I stumbled across this article in The Atlantic talking about the number of older workers surpassing younger workers for the first time. It’s really not a surprise. Many baby boomers are having to postpone retirement because they’re still feeling the impact of the Great Recession. While the economy is getting better, let’s not kid ourselves…for many, there’s still a lot of catching up to do.
I’m really surprised that business isn’t talking about this a bit more.
We need young professionals in the workforce. Not just for their fresh thinking and ability to move up the corporate ladder. The economy needs people to do all the stuff that happens when we’re young: buy or rent places to live, decorate homes, take vacations, fall in love, marry or move in with someone. If young professionals are unemployed or underemployed, those options are limited.
Meanwhile, organizations must recognize that older workers will retire someday. Maybe not next week or next month. Maybe not even next year. But at some point, they will retire and companies should be ready. Plans need to be in place to capture the knowledge of this soon-to-be retiree. ...
Recognize This! – Strategy can only be executed by those who intimately understand strategic objectives and their role in it.
Strategy is one of my passions. I’m fortunate that helping clients formulate strategy is also my job. Indeed, my title is Vice President, Client Strategy and Consulting. I greatly enjoy my work helping organizations of all stripes develop a strategy for proactive management of their company culture. Yet, I also believe that everyone is (or should be) strategist in their organization.
Two pieces on strategy I read last week helped me coalesce my thinking. First, from Strategy + Business comes the ideas of Cynthia Montgomery, Timken Professor of Business Administration and former chair of the strategy unit at Harvard Business School. The article describes Montgomery’s approach to strategy this way:
“When you look at strategy as a frame of mind to be cultivated, rather than as a plan to be executed, you are far more likely to succeed over the long run… To Montgomery, a business strategist is not primarily an analyst of position, or of resources; nor is the strategist purely adaptive, responding reactively to the vagaries of ...
One of the important insights from the financial fiascos of the last few years is that senior managers and their company can’t always be trusted to act openly or ethically. The consequence of that is writ large: a huge number of people lost their jobs. Indeed, on several occasions, employees who lost their jobs have expressed their frustrations to me about their firm’s practice, telling me that they would never have guessed that of their firm’s leaders.
But then, as the conversation went on, they emphasized that a person at their level couldn’t possibly know what’s going on behind closed doors. Duhhhh. Sometimes we have to be shocked to see what was there all along.
The status of a firm and its managers is not nearly as obscure as many employees think. Furthermore, there are a number of clues to various kinds of financial difficulty or hanky panky that employees at any level can pick up.
Here’s how I got educated on potential corporate bankruptcy. Back in the early ‘nineties, I had a number of long-term, development projects at Sunbeam in Boca Raton. Since a part of my development program involved 360 interviews, I ...
Recognize This! – Innovation is not just the big, market-transforming end result, but the little ideas along the way.
What’s the most powerful word in business today? Innovation.
Read any blog, any news source, any prospectus and you will quickly stumble over “innovation.” How the company pursues innovation, how innovative the products are, how “innovation” is a core value of the company. And this is all well and good – innovation truly is what propels industries and markets ever forward.
But the real question smart companies should be encouraging every employee, in every role, to ask is: “What can I do, in what I do every day, to be more innovative? How can I innovate our product, our service approach, to better serve our customers, change the market, or push the company forward?”
Unfortunately, too many people think innovation is too big for them or “not in my job description.” I believe that’s because we as leaders have failed to explain what real innovation actually looks like. David Steinberg, chief executive of XL Marketing, gives a much better definition of innovation in a recent New York Times ...
(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Allied Van Lines, a leader in the moving and storage industry with more than 75 years of experience. For a second year, they are championing a research project, Allied HRIQ, aimed to provide business professionals with data on current workforce trends. I’m honored to be working with Allied again and hope you find the information interesting.)
A few months ago, Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting. The response uproar backlash was swift. Experts from everywhere said telecommuting is essential to employee satisfaction and engagement. Some said this was the first sign of the apocalypse. All right – you caught me. No one really said that … but you would have thought the world was coming to an end given all the media attention.
Let me toss an idea out there. Maybe telecommuting isn’t the utopia we think it is. Or that it’s been hyped up to be.
By definition, telecommuting is when employees do not travel to a central place of work. Telecommuting is also referred to as telework or remote work. Typically when a person telecommutes, they’re working from home. So ...
Turn to almost any organization in the country and a familiar thread is going to be heard - What is the ROI (Return on Investment) for this project? Human Resources is no different. Through the works of Bersin & Associates, who in their 2011 report "The Best Practices for the High Impact HR Organization" determined that the top challenge for HR Management was the ability to measure HR programs in financial terms and the work of Jac Fit-Enz and Wayne Cascio who each showed us how to measure HR management we have an idea on how to quantify the ROI of HR. The problem is that this view is concentrated in the metrics of hiring our human capital assets.
However regardless of how defining the ROI measurements are for the above efforts, we seem to be missing a whole other metric of HR ROI. I refer to it as the return of decisions. We complain that our human capital assets are no longer engaged with our organizations but then either knowingly or unknowingly allow our organizations to make very dump mistakes in treating those assets as valuable parts of the organization. Consider these recent enforcement activities:
- On May 1, a federal district court handed down ...
What’s the smartest foreign policy choice for the U.S. now? Remember that good strategy is inevitably about saying yes and no to the right issues. That being the case, how should U.S. politicians be answering this question? Richard Haass, the well-known diplomat, policy author and former President of the Council on Foreign Relations, flips the switch and pushes the reset button to answer this question in his latest book. In fact, he’s playing with heresy.
Set aside your doubts. Haass has not been inspired by Wile E. Coyote. The book, Haass writes in his Time article, is driven by what is and is not going on here at home—the lurching from crisis to crisis. You know, threatening not to pay our bills, cutting investments from human and physical capital, stealing from our children, and “educating people from abroad who want to stay and contribute to this society—and then refusing them the opportunity to do just that.”
The political system makes it difficult to be much of an optimist. And the hawks and defense industries along with retiree and public service unions don’t help at all. The emphasis upon involvement in ...
Fortunately or unfortunately, employee engagement is a hot topic.
Don’t get me wrong, engagement is important. There’s a proven link between engagement, productivity and profits. Companies should want to have engaged employees.
It’s virtually impossible to have an engaged employee who isn’t happy. So step one in the engagement formula should be creating happiness at work. This doesn’t mean that everyone will be 100% happy 100% of the time. That’s not realistic. But it’s not unreasonable to strive for more happy days than not happy days.
As an employee, I should be able to tell my employer “With rare exception, I’m happy coming to work.”
The question becomes, what does a company need to do in order to achieve happiness at work? That’s the ultimate philosophical question. You could start by asking people:
Name one thing that makes you happy about working here.
It might sound hokey but think of the list you would have:
- Things your company should keep doing.
- Reasons to tell job applicants and candidates.
- Things to put on your career site, LinkedIn company page or Facebook page.
I also wonder ...
Recognize This! – Only the employee can define what is meaningful work to them. Leaders, however, are critical for helping them catch the vision.
Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of engaging in meaningful work for employees. But what, exactly, does “meaningful work” mean? As I was catching up on my (admittedly large) backlog of news and blogs in my reader, I found this nugget from the Switch & Shift blog (which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite daily reads):
“Managers cannot make work meaningful for employees. Managers, however, can shape the workplace environment to let meaningful work become possible for employees. With a context set to let meaning be experienced, employees can leverage the environment to derive meaning from their work.
“Meaningful work is vague. What exactly is it? Assuredly it begins quite selfishly. But this is out of necessity. For work to be meaningful, it is the employee who must label it so. This requires a belief that meaningful work is a desired outcome from managements’ actions. And employees believe managements’ intentions and see actions aimed to let meaning emerge.”
I have been interested in the furore that has followed Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banning workers from working from home. I’ve also read that Hubert Joly, the new chief at struggling retailer Best Buy has also just scrapped their Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) for their corporate employees. Corporate staff who, until now, have been allowed to telecommute, as long as they got their results, will now be required to work at the corporate headquarters, though some managers will still have discretion to accommodate some workers. Joly’s intention is to shift the culture to one of greater accountability. A Best Buy spokesman said, “It makes sense to consider not just what the results are but how the work gets done.”
Think about it for a minute.
Like many, the initial assumption I leapt to was that here were those awful authoritarians: new in the job, trying to make their mark, trying desperately to cling to hierarchical power and going about it rather clumsily. Isn’t the modern thing to show respect to workers and give them autonomy? As long as they achieve their outputs, we don’t have to regulate their ...