Thursday September 29, 2016
By Jane Sunley, best-selling business author and Chairman + Founder of Purple Cubed, looks at the importance of growing young leaders
Most people are aware that within an organisation there are likely to be four generations working together (I’d suggest with varying degrees of success). Much is written about managing an age diverse workforce, in particular the challenge of millennials as leaders, such as this piece from Josh Bersin for Forbes.
I was recently surprised, therefore, when speaking at a large HR Business Summit and someone asked ‘Why don’t we employ more young people?’ - many nods around the room. It was clear from follow on comments that many believe it’s simply less hassle to recruit someone older with more experience and proven skills, even if that’s not necessarily best for longer term organisational success. If so many HR professionals aren’t getting to grips with the vital issue of growing young leaders, then what hope is there for anyone else?
We have four different generations within our business (Boomers, X, Y and Z/I). Understanding individuals’ attitudes and motivations through the transparent use of psychometric tools plus an emphasis on straightforward communication, ideas exchange and two-way feedback, gives us a workforce that is harmonious, consultative, respectful, equal and stimulating. The 50-somethings help the 20-somethings with their integration into the world of work, the younger ones help everyone to keep a contemporary view; all ages learn from one another.
By respecting one another’s expertise and differences, united through clear values and purpose, it is possible to build a cohesive and collaborative cross-generational force that is inevitably richer than any ‘tribes of sameness’ that may predominate.
To quote Bersin “Your ability to attract, develop, and retain young leaders will make or break your company in the coming years”. Ignore this issue at your peril.