Events Industry: Satisfying Work(ers)

The world of work has, of course, been changing since it first existed. Thank heavens for that. We don’t need to lug a deer back to our cave to survive; we just nip down the road to the supermarket, with the funds from our labours!

With the impact of technology, greater emphasis on positive HR practices, research influencing our understanding of organisational and human dynamics, and with that, the drive to create better employee engagement, changes are happening faster than ever. What we do has changed, how we do it has changed, and the demands from those working for us has changed.

We could talk about:

  • The shift in power…
  • Skills shortages that lead talented candidates to call the shots…
  • Businesses having to pay more to get the best…

Of course, the opposite is true when the shoe is on the other foot.

Yet, when it comes down to it, how easy is it to satisfy the demands of such a diverse workforce, should we bother, and what is the impact for team working? Not only are there implications for the strategies needed to recruit the best talent, but there are also significant considerations for the retention and management of employees to keep them engaged in our business. And, what leader doesn’t want to see an increase in discretionary effort?

God Damn love those Millennials!

As a Generation X (and an early adopter at that ?), I love those God damn Millennials. Why? Because they are ambitious to develop themselves, and having spent a long career in peak performance preaching the value of self-mastery as the single most important factor to achieving your best consistently, they excite me to a better workplace future. I am fortunate to work with a team of them now (and a couple of Generation X who might qualify, on the cusp), and they are great.

Providing the opportunity to learn and grow isn’t always that simple though.

At least not at the rate that Millennials might demand. Sometimes the structure doesn’t help, or the processes and procedures don’t support learning. But most often, management and leadership are the key blockers; dictating the pace of learning and growth around their own beliefs and insecurities. If you are a parent, you might relate – if you have said no to something that your child wants to explore, just because the timing isn’t right for you! Keeping up with someone who has a hunger for learning can be exhausting.

Reality prevails of course, and it might not be possible for hierarchical progression; smaller businesses can’t always offer that kind of movement. But, Millennials don’t care so much about progression upwards as they do being able to gain experiences and skills that contribute to a sense of personal achievement and their evolution. According to Karsh and Templin, 2013, Millennials prefer flat corporate culture and meaningful outcomes that are personally rewarding. The exciting thing about their mindset, is that the Millenials willingness to learn, is both refreshing and inspiring. It is also positively competitive, as opposed to the pistols at dawn approach that means one person’s success is at a cost to another.

Don’t get me wrong, Millennials want advancement too, but learning and growth – and supporting the creation their personal brand along their way – need to be available to them or they won’t stick around. They will move in search of experiences that are personally rewarding – and the businesses embracing this reality now, are already career planning for their employees by actively seeking the right experience outside the company as a part of their career journey.

How many companies in our industry are embracing the Millennials’ needs?

Fear not, if we don’t, the Millennials will design their career path for themselves. And let’s not confuse mobility on a career path with a lack of commitment. The same study found that Millennials want to feel deeply committed to their role and to work for a manager who will invest in their development. Since Millennials will form the largest part of the workforce for generations to come, the onus is on business to provide an environment that gets the best advantage of their particular talents and skills.

As for the Generation X, like me? More about us another time, if we haven’t been replaced by then ?.

Need some help, advice, support?

Imagine the working world where learning and development is integral to the way we manage and lead. In fact, we won’t be managing people in that world. Guiding, supporting and mentoring are key skills for future leaders. Self-mastery will be an essential criteria for the attainment of a leadership position. Even the vision and direction of a business would be conceptualised in the minds and voices of those delivering the business rather than leading it. Leaders will still take overall responsibility and accountability for the results, but the journey will be something more akin to the movie, The Matrix! Multiple layers, multiple dimensions, all coming together to achieve a common cause that benefits all. Now there’s a thought!

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