5 Things to Get Right in this New Decade
The new decade has caught many organizations wondering about what abounds in the months and years ahead. The trends of last year have not disappeared. As we move forward, here are some things we should observe and try to get right.
There are five generations that span the workplaces and the challenges with intergenerational collaboration are real. With the trend of people living longer and healthier, there is a mix of traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X, millennials and generation Z in the workplace. As there are unique backgrounds and characteristics to each generational group, the occurrence of tension and conflict is something organizations cannot afford to ignore. The workplace will become more age diverse and we must become “age-ready”. If we are to take proactive steps to close the intergenerational gaps, we should initiate actions to build an age diverse culture. Mixing the institutional knowledge of the old with the fresh perspectives of the young is a powerhouse for organizations. So why not take steps to build an age diverse culture and bridge the gaps? Create opportunities for cross-generational mentorship and collaborative activities. Every generation has something great to offer.
Workforce Mental Fitness
The collective mental fitness of employees is the lifeblood and springboard behind the great achievements of organizations. As the workplace becomes more fast-paced and companies re-organize and become leaner, there is greater pressure on employees to juggle varying responsibilities. Some thrive well in a fast-paced environment, while some struggle to keep up. The way we delegate often poses a dilemma. Sometimes we overload great workers with excessive tasks and sometimes we mismatch a person’s ability with the task assigned. Whether it is a case of overload or mismatch, an employee can become fatigued and experience anxieties if the work pressure exceeds his or her capacity to perform. This is a common situation in organizations that compromises mental fitness and creates burnout symptoms. In promoting workforce mental fitness, we must do more than just check in on employees with pre-existing mental conditions. As well, we must protect those that are mentally fit and bursting with energy to make a difference. Let’s engender practices that boost the mental wellbeing of employees and strengthen workforce mental fitness.
Use of Artificial Intelligence
There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence (AI) but with all the accompanying benefits there are risks for HR leaders to consider. We get it that the use of AI in activities such as hiring, retirement planning, benefits enrollment and so on, could offer greater service efficiencies. However, it seems AI has not yet evolved from its infancy stage and the “teething problems” should not go unrecognized. Take for example the promise of AI to handle talent acquisition, including initial screening decisions, and the recent reports of biases and inaccuracies with AI recruitment tools. Amazon ditched an AI recruitment tool that turned out to be biased against women, although automation has been key to the company’s success. An official complaint was filed against Unilever, a consumer goods giant, when its AI recruitment software was viewed as “unfair and deceptive.” AI tools must be tested and carefully assessed before use in recruitment. Even if keeping up with digital technologies is necessary, we must take note of potential risks and exercise caution in the way we outsource decisions to robots.
Talent Mix Optimization
A changing business environment means there are also changes in required workforce skills. As disrupting technologies transform our workspaces, there is heightened focus on recruiting to close the technology gap. With greater dependence on technology, organizations are rightly making their workplace digitally ready. However, turning the tables against the complexities and challenges of the new decade will take more than digital readiness. There are soft skills that are still critical to organizations. An IBM report indicated that executives hold “adaptability, time management and accountability” as critical skills. It is not easy to find a perfect candidate. So, in optimizing the workforce, HR leaders will have to pair the digitally savvy with employees that possess these important soft skills, to strengthen the talent pool. This skill grafting approach is no different from the way we graft plants to increase yields and obtain desired attributes.
With so many things buzzing at us, how do we seriously fix these problems and navigate a forward path? Well, organizational leadership will call for resetting the work attitudes, perspectives and coordinating structures of the organization. More than ever the leadership team needs to promote a cultural shift that shows diversity and inclusion, structures for greater cross-functional collaboration, learning pathways for new or enhanced skills and a workforce that is flexible and open to change. In this team-based world with such technological dependence and fast-changing landscape, we must adjust the old way of operating to achieve the outcomes we seek. In all of this, let’s create a workplace that is good for employees, structured for great achievements and positioned to face the challenges of these changing times.
At Pesce & Associates, our consultants have years of experience in developing programs to provide organizational capabilities to confront the future. For more information, please visit our website at www.pesceassociates.com or contact Elizabeth Hill, Managing Partner, at 416- 491-1501 extension 23 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.