We have been exploring the Hu (Human Element) or how we function as humans and leaders in a digital environment. We have places that make people work like machines. We have companies that have machines replacing people – witness the rise of digital order takers at various fast-food chains. But how do you get people to work and perform to their full potential as people? And why is this important?
In a word - demographics. Boomers are heading into retirement, Xers, Nexters, and Millennials are moving into the workplace, and the reality is that these demographic groups are much smaller than the boomers. What this means is that there will be increasing stress on companies to attract and retain good employees. Business competitiveness will now be as much of a function of staffing as it is about strategic or financial acumen.
Who is Looking?
Gallup’s latest offering, “The State of the American Workplace,” highlights both the problems and solutions that come with this new reality. At a time when the labor market is going to become increasingly competitive, research is showing that over 51% of people are actively looking for new jobs. Let that sink in for a minute.
What do you need to do to retain your staff? You need to engage them. Here is a quick snapshot from the Gallup findings; the top-quartile companies in terms of employee engagement see up to 59% lower turnover than their counterparts. They also have 70% fewer safety incidents, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profits. That is what engagement gets you.
So what does this new demographic want? What will keep them with you? They want work that lets them work in their areas of strength. They want more flexibility in the workplace in terms of things like flex time, working from home, and pursuit of professional and personal growth. And they want an authentic workplace and leadership that is willing to coach them.
Making Technology Work For You
In short, Millennials have decided to make technology work for them, not the other way around. They want to use technology to give them flexibility around work-life balance. They have to be connected during off-hours or on vacation, then why not take that a step further and actually work from home or other places away from the office?
One neat thing that Millennials are looking for is paid time to work independently on a project of their choosing. Remember our discussion around the satisfaction of accomplishment? This is one way this group chooses to deal with it; work on a project (that could be related to a company need or just a social need the company supports) in which they get to experience the satisfaction that comes with creating something meaningful in a Hu way.
Tapping Into A Different Mindset
There are several issues that Gallup has identified that really differentiate Millennials from the other demographic groupings, and I want to explore that in the next few blogs. Let me leave you with a teaser about what ramping up engagement can mean to your bottom line.
When looking at total Earned value Per Share (EPS) when comparing results from 2011-2013 and 2014-2015, here is what Gallup found.
-Publicly traded organizations that received the Gallup Great
Workplace Award experienced 115% growth in EPS, while their
competitors experienced a 27% growth over the same period.
-The actual EPS of the best-practice organizations grew at a rate
that was 4.3 times greater than that of their competitors.
-The best-practice organizations in the study had 11 engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee. At the start of their engagement journey, these organizations had an average of two engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee. Gallup – “State of the American Work Place” 2017
What are the pieces that leaders need to understand to drive this kind of engagement and these kinds of results? We will look at this more closely in the next blog. Hu Centered Leadership – Think About It!