With current changes in workforce demographics, operational managers need to build the right organizational culture to stimulate employee growth and performance. For decades, human resources experts have been proclaiming the massive exodus of retiring workers. This situation creates a huge human resource problem for most businesses.
Therefore, organizations need leaders who are attune to cultural changes in society that impact their processes as well as their employees. In this discussion, we will focus on the inherent leadership characteristics that managers need to posses in the new millennium. Many managers do not follow culture shifts that impact their organizations. You can simply look at the Baby Boomers. Some individuals proudly note that the massive Baby Boomer departure, predicted by many experts, did not happen. Many managers have grown confident that their most experienced workers will not be leaving for a very long time.
Of course, they hedge their bets that the economy will not rebound any time soon. Yet, one thing is for certain. Baby Boomers will leave one way or another; every generation eventually must exit the workforce environment because man’s existence is finite. Therefore, the Baby Boomer generation will be replaced. Researcher Kerry Harding describes this new generation as the “Emergent Workforce,” which crosses age groups, gender, race, and geography. This generation is very concerned about their professional growth. With the advent of reengineering and outsourcing of jobs, many organizations have made it difficult for employees to consider their career development in any one organization.
In a hypercompetitive environment, some managers view their workers simply as a disposable workforce due to employees’ lack of organizational loyalty. However, in reality, what we are seeing are a new set of employee value systems taking place. In one workforce study, Emergent employees (88%) believed that loyalty is not related to employment length, while Traditional employees (94%) felt that loyalty was about the willingness to stay with an employer for the long term.
Therefore, managers must be able and willing to infuse organizational values into their workers. This process starts at the very beginning when prospective workers are in the initial hiring process. Usually, the selection of a new employee is both time consuming and labor intensive. Companies conduct a series of interviews to determine if a potential employee is the right fit.
Yet, managers must listen to what their employees are saying. Alan Murray, author of The Wallstreet Journal Essential Guide to Management, insist the bosses must think differently: Managers will not be able to assume they know the answer-because more often than not, they won’t.” Murray argue, for the fully engagement of workers as well as other stakeholders.
In the 21st century, managers must consider adjusting to the changing culture. This process will help foster better management-labor relationships and stimulate employee personal growth. This starts in the hiring process, in the employee orientation process, and then in continual employee development. Organizations must be zealous in their approach of clearly stating their values and employees must clearly see that fact in the lives of their organizational leaders. If organizations continue to ignore these value issues, they may find themselves cleaning up their own business mess.
Furthermore, today’s employees want more than the status quo. In fact, individuals want help in discovering their career path and meaningful life. Labor intense workers are being replaced with knowledge workers and learning becomes part of an organization’s competitive advantage.
Gary Yukl, author of Leadership in Organizations, explains that the immediate supervisor has considerable influence over a person’s leadership development; however, many bosses fail to do the right things to facilitate growth in their employees. Therefore, today’s managers make shift their thinking if they want to increase workers’ performance.
What are effective ways organizations get their managers to embrace the culture shift necessary to manage a 21st workforce?
© 2010 by Daryl D. Green