March 6, 2019
Ignore Millennials at your peril’, warns executive and leadership coach, Hilary Oliver, PCC. We talk to her about creating a working culture that suits the digital age and attracts new talent. It’s all about bridging the generational divide, utilising new technology and creating new experiences. In short, making your business a happier and healthier place to work.
By 2020, 35% of the global workforce will be Millennials and 24% will be Gen Z. What do business leaders need to do to attract new talent?
Today’s employees expect modern systems and processes. New technologies in business help them fulfil lifestyle goals while making their working day easier. They want to choose when and where they work rather than a 9-5 routine. They want to work in a business where the culture fits their lifestyle. Businesses need to be happier and healthier places to work. For example, most business systems now support flexible working. It is a myth that people who work from home don’t work hard; in fact, home workers are often more productive.
On average, Millennials move jobs every two years. What can businesses do to improve retention?
Millennials are ambitious. They like to experience new things so they expect employers to be good mentors and good coaches. If they aren’t learning at the rate they expect, they will move on. I don’t think it’s a question of loyalty; it’s because they are hungry for development. Millennials might want to get to a point in their career faster than perhaps they should, which is a danger. Employers need well-structured and varied training programmes which combine different techniques. Sometimes bite-size learning is appropriate; other times the learning needs to be embedded over time. Both need frequent review.
How can business leaders overcome generational differences?
The workplace has to be happy for everyone and generations need to understand each other. For older staff, it can be difficult to adapt to technological change although, for Millennials, if the technology isn’t there, they won’t be either. Businesses of every size need to change both systems and culture to succeed and business leaders need to know how to reconcile the generational divide. The key is in communication. Communicate, communicate, communicate and, when all else fails, communicate!
What is the key to success for business leaders who want to change their company culture?
When it comes to change initiatives of any kind, you need to understand the strategic need – what’s driving this need for change and what should the outcome be? But it’s more than simply a project management plan which goes from start to finish. A cultural change programme needs to engage the staff. If this change includes changing processes too, it is not enough to simply put in a new IT system; staff need to understand why it’s happening and how it will improve their working experience. We need to help people understand what’s in it for them as well as for the business. Not many of us like change, it takes quite a lot to move people, but it helps if staff are clear about the challenges and feel supported through the process.
Which types of companies will come out on top and which will be left behind as technology changes how we work?
Ignore the younger generations at your peril. 25% of Millennials are already in management positions. Ignoring things like technology change, or the culture in which young people want to work will prevent your business from thriving.