Evolutionary demographic trends leading to a massive redistribution of the working-age population are making finding and securing the workforce of tomorrow one of the biggest challenges for today’s CEOs.
According to a 2014 PwC report, 93 percent of CEOs acknowledge the need to change their talent strategies to cater to different population growth rates across the world, as well as the rapid urbanization we are experiencing today.
For today’s leaders to find, secure and align the leaders of tomorrow with their long-term organizational goals, they must change and adjust their strategies. They also must play an active role in helping these future leaders grow in their current roles.
Here are some ways to keep top talent aligned with organizational goals, but allow for personal growth that the younger, more diverse workforce requires:
1. Communicate consistently with transparency. For these future leaders to remain engaged and aligned with the company’s goals, they have to see how they are personally impacting the organization. It all starts with an open and transparent culture in which everyone is comfortable sharing their thoughts, issues and ideas.
Company news and goals should also be consistently communicated directly to employees and an ongoing thread of communication around how those plans will be achieved should be encouraged. Share information and ideas through online discussions hosted on internal communication boards, during informal in-person meetings or even through something a bit more fun such as an idea wall in the office.
2. Put education and development at the forefront. According to the PwC report, 41 percent of CEOs believe a skilled workforce should be a government priority, but nearly two-thirds have found the need to task their own companies to do so.
Some companies have taken a more DIY approach to development for decades by creating their own corporate universities, such as Hamburger University, created by McDonald’s in 1962, and GE’s Crotonville, launched in 1956.
Another option is rotational programs such as Ford’s College Graduate program. These allow recent graduates, and even more tenured employees, to experience different roles and become more well-rounded within the company.
Additionally, allowing natural learning to happen by setting a flexible daily schedule for employees works great. This allows them to work at their own pace and learn in a way that works for them, which can be very beneficial to developing new skills and allowing them to find ways to improve the current ways of doing things.
3. Revamp the structure within. More than 80 percent of CEOs plan to make changes to their organizational structure, according to the PwC report, as well as their engagement strategy with employees, particularly the younger workers.
Develop a less horizontal organizational structure and evolve it to be more lateral with less bureaucracy. Although this type of change may be difficult for larger organizations, it is ultimately about finding a structure that can accommodate more meaningful input from everyone.
An organizational structure that requires a great idea from an employee to travel up three or four levels of management levels will not suffice. It has to be a structure in which employees can run their idea by trusted management and then share it directly with those at the top without hesitating.
4. Test multimodal communication strategies. With five generations currently in the workplace, it is critical for leaders to understand there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to communicating and engaging every employee.
Similar to the approach businesses take today for reaching consumers, a multimodal approach to communicating with different employee audiences is key. Some employees may respond to and be more engaged with email, while others may prefer less conventional approaches such as texting or push notifications through an app.
Think outside of the box with younger employees and approach them with an innovative and open mind. Doing this for them will in turn motivate them to do the same for the company. In the end, more innovation and risks by employees means more rewards and success for companies.