5 Things We Learned at Elevate Conference 2018

October 09, 2018

Nearly 1,100 clients attended our 10th annual Elevate Conference in Chicago. Here are our five takeaways from this year’s event.

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Learning, networking, and the latest Paylocity innovations were on display at Elevate Conference 2018. Nearly 1,100 clients joined us in Chicago to learn about the ever-evolving world of HR from 80+ breakout sessions led by industry experts. These sessions provided an enlightening glimpse into today’s workforce, presenting a new picture of the modern employee who is searching not for a traditional job, but for a mutually beneficial relationship where they can make an impact. From effective communication and engaging the modern employee to bridging the generation gap in the workplace, here are a few of the latest HR tips & trends we learned from Elevate Conference 2018.

Generations Have More In Common Than You Think

There are more generations in the workplace than ever before, and while emphasis is often put on the differences between generations, we have more in common than many of us realize. No matter what generation, employees are all motivated by the same general principles: feeling respected, valued, and part of something important in the workplace. Different preferences for feedback, communication, and learning styles may exist, but focusing on common ground while making accommodations for these different working styles can help to resolve potential generational conflict.

Leadership Tip: To create a healthy, multi-generational working environment, leaders need to treat everyone fairly, offer individualized working options, and even facilitate mentoring between different age groups to encourage collaboration while meeting everyone’s needs.

Onboarding Matters

An effective onboarding experience sets the stage for an employee’s view of your organization and their new professional relationships. But if you leave new hires in the dark between the offer and their start date, you run the risk of losing them. According to Robert Half and Associates, 1 in 4 employees are willing to quit in their first 90 days due to poor onboarding practices. Gone are the days of simply sending a packet of paperwork to candidates to complete before their first day – today’s employee wants to feel thoroughly informed about their new job, and values pre-boarding activities that ensure a smooth work transition.

Leadership Tip: New employees want to hear from you throughout the hiring process and well into the start of their employment. Consider an employee ambassador or mentorship program to help them get started, and ensure they have the necessary tools and technology on day one.

Communication Is Key

Uncertainty and lack of information can lead to gossip, drama, and panic in the workplace. No organization sets out to have poor communication, but we often think we are communicating when all we may be doing is advertising. Putting up a static notice of an upcoming event or policy change on a bulletin board or sending yet another an email may not be enough to truly reach employees. The modern employee is craving a social experience and wants to be up-to-date on important information.

Leadership Tip: To improve communication, leaders need to organize regular one-on-one meetings with their employees, thoughtfully act on their feedback, and give them opportunities for individual recognition. Bonus points for offering your employees an internal social platform and encouraging them to connect with each other there.

Stop Thinking Your Own Thoughts

This sounds like counter-intuitive, even dangerous, advice — but hear us out. What we mean is stop believing the stories you tell yourself and separate that from your reality. When your boss asked you for a status update on an upcoming project, did that mean he or she was disappointed in your progress, or worse, that they were thinking about letting you go because you weren’t meeting deadlines? No! Your boss was simply checking on your progress. But we can often let these simple events spiral into worst-case scenarios in our mind.

Leadership Tip: Take a reflective step back and remove this way of thinking (and encourage your employees to do the same). This will help to eliminate unnecessary stress and drama in the workplace, not only for you, but your team as well.

Engagement Is Changing

Over the past 10 years, we have spent an increasing amount of time, effort, and money on improving employee engagement. But despite this investment, engagement levels have relatively remained the same. To truly improve engagement, organizations need to start viewing work as a relationship instead of a contract. This means thinking about how our employee interactions would translate in personal relationships. Would a spouse, sibling, or friend appreciate an annual performance review? This is just one example of how we need to reevaluate the employee/employer relationship.

Leadership Tip: Employees need to know they are trusted, valued, and accepted in the workplace, and it is our duty as employers to start building this healthy relationship by shifting some of our existing policies and practices.

These takeaways provide a snapshot into the evolution of the modern workplace, and how organizations need to make adjustments in order to retain top talent and engage their workforce. Implementing these leadership tips can help you develop a more modern HR strategy that will both resonate with employees and move your business forward.

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