Businesses and their employees have gone through major, complex shifts in the past 20 years. Generations are entering and leaving an evolving workforce with new rules and expectations that didn’t exist until recently. The traditional 9-to-5, corporate-ladder paradigms are a thing of the past. The modern workforce desires and often demands the ability to be flexible, work anytime, anywhere and on any device type of employee.
So, what are these new paradigms, and how must organizations shift internal cultures to attract top talent?
Adaptive Learning Adds Value
Today’s employees don’t advance simply with world-based knowledge and experience. Things are changing quickly and constantly; so much of what is learned often becomes obsolete quickly. The ability to learn and apply that knowledge is far more valuable in today’s workplace. Companies that advocate for continued learning and development, and create real opportunities for growth, will retain top talent. The opportunity to learn and grow will prove to be beneficial only if organizations allow employees to apply their education in new and unique situations.
Takeaway: Our clients now face challenges that are far more complex than in the past. The most successful leaders use technology as an enabler. They evaluate employees on their ability to acquire knowledge to creatively solve problems and make new possibilities a reality in a collaborative environment.
Employees today want to help propel their company forward, and businesses should value that passion. High-performers want to know how their position fits into the business and how their contributions impact results. A culture that values fresh thinking gives organizations the opportunity to innovate instead of getting stuck in the trench of tactics. To foster this sort of innovative environment, organizations need to hire people with both the right skills as well as the ability to thrive in a collaborative environment. The right skills are now critical thinking, communication, and initiative, which are often more important than academic knowledge. This is because new employees can be taught job content, which we already know means continually learning based upon the rate of change. Critical thinking and initiative are not taught, yet they are required for innovation.
Takeaway: Business leaders need to inspire employees to think big and long-term about what can be done tomorrow versus what is being done today. It is critical that employees can learn and adapt by asking the right questions and taking initiative.
Value Output Over Process
Employees don’t like to follow complicated processes, and employers don’t intend to create them. Instead, today’s organizations value employees who produce results that move the needle rather than focus on managing every detail of how an employee gets work done. Process and discipline serve a crucial role, but they need to be balanced with employees’ sense of curiosity, desire for flexibility and expectation that their output is the measure of success. Too many processes and restrictions can squelch innovation, making employees feel too boxed in to be creative. For example, some companies are starting to end the traditional set number of vacation days in favor of unlimited vacation days, and more are instituting mobile work policies. It is more important that work gets done and that the required output is there than when or where employees complete it.
Takeaway: Many of our clients are large, established organizations that have long-valued processes. Processes are necessary, but simply adhering to existing processes because they worked in the past can stifle talented employees. We work with clients to streamline these processes in order to unlock potential.
Many organizations are making great strides to adapt to the shifting workforce construct, but there are many more that are still stuck in the old model. Finding realistic opportunities for an organization to meet the needs of employees will be a key determining factor in the future success of an organization and its ability to attract valuable employees.
How can The Northridge Group help your organization create an environment that modern employees will desire? Contact us to find out.
I liked this article. But giving the freedom to work in flexible ours creates a hindrance as well. In my opinion, that creates hindrance in work-life balance instead of easing it up. How would employees know how many hours they are working for their company and how their company would know that they are not lying? Employees will lose their personal time, and work can anytime make its way into their private space. That can also create trust deficit in the long run, create resentment and mental/emotional health issues.