In case you haven’t noticed, the workplace is changing. Technology is shifting how and where we work. Competition for customers is more intense than ever. Regulatory and environmental issues are also affecting business strategies.
More than just about any other business influence impacting business today is the changing workforce. As mentioned in the previous post, for the first time in history, there are four generations working side-by-side. The newest workers, Millennials, enter business full of excitement and “change-the-world” optimism. To get the most of these young workers, organizations must be proactive at updating managers’ skills including how to recruit, motivate, and develop Millennials.
It’s not just about dollars. Millennials want to know why they should take a specific job. How does it fit into their overall work and life goals? Justin Sherratt, CEO of Gawoop, notes from his company’s experience how important the sense of purpose is. “We found one of our best while he was still in university. Part of our offer to him was that we would help him network and move on if/when he outgrew us [advancement]. We made it clear that our company helps people get jobs [social good]. And we also made sure that we were working with cutting edge systems and software [training]. These three combined far outweighed salary and perks at that time.”
Here again, motivation isn’t just about dollars. Connecting the company vision with a purpose, building a sense of community, and regular feedback are all parts of a motivating environment.
So are helping the community and being involved in social causes. “Community service is part of their DNA. It’s part of this generation to care about something larger than themselves,” says Michael Brown, co-founder and CEO of City Year, which places young mentors in urban schools. “It’s no longer keeping up with the Joneses. It’s helping the Joneses.”
Although the Millennial generation could be the most educated young workforce to enter corporate America in decades, their education has not completely prepared them for their new business life. In addition to a thorough New Hire Orientation that will set expectations and help them make the transition from the university campus to the corporate campus, Millennials may need some help with basic business etiquette. While learning and adhering to normal office protocols may be easy for more seasoned workers, Millennials have grown up with everyone else adjusting to their wants and needs. One corporate consultant puts it this way. “Going into the workplace, they have an expectation that companies will adapt for them, too.” So helping Millennials shift from the education world to the world of business is key to getting the most from your new workers.
Just as technology is changing the workplace, so are Millennial workers. Companies that stand firm in their current management strategies and refuse to adapt to these unique and promising workers risk losing out on the benefits Millennials offer. These companies may also find it difficult to attract good talent. Remember, Millennials are good at voicing their likes and dislikes on social media. And that dislike may just be your organization!
Business needs more leaders.
That’s not earth-shattering news. In fact, I can cite numerous business experts and magazines that point to a dearth of business leadership.
One of the most recent examples comes from Global Human Capital Trends 2014: Engaging the 21st-century workforce by Deloitte Consulting and Bersin by Deloitte. One of three broad areas put forth by the report is a “. . . need to broaden, deepen, and accelerate leadership development at all levels.” The report went on to say:
“Building global leadership is by far the most
urgent [need]. . . In a world where knowledge
doubles every year and skills have a half-life of
2.5 to 5 years, leaders need constant development.”
Where will business find these new leaders? While many potential leaders are already in your organization, a new source for leaders is entering today’s workforce. They are called Millennials.
Millennials have much to offer organizations. They understand technology more than any other generation. That’s a valuable characteristic considering technology is changing faster than what most people can manage. Also, Millennials want to be part of a cause. It’s more than wanting to take care of the planet (although this is important to them). They want to be involved in your organization and make a true contribution to its success. Millennials are optimistic. They are relational.
For all of the positives they bring to the workplace, they do bring some challenges. Many Millennials lack basic business skills and etiquette. Some have short attention spans. And they may lack an understanding of how to work their way up in an organization. So if they are to be developed into the next generation of leaders, businesses must manage Millennials differently than previous generations.
That’s one of the points made by writer Adam Vaccaro in a recent Inc. article titled Why It’s So Hard to Turn Fickle Millennials Into Leaders. Vaccaro offers three strategies for developing Millennial leaders:
1. Give them face time
2. Give them opportunities to try new things
3. Give them a different type of manager
That last item is why I wrote The Millennial Challenge: How To Unleash Today’s Young Talent. Today’s Millennial worker needs an updated management approach, new ways of hiring, motivating, and developing this unique worker.
To find out how your organization can adapt to this new generation of employee, please visit Amazon or go directly to the PCC website and order your copy today.
Once you read these updated management strategies, if you want to go deeper, invite ProCulture to take your managers through an extended discussion of how to get the most out of your Millennial workforce.
Organizations that adapt to this new worker and successfully integrate them into the company team will reap the rewards of new energy, new ideas, and new vision for making a difference in our world.
Companies that choose not to update their management strategies may soon find themselves joining other “progressive” companies such as Borders and Blockbuster.
. . . who do we appreciate?
A favorite cheer from our junior high or high school football days. We appreciated the QB, another star player, and maybe even the coach (as long as we won the state championship).
In the corporate world, whom do we appreciate? The IT person who gets us back up and running when our PC or laptop crashes? The Event Planner after we enjoy a great summer event or holiday party? Maybe the star CEO? Yes, all of these people contribute to the organization’s success and should receive our appreciation and gratitude.
But what about the frontline worker who is never seen? The person who wears a headset day in and day out, answering hundreds of customer service calls. Or the person in payroll who makes sure our check is deposited into our bank account every other week? Or how about the facilities people who keep the break rooms and bathrooms clean? Shouldn’t these people be appreciated?
Of course they should be appreciated and probably more than the star CEO! Who wants to rest for a few minutes or eat lunch in a dirty break room? Or who wants to receive an ‘Account Overdrawn’ notice from the bank because our paycheck was wrong or late? While everyone in an organization should be recognized and appreciated regularly, the many frontline employees who rarely receive recognition certainly deserve a few extra pats on the back.
I just read an online conversation that revolved around the idea of adding a Chief Recognition Officer or Chief Acknowledgement Officer. Unfortunately, simply adding a new job title, even if it starts with the word “Chief”, won’t solve the problem of employee appreciation and recognition. I’ve seen too many companies say “People” are their #1 value or asset yet they don’t back up those words with any meaningful action. It takes more than plaques on a wall to appreciate employees.
It’s no secret that many employees today are unengaged with their work. If we want to turn this around and have engaged employees, particularly frontline workers who often are key ambassadors for the organization, we need to look at employee appreciation as an investment rather than a cost.
Agree? Disagree? How does your organization appreciate frontline employees?
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.