You are probably familiar with the old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Based on my informal conversations around the coffee bar, this seems to be a more common metaphor expressed by long-term employees as it applies to their employers’ investment of time, energy, and resources in recruiting new talent in comparison to investing in their current employees. Many frustrated professionals are asking, “What about me? What about my future?” They perceive they are being left behind as their companies appear to offer more support and opportunities to new hires because of the competition for top talent.
As a coach, I hear many professionals express disappointment in their current employers, whom they believe are not or are only superficially investing in them. Many do not feel valued and appreciated for what they are or can contribute. When I ask, “How could your company take greater advantage of what you can contribute,” common responses are: (1) provide me with stretch opportunities that help me grow, yet are still aligned with my abilities and interests, and (2) help me manage the cultural changes influenced by the waved of Millennials entering the workforce.
Saladhuddin (2014) described the four distinct generational cohorts and their identities which are Veteran/Mature/Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial/Nexter. Most Veterans have left the workforce with Baby Boomers also rapidly entering retirement. As of 2015, the estimated distribution of the three most represented workforce cohorts was nearly equal with Baby Boomers at 29%, Gen Xers at 34%, and Millennials at 34%, with the latter projected to increase to 50-75% of the workforce by 2025 (Woods, 2016). Ten years from now, the Millennial worldview identity will likely have the greatest influence on the workforce landscape, but businesses will still need the skills, experiences, and talents of the remaining Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.
Historically, new employees acclimated to their company’s culture, now culture is adapting to accommodate rapid globalization and technology advancements as well as the influence of the Millennial work identity. These factors are pressing American companies to rethink the way they do business, who they hire, and how their culture will have to change to position themselves for success. A company’s cultural has never been more in question. A recent Korn Ferry Institute (2017) study showed that executives believe the main reason that candidates join or leave an organization is because of its culture. Millennials want to feel good about where they work and have a shared sense of purpose. Gen Xers want to take their skills to a place where they can make an impact.
Strategic discussions on cultural change are more prevalent today as companies grapple with understanding their current culture, define a cultural vision, identify their cultural gaps, and act on a path to transform culture. Organizational studies (Kanter, 2012) show that most employees resist change either because of the environment or personal motivations. How can companies best help and empower their employees with cultural transformation without leaving them behind or having them leave? I believe the answer can be found in access to a combination of formal personal, team, and organizational coaching. In the past, coaching used to be reserved for senior executives and leaders. In the current business climate, I believe most if not all employees can benefit from coaching, and those organizations, who are the trailblazers in how they leverage human capital, will make coaching services available to their employees. An organizational and leadership coach can help employees find greater fulfillment, engage in cultural change, and meaningfully contribute to their organization’s strategy and goals.
Constructive opinions, viewpoints, and comments welcome on this hot topic.
- Do you feel valued at your company and believe management makes reasonable efforts to tap into your talents for mutual benefit? If not, why do you think your company is not utilizing your full abilities?
- What thoughts do you have in how companies could better leverage the power of all employees across generational identities?
Kanter, R. (2012). Ten reasons people resist change. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-chang
Korn Ferry Institute (2017). The talent forecast, part 1: Adapting today’s candidate priorities for tomorrow’s organizational success. Retrieved from http://www.kornferry.com/the-talent-forecast/the-talent-forecast
Salahuddin, M. (2010). Generational difference impact on leadership style and organizational success. Journal of Diversity Management, 5(2), 1-6.
Woods, K. (2016). Organizational ambidexterity and the multi-generational workforce. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 20(1), 95-111.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement. She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose/plans, business, finances, relationships, and premarital/marriage. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org