Dealing With Disruption: From Multigenerational Workers to the Gig Economy

Executive Director of the EY Foundation, Ellen Glazerman, chats with AACSB president and CEO, Tom Robinson, about a multigenerational approach to the workforce.


Tom Robinson: [00:15] Today, we're in sort of a unique situation. We have four different generations of folks still in the workforce. We've got baby boomers like myself, millennials, Generation Z. Is that a challenge, having these different generations in the workforce? How do each of those generations, including baby boomers like myself, keep up with this rapid pace?

Ellen Glazerman: [00:37] It's a challenge. It's also really exciting. As long as we're all open to the fact that there is value in the way the boomers did it, the way X is going to do it, and the millennials, we can take from each of these generations and learn. We have to be understanding of how people get things done.

[00:57] As one of the older generations, it's sometimes hard and frustrating, and you think, "How could this possibly be?" If we focus on the outcome, and we focus on where the process is working, we can get the most out of all of these generations. It's hard. This is part of where disruption comes in.

[01:14] We changed all of our systems. We do performance evaluation differently because different generations respond to different kinds of feedback. We assign people on task differently, because some people want to be expert in something, and some want to be broad and experienced, so that they can have a career as a gig worker or do things differently.

[01:36] There is a lot around flexibility that we have to embrace and just accept.

Robinson: [01:42] You mentioned the gig economy. I understand that most of the growth in jobs since the great recession has been in the gig economy. How has is that impacting EY?

Glazerman: [01:52] Our workforce is changing incredibly. When people think about the professional services firms, you think, upper route, traditional model, hire big, triangle, pyramid model. We now have a four part economy workforce.

[02:10] We have the traditional workforce, we have a digital workforce, we have a number of robots already working, we have the offshore virtual workforce, and we have the gig workforce.

[02:21] We have a marketplace where people can keep their resume on file. We have lots of jobs that come in through the gig, and we call it EY GigNow. We think about staffing from each of those four pools, what's the most efficient and effective way for people to have good experiences, because we still have to give everybody a good work experience.

[02:45] The young people have to grow, but we also have to solve our clients' problems the best we can, the most efficient way. We're just thinking much more creatively, and we don't talk about the pyramid anymore, because it's evolving. It's more like an amoeba, and it will change over time.

Filmed September 2017 on site at AACSB's Annual Accreditation Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.