Coaches, not bosses – how the younger generations are changing work structure

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The 2018 Gallup Report showed that ‘71 per cent of the Millennial workforce say they’re either not engaged, or actively disengaged, in the workforce today.

Compared to other generations, there are actually fewer Millennials who are actively disengaged (16 per cent). So, that leaves 55 per cent in that middle group— “not engaged”—and they’re turning up every day at work saying, “Show me why I should be.” What do they want? Not surprisingly, “meaning and purpose” topped the list.

A generational shift in the workforce and changing conditions mean that workers today now have different values, desires, and expectations than their predecessors. Today’s workers grew up in a consumer-friendly atmosphere, in which they grew to expect and insist on responsiveness to their needs and look for the same level of respect and attention in the workplace.

Today’s workers seek purpose-driven organizations but also want to feel a connection to their individual purpose and sense of journey. They want to develop and move forward in their jobs.

Millennials are not “job hoppers” if they are engaged in the right way – but employers risk losing them if they don’t address the engagement issue quickly. Millennials want to own their expectations by working collaboratively. They are saying “inspire me with what great looks like. Tell me who the great performers are” and “don’t make me guess.” In such a fast-paced world, they don’t have time for trial and error.

So, employers can engage and motivate younger generations by making the move from boss to coach. They can help them understand and build on their strengths, overtly communicating the organisation’s mission and purpose. They’ve grown up with continuous feedback in real time, so connecting daily is ideal. These don’t have to be face-to-face meetings – quick texts and emails are fine.

Organizations need to first understand their workers, then focus on utilising their strengths to take them to the next level. A check-list for the ‘coach’ could be ‘Does the organization’s value and strengths help them to do great work every day?’ As employment is a major part of their lives, the answer should be yes!

Bruce Morton, Workforce Design and Talent Acquisition Expert and author of Redesigning the Way Work Works, available on Amazon.

Bruce Morton

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