Well it wasn’t the Academy Awards with sealed envelopes and Oscars, but no less meaningful for the winners of the NICSA/NOVA Awards. Last Thursday, during the luncheon session at the NICSA General Membership meeting in Boston, award recipients were recognized for their contributions to our industry in front of a room full of their peers and colleagues.
Among them was our former Chief Compliance Officer, Joan Dowd, who received the 2014 NICSA Lifetime Achievement Award. It is given “to an individual who has distinguished himself or herself during a successful career in the mutual funds industry, and also by his or her significant contribution to the success of NICSA.” Robert Tritt, Executive Vice President from DST, one of our parent companies, received the 2014 Robert L. Gould Award for Outstanding Service to the Fund Industry. DST also received an honorable mention for Innovation in Back Office Efficiencies. Congratulations to Joan, Bob, and all of the other award winners!
Listening to what all of those people had accomplished, and looking around at everyone else, I realized that a great deal of experience and commitment to our industry was represented in that room. However, we can’t overlook the need to prepare for our next generation of leadership. The luncheon keynote speaker, Wes Trochlil from Effective Database Management, addressed this in his talk “The Impact of Younger Staff on Technology.”
Wes focused on the Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000), who will make up the majority of our workforce by 2025. These folks were born into technology, grew up on the web, and communicate differently than those who preceded them. For them:
- Google has answers for everything
- Amazon is the standard against which they evaluate other interactions
- Technology has always been mobile
- They want automation and self-service
- As with the Minecraft game, they expect to be able to tailor their experiences
- They are asked their opinions on everything, from music to purchases, and want to provide them
- They are collaborative and want to know what is going on, what is behind decisions
So what does this mean to us as employers?
- Involve Millennials, especially in technology decisions
- Focus on training and communication, remembering that they digest information in bite-sized chunks
- Be transparent about policies and decisions
These are our next generation of leaders – let’s welcome them!