In the past, it may have been OK for an organization's core values to be undefined. That won't cut it in the future. Learn why in this video.
- Let's talk about millennials. I often hear from managers that the millennial generation got the memo, you should do what you love, but not everyone got the memo about working hard. There are many millennials entering the workforce who seem to immediately want to be able to take the lead position in a team, without necessarily doing the hard work that's needed to get that position. So I'm often asked, how should I respond to younger workers who are looking for meaning and purpose in their work? And my response is, you have to give it to them.
I mentioned it in another video that there's a substantial opportunity for public companies to expand their list of key stakeholders beyond just their shareholders. Organizations that increasingly treat their workers, their customers, their partners, their communities, and even the planet as key stakeholders create values-driven environments where value-driven workers can thrive. And they can still be intensely profitable companies. If your organization's main purpose is just to increase shareholder value, there are going to be several results that will be extremely difficult to avoid.
One, you'll have a huge incentive to pay less than a worker's skills are worth. Why do you think about a third of those who are under 30 today say that they're underemployed? Two, you're going to have a huge incentive to discard workers your organization no longer sees as contributing in a cost-effective way. And, three, you'll have a huge incentive to automate every task possible. After all, the cheapest organization to run has zero employees. But if your organization's main purpose is to increase shareholder value, you're working for a 20th century organization.
You need to help bring it into the 21st century. I know I tend to oversimplify problems, because I find there are plenty of other people who can make them more complicated. Back in 2008, I co-funded a conference that's called SOCAP, Social Capital Markets. It was intended to encourage people to start, or transform businesses that would also have a purpose. The premise was, you can do well and do good. And if your business is well-designed, you do well because you're doing good.
In fact, expanding the stakeholders of your organization turns out to be just good business. Research shows that millennials, who are soon to be the backbone of our economy, are increasingly motivated to buy products and services from companies that have a purpose. It's also going to be increasingly necessary to hire the people that you need who want a purpose in what they do. A growing percentage of the workforce needs to have a positive impact in the world from their work. But, hey, you're just one manager.
What can you do? Well, first, you can look for ways to infuse purpose into the work that your team members perform. That might be something as simple as a clearer articulation of the connection between their work and the company's strategic goals. Or it might be something more direct, such as including more opportunities to have a direct impact from your team's activities. Next, you can help team members find opportunities to contribute outside of the work environment, such as volunteering, or using their core skills to help nonprofits.
And, finally, you can contribute directly to your organization's efforts to infuse more purpose into what the organization itself does. if it already has a taskforce focused on this, ask to join it. If it doesn't, you need to start one. But this also begs one important question: How do you feel about the purpose of your work? What steps can you take to infuse more of your own values into your daily activities? Those are critical questions for you to answer for yourself.
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- Rethinking job qualifications
- Hiring for diversity and inclusion
- Identifying key skills for adaptive workers
- Helping your team become lifelong learners
- Leveraging automation for your team
- Becoming an adaptive manager
- Making human resources a partner
- Recognizing when your adaptive strategy is working