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Adjusting To The 21st Century Workforce

I was listening to a sports program on the radio the other day where the DJs were discussing a recent issue at Minnesota State Mankato University. The players refused to practice or play for their newly reinstated coach, saying it was time they were heard. One of the DJs kept insisting that the issue, in part, was that the players hadn’t been included in the decision. The DJ arguing with him kept wondering aloud why the players would have been included in that decision, since when does their buy-in matter and why should they have a voice in the decision making?

I was listening to a sports program on the radio the other day where the DJs were discussing a recent issue at Minnesota State Mankato University. The players refused to practice or play for their newly reinstated coach, saying it was time they were heard. One of the DJs kept insisting that the issue, in part, was that the players hadn’t been included in the decision. The DJ arguing with him kept wondering aloud why the players would have been included in that decision, since when does their buy-in matter and why should they have a voice in the decision making?

Well, employee buy-in matters in the 21st Century workplace. If you want your employees to practice and play, they need to feel like a real part of the team; they want to be heard.

A recent Deloitte report suggests that global business growth is being jeopardized by organizations’ failure to adjust to a 21st Century workforce. It states that employers aren’t ready to address the shift in employee values and expectations on the job which could potentially result in a crisis of leadership and retention. We think they’re right.

BUILDING LEADERS

If you want to stay competitive, you’re going to need strong talented leaders. Yet, 66 percent of respondents in the Deloitte report claim to be weak at creating leadership programs for Millennials.

Guess what? You need leadership programs for Generation Y; they’re your future leaders. It’s as simple as that. If you aren’t investing in young leadership, you’ll be stuck in the past, irrelevant and probably out of business. Hiring to fill gaps is expensive; develop your leadership from within. Your 21st Century workforce wants you to help them reach their career goals, and you’ll need their leadership in the future.

Simple. Win win.

MAKE IT MEANINGFUL

The 21st Century employee is not as motivated by a paycheck as generations past. It’s going to take more than a pay bump to retain your top talent. Employees are looking for employers who are willing to work with them to develop their skills and keep them relevant in the changing workplace. Employees are looking for a cause they can believe in; they want to feel passionate about their work, understand their purpose. When organizations invest in them and give them something to invest in, that’s what helps to create loyal employees.

Unfortunately, according to the Deloitte report, 38 percent of respondents rated themselves weak at integrating social, community and corporate programs that are aligned with career goals of employees. It’s time to get better. Organizations need to help their talent reach career goals while working towards something meaningful, not just a paycheck.

HR NEEDS TO KEEP UP

The world is changing. How we do business is changing. The workforce is changing. HR needs to be making changes too. Sadly, they are currently lagging behind, playing catch-up. Thirty-four percent of Deloitte survey respondents describe their HR departments as just “getting by” or under-performing.

The Baby Boomers are retiring, Generation Z is entering the workforce. We are facing a workforce crisis, the largest shift in human capital this country has ever seen. This is no time for HR departments to be getting by or under-performing. HR needs to be up on the latest tools and trends that affect their ability to attract and retain talented employees.

It’s time to adjust for the 21st Century workforce, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and if you don’t keep up, your business isn’t going anywhere either. It’s time to listen. Your employees are telling you what they expect, and if you want to keep them, you need to adjust. Meeting expectations is going to mean change.

Yes, we know change is scary, but not changing is downright terrifying.

Take the first step towards your future.

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