I am not much of a futurist in that I rarely think about current trends that predict major changes in the years ahead. However, there is one that I predict may be huge in the next decade—and maybe sooner. That is, a coming backlash against the demanding workloads many organizations place on their most valuable employees. And if I’m right, it will be led by the coming generation of the so-called Millenials (currently employees under the age of 30).
You probably know that the Millenials are the most “wired”, networked, and technologically savvy but other things mark this generation too. These folks tend to believe in themselves, need lots of attention, and demand opportunities to grow and develop. They want employee-centered workplaces and reasonable work-life balance too. And if they don’t get what they want they’ll take their talents and passion and find somewhere else to work. Add all this up and we just might have a growing percentage of our workforce who if not treated well, essentially tell their employers to “take this job and shove it”…
I hear many Boomers and Xer’s complain about the unrealistic expectations of this generation—expectations of quick promotions and movement to greater levels of responsibility. I see them shake their heads in disbelief at the lack of “work ethic”, how these employees actually leave at 4:30! But, I think these differences may really be a shift in values and priorities. While many of my peers “work first and play later”, the Millenials may actually, demand “work and play as much as I want to”.
What does this mean for CEO’s today? Well one thing I know, many of you are just plain tired. As engaged as you may be—who else but you has as much to gain from organizational success or as much to lose from failure—you are not doing yourself or anyone who is close to you—any favors. I coach executive team members and while they admire and respect you, they are also seeing you risk your health. They also see you a bit, shall we say, “cranky”. I don’t speak to your spouses and partners but I do wonder what they’d say? Believe me when I say we ALL want you to take a break.
The other thing to consider is while many of your most valuable employees are also as driven as you, they are telling me how tired they are and while they love their work and their organization, they aren’t sure they can take it anymore. You know how hard it is to replace some of the talent in your organization!
CEO’s…here’s a radical idea. Consider the wisdom of the Millenials and declare some time off for you and your employees. Or if not time off, time away from the day-to-day responsibilities and allow them time to consider and create some new solutions to the same old problems. Seriously, do something—many somethings– to make your workplace more employee-centered, fun, and friendly. In 10 years perhaps the Millenials will lead this revolution but you can start it now.
The Bailey Group can help you contact us at 763.545.5997.