I want to finish our exploration of the P Factor by drilling down a bit on the issues that Millennials and other post Boomer demographic groups say are important for engagement. In going over the research for these issues there are some notable things that stand out. Perspectives that are truly unique markers of the post Boomer groups.
The Need for Active Management
The need for active management ranks as a top driver for engagement. Whereas in the past one might have been able to take the position “here is your desk, I will let you know if you are not performing.” Today’s employees expect their managers to be actively involved in having their performance managed. These demographic groups have been nurtured in a much more collaborative setting in school and college and look to their managers to be actively involved in improving their performance.
While some may see this as a problem, it really is not. Managers are being invited to collaborate with staff around performance. This is really an opportunity for those confident enough to take up the challenge. There is a lot of room for growth here too as Gallup has found that only 21% of employees see their managers as being actively involved with them in this regard.
The Need for Vision
This has always been an issue for leadership in most companies. What is crucial in our current setting is that we are entering an era of intense competition for talent. Companies that don’t have a clear vision for their organization, who are not communicating this well and who are not getting employees excited about being a part of that journey are going to fail to compete for those top level employees. Leadership teams must be clear on the vision and brand of the company and they must communicate it and then communicate it again and lastly they must communicate some more and maybe a bit differently too.
The Need for Understanding
The demographic groups that companies are competing for have at their core an underlying dissonance. As a whole they are far more apt to change jobs and companies than previous generations but their rationale for this is driven by a need to find greater job stability and security. While those two concepts may seem at odds with each other (high mobility and the need for security and stability) what it really means is that they won’t “settle for second best.” Perhaps this is a reflection of the affluence that many of them were raised in but nonetheless they see life as too short to waste time in a company where they don’t perceive a good “fit.”
What that “fit” looks like is where companies need to develop understanding. This group want to work where they have the ability to do what they do best. That is to operate in their areas of strength and where they feel they are contributing. They want a greater work-life balance and better personal wellbeing. With regard to this they don’t find it strange at all of companies to sponsor and yes at times pay for work around special projects or social issues. Connected to that they want to work for a company with a great brand or reputation. Part of that sense of wellbeing is the knowledge that the company they work for does “good things” for the community or corporately.
An Untapped Opportunity
To sum things up, while it would appear that these demographic groups come with a unique set of perspectives. What this really represents is a tremendous opportunity for leaders and managers to tap into this potential. The work force and the face of work is going to change because of this and I suspect for the better. It also will give you as leaders the opportunity to truly engage your leadership around meaningful performance management and cultural enhancement that you may find surprisingly satisfying. Performance Leadership – Think About It!