Leaders need to 'gen up' so they don't let 'gen y' down

New free white paper and podcast on ‘HR in 2020 – A New Employment Landscape’

Thanks to entry-level positions and graduate schemes, businesses are welcoming a host of raw Generation Y talent into the workforce. Unfortunately, it is possible a ‘blind-leading-the-blind’ scenario could be developing when it comes to the integration of technology and diversification.

‘Gen Y’ workers undoubtedly have a proactive relationship with technology. They are not just familiar with it, but expect to see it integrated into their own working environment. However, a decision about how to create this kind of culture and structure can only be made at the very top of the chain and there is serious concern this may not be happening quickly enough. So is this being compounded by reluctance? Are most businesses unprepared for diversification?

A brand new white paper from Resource Management looks into why these issues are happening and what can be done about it. They spoke with some of the UK’s leading HRDs to understand better what could be done to enable positive change – both for business and employee.

You can read the full ‘HR in 2020: A New Employment Landscape report and listen to the podcast here.

One thing came out loud and clear from these discussions – change needs to happen and at a much quicker pace than it is currently. This is backed up by evidence. An international employee study from Oxford Economics found that only 34% believe that management is prepared to lead a diverse workforce, and just 47% think they can effectively lead global teams, something that is increasingly necessary as technology makes the world ‘smaller’ and more accessible.

But there are a number of ways leaders need to support existing workplace communities, while at the same time welcoming the new generation.

Mike Beesley, CEO of Resource Management’s parent group RSG, said: “Young people historically get a bad press from the older generation but it’s often unjustified and, in fact, can be quite a lazy reaction from leadership that just does not want to change the status quo of how things have always been done.

“Real leadership not only accepts that there will always be a ‘learning on the job’ element to their work but actually relishes this opportunity and makes this approach a cultural norm.

“Technology has no doubt formed a large part of how we need to grasp the nettle on new thinking and to ensure we as an industry are prepared to ‘skill up’, in particular understanding how technology and big data can help HR transform across the board into a highly analytical and anticipatory function.”

In general, becoming a more strategic arm of the business is also proven to give HR a ‘seat at the table’ and the ear of the board. Anticipatory HR departments are already 43% more likely to be involved in the long-term business planning process.

These types of companies are also over six times more likely to have exhibited strong financial performance, versus those in which HR’s planning process involvement is late or non-existent. In fact, a report by PWC found that with sufficient collaboration and strategic focus, we could see HR leaders evolve into a Chief People Officer (CPO) role, a powerful and influential component of business leadership.

Beesley concluded: “The flipside of this is that if HR remains transactional, then it risks being replaced by the technology itself and becomes simply an outsourced function. But if it is driven and delivered properly, the next few years can be HR’s time to shine. So, let’s put to use strategic analysis, proactive staffing and employee engagement policies and evolve to be ready for 2020 and beyond.”

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See all our white papers here.

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