learn From Each Other
Having four generations in the workforce is an opportunity unlike any other. For some organizations, sharing intergenerational knowledge is so critical it's sparked formal programs. SHRM reports that Autodesk has formal programs for younger workers to share technical knowledge with their older peers, while learning contextual lessons from their elders. PwC highlights the value of the individual, regardless of age, in easing the pain of compliance — workers need permission to innovate new processes to adapt to new compliance requirements and suggest means of efficiency.
By creating an ongoing dialogue with employees of all ages, HR leaders can have a positive impact on the culture and help to enhance productivity and engagement.
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