People management is one of the toughest and yet most crucial activities in any organization. No matter how solid work plans and business proposals are, there is little to nothing left in a company if you remove its people.
Closing 2014 was exciting for us – we’re not longer in the start-up category – and we look at 2015 determined to stretch our limits and meet new horizons. It is clear to us that these new objectives can only be met if we continue to absorb new talent like the one that forms our DNA. This new talent, youthful in age and in their mindset, require a specific management style. The five principle below summarise our view on this. We hope you find them useful.
1. Young leaders’ empowerment
As “baby boomers” get old, western countries’ workforce faces some particular challenges. Born between 1946 and 1964, “baby boomers” are now retiring, and their roles become either available or obsolete. Youngsters belonging to generation X (born between 1965 and 1976) and generation Y (1977-1998) join organisations and can widen the generation gap that has begun a few years ago. Both Xs and Ys have values and work-styles that are very dissimilar to their elders. Newly-grads are often seen by their older colleagues as overly-confident (especially considering their lack of experience), whereas younger workers see their counterparts as technologically challenged, or too resistant to change. While more senior people might stay late in the office as a sign of working hard and being loyal to the company, Xs and Ys are more active in pursuing a healthy work-life balance. This list could go on and on. Finding a way to bridge the generational gap is not an easy task, and companies will have to be creative in order to incorporate new blood and experiencies (TI, training, mind-frame) in a way that is fruitful and effective.
2. Training the next generation of leaders
The need to properly develop the next generation of leaders is shaping the way we learn, teach and perform. A recent study from Deloitte University (Human Capital Trends Survey) showed 86% of respondents considering global vision in a leader as something “urgent” or “important”. Leadership is also growing in importance across different steps of the work ladder. It’s interesting to see how leadership is now important at every level, and not attached to more senior roles. Notwithstanding, only 13% of respondents in this same study have offered leadership programs to every level of the organization. In summary, our challenge is not only to continuously adapt our development programs to growing leadership needs, but also to adapt its content to the gen X and Y mindset and to the modern business context.
Talent triggers innovation, productivity and excellence. A successful company must not only find, but also train and train and train.. to retain its top talent. This is not only old news, it’s also not a fading tendency. Generation X and Y are aware of this, and they search organisations where staff development options re transparent and clear, and there is room for autonomy and critical thinking. These policies, in addition to positive enforcement and recognition, give youngsters room to grow and make them feel valued and in charge of their progression in terms of both competencies and career. Performance management, coaching, ongoing feedback, transparent decision making and a busy information flow help to prevent extra turn-over costs in replacing our best people.
4. Talent as money
Insipred by the “talentism as the new capitalism” theory (Klaus Schwab/Gary Beach), it is clear to us that talent is the determining factor in obtaining competitive advantage. The theory that capital drives talent is now inverted, and talent is the main driver for specialisation and success. Talent drives (more) capital. We live in a knowledge-based economy that entails complex tasks under constant change and integrated in complex media systems. In this context, it is definitely people who will make the difference, and recruiting and selection becomes a strategic factor in HR management. If, and on one hand, you should not rely on traditional methods, on the other hand, R&S should not be exclusive to your HR department. Your brand is now exposed, and concepts like employer brand, networking and referrals, as well as tools like LinkedIn, become part of your daily routine. All of your staff is now an ambassador for the brand e they should all responsibly support your acquisition of talent… and therefore wealth.
5. Outsourcing, freelancers and joint ventures
As the nature of work changes, we want to change with it. We know that “a job is no longer for life”, and there are multiple partnerships and solutions that aim to fix specific needs of organisations. Competencies can be sold and bought under an outsourcing umbrella, or in the freelance market, with varied formats and time-frames. You can offer freelance support in legal, tech dev, marketing, or consultancy / special projects. This model is growing in popularity and allows companies to develop in areas that wouldn’t necessarily belong to their core skill-set.
We are working hard in setting up a few of these models that should respond to the needs we’ve observed in the market, and we aim to offer these “on-demand” competencies in original formats.
We are confident that these five principles will make us stronger and more competent, aligning talents old and new.