With a workforce comprised of five generations and increased emphasis on fluid, collaborative working, the very idea of what makes a good leader has changed.
The once accepted traits of decisiveness, extraversion and motivation are now being replaced by abstract thinking, collaboration and employee empowerment.
Alongside this, the concept of ‘leadership at all levels’ recognises the leadership contribution of employees across the organisation and their need to be informed, enabled and empowered to achieve company goals. Agile and innovative, this new breed of leader is informed by data, enabled by the right tools and empowered by authority.
Q3 What type of employee will we need and how will we differentiate ourselves to attract the right talent?
Working in a ‘new world’ organisation of fluid team structures requires a very different type of employee. Increasingly, organisations are discovering that not all skilled developers or digital marketers, for example, are capable of or even want to work in an agile, fluid environment where the lines between functions are blurred and cross-team collaboration is the norm.
In this context, employers are rethinking their approach to talent acquisition: focusing on natural abilities, attitude and mindset as well as skillset.
Equally, many organisations are recognising that their “workforce” does not have to be restricted to employees on their established headcount. Today, “workforce” often includes gig economy, freelance workers and even crowdsourcing.
Q4 How will we manage and drive productivity in a changing and unpredictable environment?
Understanding what great will look like in your version of the ‘new world’ organisation will be key to building a sustainable high-performance environment. Building employee profiles based upon high performer attributes, analysing the gaps in existing individuals and teams and then designing a robust talent acquisition strategy and development programme will be key.
Q5 How will we drive engagement and retention in an organisation with five generations, all with different expectations?
Alongside breaking down hierarchical structures, many organisations are dismantling their traditional approaches to career planning, engagement and development. The underlying principle here is recognising the individual employee’s particular needs.
Driven by the attitudes of their younger generation employees, rather than thinking in terms of a ‘career ladder’ with an upward trajectory, organisations are increasingly responding to demand for a sequence of ‘experiences’ and creating opportunities where people can move both side to side, as well as up and down.
Alongside this, the ‘right here, right now’ mindset is signalling the end of the annual appraisal in favour of regular, informal 360 feedback, project reviews and real-time engagement surveys. Meanwhile, training for the Google generation has become always-on learning, often based on user generated questions, when individuals build their knowledge quickly, remotely and on their own terms.
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