If you’ve studied or better yet worked with any millennials in your organization, no doubt you’ve found their needs from a workplace to be different than previous generations. This isn’t to say that specifically what they want from their job is different than any other generation, however they are definitely more apt to be vocal and take action to achieve their needs.
How is it then that our organizations today, in their current structure can satisfy the needs of millennials? More specifically, how can we create an environment that provides flexibility in role and functions? How can we shift decision-making power from existing leadership structures to employee teams? Moreover, how can we make these kinds of significant shifts in an organizational that is fundamentally built around a management hierarchy that was originally derived from the military?
I doubt you disagree with any of my points above, but here’s the kicker. Time is running out. Millennials today are nearly 26% of the North American workforce (Baby boomers by comparison at 29% and dropping rapidly) growing to 40% of the workforce by the year 2020. That’s only five years away.
What we have are two questions. First, how can we make significant enough changes that satisfy millennials while not displacing other generations? Secondly what is the fastest route to achieve this outcome?
The answer is empowerment. Shift decision-making power from front line leaders to employees operating in teams where roles are dynamic and based on areas of accountability rather than specific points of responsibility. Making these shifts are not as difficult as you might think. Begin with changing how your front line leaders and managers interact with their employees. Changing perspectives on how decisions should be made, how meetings should be facilitated and how roles need to be dynamic are the fastest and most effective ways to start making these shifts now.
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Built on the premise of my book Operational Empowerment, on January 18th I’ll be launching the Empowered Leader video series, an annual subscription that will provide the concepts, tools and training necessary to shift how your front line leaders interact with their teams. Watch for further information on this video series next week.
© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.