Most of the current workforce comprises the baby boomers, Generation X and millennials. Millennials and Generation Z will soon form the majority of our workforce.
When it comes to retaining top talent, workforce diversity, ageism, flexibility and freedom are issues that need to be addressed.
The secret lies in nurturing both the “me” and “we” within an organisation.
Not too long ago, going to work meant putting in a five day, 9 am to 6 pm shift in a stuffy office environment that was often designed around hierarchy. Today, the work landscape has been flipped on its head. For a start, companies can begin by creating a friendly environment where employees experience a sense of belonging. Spending time sharing and reinforcing the vision of the company also enables employees to accept and eventually advocate the work culture that the company is trying to build.
Modern work-life is a melting pot of cultures and work styles. Work used to be seen as a function of daily life, part of the grind. It has evolved, and people are now required to think on different levels and form different perspectives.
With people working in and out of the office, work shifts are no longer strictly defined by time but increasingly by productivity and efficiency. Changes in employee mindset towards productivity and efficiency have also seen a growing call for greater work ownership. This constant, ongoing shift in the workforce has direct implications on both employers and employees.
How do companies adapt, keep up and evolve with this multi-faceted workforce? Understanding the characteristics of today’s evolving workforce and its transformation will show us how companies can support and realign themselves.
Fostering a collaborative workplace culture
When looking to the future, we know that successful businesses are those with work environments that are supportive of today’s multi-faceted workforce. Businesses that get it right will focus on fostering a collaborative workplace culture that is well supported by reliable technology and flexible, talent-driven hiring experiences.
In addition, the management needs to be self-aware about the importance of talent-driven workplaces. There needs to be a top-down cultural shift, as part of a two-way communication process that will make the workplace a success.
Celebrating small achievements, for instance, will always be a welcome gesture that shows appreciation, encouragement and increases motivation amongst the team.
With people living and working longer, age-old boundaries are increasingly thrown right out the window. Hence, changes in management styles and work environments are necessary as attracting and retaining top talent become bigger obstacles for businesses in today’s age.
Meeting the Challenge of Retaining top Talent
Talent retention is a key notion that people talk about all the time, but may not actually have the right ideas to implement.
Retaining top talent begins from the interview, where clear expectations about what is expected are set, followed by having a two-way conversation about the working relationship. This ensures that both parties understand the goals and vision they have for each other, resulting in an aligned progression plan. Retention issues can be avoided if progression plans are laid clear from the start so that employers and employees are able to reach a common understanding.
Another important aspect of adapting to this multi-faceted workforce is combating ageism. Ageism should not exist just because of preconceived notions that people are either “too young and inexperienced” or “too old and rigid”. Stereotyping people solely based on age is unwise as there are traits and attitudes that each generation possesses which influences different aspects of working culture.
With technology evolving across the board in both process and product, people have grown to become multi-disciplinary, contributing across different levels and removing silos in the process. This makes it more important for management to focus on the individual employees’ fit within the company and the quality of work they bring to the table.
Work by nature involves different personalities, styles, modes of concentration and interaction. Productivity should be at its highest when employees are motivated to do their best work collaboratively. This can be better achieved if they have some flexibility over when, where and how they work.
The Future of Work: Engaging Generation X, Y, Z
In pursuit of purpose, balance, flexibility and freedom, the workforce will continue to drive variety in work modes and work settings, as well as flexibility in working relationships.
Using specialised work as an example – some companies may have a need for specialised work only on an ad hoc basis. Instead of wasting resources, businesses can choose to hire professionals when they are required while ensuring that in-house quality control is maintained. The future of work will be about embracing different viewpoints and needs of the workforce.
Most of the current workforce comprises the generations we refer to as baby boomers, Generation X and millennials. Nonetheless, emphasis should also be placed on the newcomers entering the employment field: Generation Z. It is anticipated that millennials and Generation Z will form the majority of our workforce in the very near future. The continued influx of a non-traditional workforce will present both benefits and challenges to employers and employees. Businesses need to constantly adapt to this shifting workforce paradigm or risk losing their competitive edge.
Businesses that can properly balance the needs of the workforce and operational requirements by nurturing both the “me” and “we” within their organisations will find themselves best placed for future success.
About the Author
Jackson Aw | Founder | Mighty Jaxx International
Jackson Aw is a Forbes 30 under 30 honouree and founder of Singapore-based Mighty Jaxx, a technology-driven brand platform that develops a wide range of collectables with world-class artists like James Jean, Ron English, Banksy, as well as brand partners such as Warner Brothers, DC Comics and Fox Entertainment. Mighty Jaxx has developed over 500 products with collectors in over 50 countries.