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22 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA Companies Leveraging Leaner Workforces Since the recession, the job market has become increasingly competitive because open positions are now much more limited. Many companies that were faced with workforce reductions during the economic downturn are now leveraging employee resources in a leaner structure rather than expanding employee headcount back to pre-recession levels. Added to the dearth of available positions, many current employees have reevaluated retiring and are working longer because of the impact the recession had on their retirement plan savings. “We have benefited from the retention of long-term employees having unique skills and significant knowledge of our company’s products and markets, as well as the additional time to plan for transitions,” Michael Hoffman says. “However, those seeking their first job or a new opportunity can find it more difficult landing a position given the competitive environment.” For well-qualified employees, Hoffman says there seems to be a “flight to quality”—these individuals seem to be more selective in the companies in which they are seeking employment. “For Toro in particular, candidates have mentioned, among other things, our longevity and stability as a company on the verge of celebrating its 100th anniversary, our support of the communities in which our employees live and work, and our financial performance all as key elements that attract them to our company,” Hoffman says. Michael Hoffman, ’02 MBA Chairman and CEO The Toro Company Engage the Strengths of Millennials The world today is seeing a massive shift in workforce composition, as Millennials are now becoming a larger percentage of an already diverse employee base. And this influx can be a great opportunity. “We believe that having a diverse team and an inclusive culture will help us stay in tune with the needs of our guests,” says Jodee Kozlak. “This generation is changing how work gets done, and we see its focus on technology and collaboration as a huge source of competitive advantage.” The Millennials’ use of social tools to solve problems, for example, helps Target develop a multichannel experience that blurs the lines between online purchasing and shopping in a physical store. Millennials also are willing to share their expertise with others, so Target encourages crossgenerational mentoring. “I personally have a digital advisor who helps me understand the changing technology landscape and build the social media skills I need to engage with Target’s global team in new ways,” Kozlak says. While Millennials want to have the latest tools and technology at their fingertips, they also want the flexibility to blend their personal and professional lives. “Not only do they want a place where they can grow and develop, they are looking at what quality of life they can have,” Kozlak says. “We know that when team members are healthy and happy, they are more productive and drive results for the company.” Jodee Kozlak, ’90 JD EVP, Human Resources Target Corporation The Bullseye Design is a registered trademark of Target Brands, Inc.


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