Workplace 2020 Panels Create Lively Discussions on the Future of the Workplace

March 18, 2016

Moderating an animated panel of employees of HR Policy member companies at our CHRO Summit, Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, Accenture, led the Summit through an immersive dialogue on the millennial generation in the workforce, with innovations in technology and generational relationships highlighting the discussion.  With predictions that the new generation will compose 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, Shook, whose company's workforce has 72 percent millennials, noted that at Accenture, "We are already living in the future, which has caused us to dramatically re-imagine our talent practices to attract, develop, and inspire top talent."  The panelists brought with them an optimistic view of the future of the workplace:

  • Ben Bring, Sports Medicine Fellow at Riverside Methodist Hospital, who was introduced by Johnni Beckel, Chief Human Resource Officer for OhioHealth, predicted that millennials will be "the most educated generation ever."

  • Jay Flores, STEM Ambassador for Rockwell Automation, who was introduced by Susan Schmitt, Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Rockwell Automation, Inc., commented that technology is different from twenty and even two years ago, a point that resonated with the other members of the panel, including Daniella Patrick, Talent Innovation Lab Product Manager for Accenture, who added, "Tech makes for a more personalized environment through the use of data."

  • The panelists also commented on the negative connotations of the term millennial, with Amy Mancilla, Leadership and Development Manager for United Parcel Service, introduced by Teri Plummer McClure, Chief Human Resources Officer for UPS, pointing out, "If you were to substitute pejorative terms assigned to millennials with any other group, it would be considered highly offensive."

  • According to the panelists, this did not dampen their desire to learn from previous generations in the workplace.  Jennifer Dray, Production and Distribution Planning Manager for Praxair, who was introduced by Karen Keegans, Chief Human Resources Officer for Praxair, Inc., related, "Traits millennials want to see in their leaders are vision, creativity, and relatability.  A good leader for millennials will also give us our purpose and the feeling of inclusion."

Following the panel discussion on millennials, Mara E. Swan, Chair of the Workplace 2020 Initiative, Vice Chair of the HR Policy Association, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent for ManpowerGroup, David A. Rodriguez, Vice Chair of the Workplace 2020 initiative and Global Chief Human Resource Officer for Marriott International, Inc., and Dan Yager, CEO and President of the Association, led a discussion of the Association's Workplace 2020 project.  Swan commented, "There is a dire need for both the government and our companies to respond to the always-evolving workplace needs, with an all-too-frequent fundamental lack of understanding of this in the halls of government."  Rodriguez walked through just a few of the changes he is already seeing at Marriott, emphasizing "the relevance of Workplace 2020 to our policies now and beyond is very clear."  The session then concluded with roundtable discussions, which will provide invaluable perspectives to the final product of the Association's Workplace 2020 initiative.