This past week I spoke to a group of CEOs at the National Association of Wholesalers in Chicago on the topic of building a stronger team in an intergenerational workforce. Of the points we discussed, the one I continued to bring up again and again is that of environment.
If you want to attract and retain the best of the best, above all you need to have a work environment that is appealing. Put another way, you can invest heavily in creating an attractive image of your company; a fancy website, excessively descriptive job ads and a fresh coat of paint in the front lobby, but none of this matters one iota if the work environment employees are ushered into is poisoned.
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What does a poisonous work environment look like?
* Functional silos rather than cross functional teams
* Front line leaders that are directive rather than facilitative
* Insufficient or non-existent dialogue between front line employees and senior management
* Minimal to no involvement of front line employees in business improvement initiatives
So what can you do to improve the productivity, performance and morale within an intergenerational workforce? More importantly, how can you ensure that the talent you attract actually sticks around once you bring them onboard?
Here are a few points we discussed that can be easily introduced, and often at no cost:
1. Select front line leaders based on their ability to create collaboration, rather than being technically competent. The power of a team comes not from the leader, but from the leaders ability to help the team collaborate productively.
2. Create more opportunities for employees to interact cross-functionally, from job sharing to cross-functional teams. The more employees understand the roles and responsibilities of others, the better their decision-making capability and the greater their value to the business and it’s customers.
3. Institute simple systems and methods to allow front line employees to connect and communicate with senior leadership, including the CEO. The more frequent and frank the dialogue between front line employees and senior management, the greater the interest and engagement in the future success of the organization.
For more in-depth ideas as to how to capitalize the talent that you have, grab a copy of my new book from McGraw Hill “Operational Empowerment” due out October 16th, 2015.
How are you building an environment that inspires employees to show up and participate?
© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.
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