Tell me if this sounds familiar:
“Today’s generation has no work ethic; they expect everything to be hand delivered to them instead of working their way up”
“This generation entering the workforce has no time-management or communication skills”
“Technology and social media are ruining today’s youth. They have no idea how to be professional or deliver guest/client service.”
Have you been a part of similar conversations or overheard leaders complain of these problems?
In my experience, I have heard these complaints and many more similar repeatedly. I’m finding this to be the number one complaint in HR Departments and in Training Departments.
And while I do think there are truths to these statements, I believe we as leaders, are looking at these issues from an entirely wrong perspective.
Instead of focusing on the problems, let’s focus on SOLUTIONS and let’s have a strengths-based perspective.
What do I mean? Instead of sitting and bemoaning all the issues while never actually getting to any solution discussions, what if we committed ourselves to only identifying problems in order to find appropriate solutions?
The problems will not go away on their own. We either step up as leaders and help fix the issues or leave it to someone else to take care of, if that will ever happen.
I am someone who does not like to sit in a problem centered perspective without turning the dialogue to a solution focused perspective. I find that sitting in a problem perspective is never productive.
So, the question then arises,
How to create a generation of competent, creative professionals?
Focus on Solutions
What are the strengths of this generation entering the workforce?
The younger generation entering today’s workforce is looking to be valued in the workplace and will not accept the old ways of working non-stop without proper compensation.
They are creative and their ability to use technology to create a more efficient use of their time should be applauded. Why should we belittle them for finding ways to accomplish tasks in half the time it used to? Let's celebrate the creativity of the younger generation.
What needs to be developed?
This is a huge opportunity to mold the younger generation into phenomenal employees who reflect what we have learned to be true for efficiency and productivity.
We know that the values of hard work and great customer service of the old days are great values to have.
But… we also have learned so much more about how people work best, how a balanced work/life positively affects productivity, how diversity and equity need to be addressed, and how to best serve clients in ways the generation before just didn’t realize.
My point is, let’s seize the moment to develop a workforce capitalizing on their strengths and intentionally develop their communication and soft skills to maximize on a new wave of brand ambassadors in all industries.
What are action steps once we are solution focused?
Create a development strategy.
A great place to start is looking at your company’s core values. Honestly evaluate if your management team is living out these core values. Do they know what the core values mean and how to actively implement them on a daily basis?
If the answer is not a shining yes, then start there. Most managers are not developed AT ALL when promoted to their positions. They are usually promoted because of their hard skills, but not given any training on soft skills to make them successful at managing people.
Start with developing your managers to be effective communicators who are leading with your company’s core values. This development can be done through coaching, workshops, or courses. But it’s not a one-time thing. This needs to be a part of an ongoing development plan. If we truly are solution focused and wanting to create a better workforce, and not just looking to put a band aid on a deeply rooted issue, then invest time and resources into developing your management.
Create a Communication Strategy
An article in CNN Business gave research based on a recent Gallup poll of over 67,000 US workers, and guess what’s the “single habit to develop high-performance relationships more than any other single leadership activity”?
Individual Meaningful Weekly Meetings
This one action is the number one action to create a more engaged team.
Managers who are actively developed will also actively develop their teams.
And managers who create a communication strategy that involves weekly meetings will have the opportunity to develop their team through that connection time.
And the thing is… employees want this!
This younger generation which has generated so many complaints about their work ethic and experience are desperately seeking the development and tools to grow! For the most part, they have been failed. They have not been given the tools necessary to step up to their maximum potential, but they want to.
Let’s not assume this younger generation of managers and entry-level employees are lazy and unwilling to grow. Let’s instead, listen to what they are asking for, and give them the tools they need to grow.
We can do that through intentional development utilizing communication strategies.
By doing this, we will efficiently and effectively create a generation of creative employees who can communicate and problem solve better than our generation ever could!
This is an issue I’ve been passionate about for a long time and have created courses as a solution to this issue. My online courses develop managers and entry level employees, effectively training them on over 50 soft skills.
Find out how you and your team can utilize these online development courses in your development strategy.
When the question changes from “What are the issues with today’s workforce?” to “How can I solve the development gap in today’s workforce?”, you have a magical opportunity at your fingertips.
Please reach out for a free consultation about how to set up a development and communication strategy for you, your teams, your managers, or your company!
I've spent years studying and developing communication and interpersonal skills specifically for leadership and the workplace. I coach leaders to develop these key skills and tools to help their team excel.
If you'd like to develop these skills, there's several ways I can help!
> Read my book "Uplifting Leaders! How to have difficult conversations that motivate and inspire". This is a great first step as this book is packed with real life examples from my years of experience along with key tips and tricks to navigating difficult conversations in the workplace.
> Schedule some one-on-one coaching with me to develop a specific plan for you to reach your maximum potential.
> Bring me into your team to assist with team communication strategies. This looks like group coaching with individual coaching as needed.
> Sign up for one of my online development courses. These courses are designed for employees and leaders to develop key skills at their own pace.
> Schedule a one day or multi-day workshop for your company to present key ideas that will help the leadership team grow in their skills!
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