As we round out the second decade of the 21st century, employers are pretty confident that they are finally comfortable with The Millennial Employee. More or less. Like the Y2K fears that entered corporate corridors just before them, they seemed a uniquely turn-of-the-century phenomenon that we only knew we could not fully prepare for.
It turned out that our systems were much more forward compatible than their humans – when’s the last time you heard about the Y2K bug? – who have struggled for over a decade to fully understand and integrate Millennial employees.
To be fair, accommodating three such distinct generations brought unprecedented challenges. So, let’s try four. Because Gen Z has started entering the workforce — and is coming to an interview near you. Are you prepared for Gen Z employees?
Let’s face it – everyone loves a rock star employee. Companies are thrilled to have employees who not only meet, but exceed, deadlines or sales goals or budgets.
As long as there aren’t interpersonal or other management-related issues, employers will usually reward these workers with bonuses or promotions, or at worst, let them run on auto-pilot. But there’s a potential downside with an “ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude toward these workers – the risk of high-performance employee burnout.
To prevent a rock star from becoming a one-hit wonder, it’s imperative that employers try to identify and prevent burnout.
In the United States, Canada and most of the EU, 46% of the workforce is women. In Zimbabwe and Tanzania, it’s more than 50%. In fact, in more than 80% of the world, women are at least 40% of the workers. We’re past the days when a woman working “outside the home” is remarkable — almost everywhere. The challenges for working women now are not about access to jobs, but success within them — almost everywhere.
The question of challenges for working women worldwide is simply a matter of degree, not of existence.
A 2015 study by Thomson Reuters of
A recent Google search for the keywords “Baby Boomers” yielded 15.9 million results, while “Millennial” produced 264 million hits.
And a search for “Gen X”? 421 million hits.
It may be the only popularity contest Gen X has ever won. The so-called “slacker generation” has long suffered a reputation as underwhelming, without notable ambition or purpose. Since the proliferation of the Gen Y influence, they also are in between two much bigger, much more influential groups. On the other hand, those Google results might reflect some broader metaphor – the Gen X influence is far disproportionate to their number, and their impact
The idea of corporate social responsibility is hardly new. In particular, global and environmentally impactful companies have been historically sensitive to the role of public service. A company that earns billions, seen re-investing some of that wealth, either to the local community or a high profile cause is good PR.
Companies that operate refineries, factories, or other activities that emit exceptional noise or fumes tend to be sensitive to building relationships with local residents. Pharmaceutical organisations have often spearheaded campaigns to address diseases and other medical needs of at-risk communities in developing countries. But what is relatively new is the employee demand
Since the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, trust in leaders and institutions has been consistently eroding or remaining stagnant. In the business world, trust in top management is vital for ensuring that employees internalize the strategies and goals of the entire company. A lack of trust can challenge the efforts of CEOs, top management teams and their Boards of Directors when they are trying to gain broad, sometimes, global followership for growth or transformation plans.
The Typical Approach – Trickle Down
In an effort to build trust and influence the company, CEOs and their teams
At one point in the Disney animated film Peter Pan the Lost Boys sing:
Following the leader, the leader, the leader. We’re following the leader wherever he may go. Tee dum, tee dee, A teedle ee do tee day, Tee dum, tee dee. It’s part of the game we play.
Did you ever wonder if there are rules for following the leader? In the game of business is there opportunity for a differentiated playbook when you are follower? Or, should you just ‘keep your head down and do as you are told?’
I was curious about this so I
I want to tell you a story about two leaders I worked with back when I was a management consultant. They were peers and senior leaders in the same company. Both were in similar roles and in charge of very large teams. We will call them James and Richard. Made-up names, for sure, but their story is very real. In fact it is a story that I saw regularly played out in clients across the world. The story doesn’t end happy or sad, but billions of dollars were lost and I learned a valuable distinction about success in business that I want
About 18 months ago I was feeling pretty good. My team at work was doing well and creating massive impact. We enjoyed the respect of both the business leaders and our peers in HR. Business schools and professional groups were seeking our input for lectures, case studies and guidance. I had more opportunities to co-author books, lecture and research than I had time for…and the headhunters kept calling. Not only were they calling me…but everyone on our team. Like sirens of the lake, each call promised the riches of fame and fortune.
It couldn’t get any better. As they say down
You’ve gotten this far in your career without having to ‘tweet,’ ‘post’ or ‘like’. Why bother? It’s just a fad and things will soon change again. Won’t they? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
Unfortunately, I know many senior leaders and ‘rising stars’ that think like this.
Richard Nixon failed to recognize the power that the new medium of television could have and it played a significant factor in losing his first bid for the White House. Could you be making the same mistake? In the early 1990s thousands of high performing and ‘high potential’ business, scientific and engineering leaders found their