It’s the Time Of The Season…….

mused on 14 Jan 2016


Well it’s the time of year for new beginnings, have you decided yet what yours will be?  With your permission I’m going to plant a seed.  How about ‘treat your employees the way you would like them to treat your customers’, role model the behaviour you would like your teams to practise.

Maybe your thinking ‘we get by’, and ‘we’ve got other fish to fry right now’.  Let me see if I can convince you that now is the time to get really serious about this:

  • Apparently 2015 was the year in which millennials became the majority of the workforce. 
  • In the next few years the new entrants to the workforce will be genuine 21st century people.
  • Increasingly the ‘baby-boom’ generation is leaving our organisations.

With every new influx of digital natives into our workplace and with the turnover in our organisations as it is the balance is tipping, digital natives will soon, if they are not already, be in  the majority.  We don’t need to go into it here, but there are many sources that illuminate the projected differences in values, expectations, hopes and desires in these groups.  It is certainly clear that we have to do some work to hear what these groups are saying, and try and make our organisations more accommodating for these aspirations.

We all know that in many large companies some of the processes and methods that our employees engage with can be unwelcoming and unfulfilling.  There is no malice in this; it is not intentional.  Most of these methods have evolved over many years and/or working generations without comprehensive reinvention.

The ‘generational change’ material indicates that the impacts on the climate and culture of our organisations will be profound. Now more than ever its important to be able to attract great talent, and having embedded them into our organisations retain them by providing the kind of environments that they want to stay within.  Those leaving the organisation are taking with them a great deal of institutional know-how, the ‘how we get things done around here’ stuff. The other perspective is that those leaving have often been the impediment to change and that this ‘loosening’ will open up new opportunities.  Regardless of your point of view, there is some urgency required.

We know that employee engagement is a significant concern for 87% of organisations (so says Deloittes).  This is no surprise when Gallup reports (“State of the Global Workplace”), that 13% of employees across 142 countries worldwide are engaged in their jobs  (emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for their organizations every day).  We have work to do.

Pulling these threads together then, an alarmingly low percentage of our employees are seriously engaged with our enterprises, the most invested and stable are increasingly leaving the workforce to be replaced with younger more mobile digital natives who are less tolerant of the bureaucratic and unwelcoming heritage practices that characterise some of our employee relations.  Indeed the largest attractor for this group is the opportunity to work with committed co-workers with whom they have strong inter-personal and community relations.  Their expectations are for greater transparency from leadership, meaning in their work, and accountability from their colleagues.  So if you are building the employee engagement strategy for the next business year, these are the key themes that you’ve built action plans to address, right?

Lets throw some numbers into the mix. Sources estimate something like 30k to replace a professional employee and this rarely adequately compensates for the lost momentum, or effect on work colleagues who are carrying the load in the absence of the replacement, let alone the 3-6 month period it takes for the replacement to attain full productivity.  Lets also not forget that the leaver is connected to communities and other individuals within your organization to which the leaver is now a potentially dangerous distraction.

So back to where we started, treat your employees the way you would like them to treat your customers.  How about making this the year when you take time to reassess your employee experience, redesign these experiences with the same rigour that you would apply for your customers.  Remove those dissatisfiers that might cause your people to reflect.  There are tools (ours among them) that would help you address employee experience in a ‘mobile first’, digital native, 21st century way. 

Now that would be a resolution worth keeping…