Tag Archive for: Covid

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Putting a price tag on the Great Resignation

While we’ve been talking about the global resignation crisis anecdotally, we now have figures that reveal the scale of the emergency.

A Microsoft study indicated that 41% of the global workforce are considering resigning within one year, and a Fast Company article suggested that this number may actually be as high as 55%. As many as one in four employees may be considering leaving their roles within six to 12 months.

My own research indicated that this phenomenon was already growing before the pandemic when l learned 90% of millennials (who compose about 60% of the global workforce) do not plan to stay with their employers for more than five years, and over a third plan to leave within two years.

To put a price tag on the problem, if the average cost of replacing an employee is between one half to two times their annual salary, then a 100-person company with an average salary of £60,000 could be facing replacement costs in 2022 of between £750,000 and £3,000,000.

The implications of the resignation crisis are especially dire for professional services firms. I’m thinking of management consultancies, accounting and law firms that have a partnership model in particular.

Initially, this model only worked if graduates knew they were on an 10-year journey to make partner, but what if those graduates don’t care about becoming partners anymore? Then the social architecture of the venerable ‘firm’ would crumble.

But in just about any type of organisation, the life-long corporate citizen is going the way of the dodo. As a result, a number of long-held assumptions around how to retain talent are being overthrown.

Since pensions aren’t what they used to be, with the inevitable transition from final salary to defined contribution schemes, and average salaries have not grown concomitantly with inflation over the last 30 years, salaries and pensions are just not serving as the ‘golden handcuffs’ of yesteryear.

Instead, my research indicates that the top factors at employee engagement today are development, culture and purpose:

  • Development can no longer be a reward for tenure since top talent won’t wait for up to 10 years for that management development programme. Upskilling and continuous, rather than intermittent, development is the new norm.
  • Organisational culture has to be visible in shared behaviours and actions, not values and platitudes in the annual shareholder reports and on colourful posters in the lifts.
  • Purpose must be lived and companies must be curious about each colleague’s own choices in their professional lives and why they choose to work here.

I frequently talk to firms who are seriously questioning their philosophy of work and the architecture of how they are composed.

We have to reconsider the models in our organisations and think about how we can still imbue people with purpose and values so that they will stay a little bit longer, but also create those organisational designs that are not necessarily ‘up or out’.

That aspiration must involve working on purpose and legacy, particularly with senior executives, those in the last trimester of their careers, who might otherwise be thinking, ‘Well, there’s very little else that you can teach me’.

I would want to get this stakeholder group together and ask them to think about the type of firm that they wish to leave for their successors. How might it be possible to have more fluid movement in and out of the organisation?

In that way, top talent might include those who are en route to becoming enterprise leaders, or might become future clients, or might become suppliers or partners, or might ultimately want to work on a contractor basis. After all, over 60% of the world’s work is now organised according to projects.

Top young talent might even want to return as senior executives later in your company’s life. In other words, they might join a firm two or three times during their careers, coming in and out of the organisation with greater dexterity than most companies would currently tolerate.

It really involves rethinking how you work and how you are structured, but those difficult conversations have to begin now.

Adam Kingl is the author of Next Generation Leadership and an adjunct lecturer at the UCL School of Management

HR Magazine, Published: 19 Jan 2022

https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/content/comment/putting-a-price-tag-on-the-great-resignation

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The Great Resignation and What We Can Do About It

The press has recently been discussing what appears to be a resignation crisis that we’re facing globally. After all, there are four million people who quit their jobs in April 2021 in the U.S., a twenty-year high. There were a record ten million job vacancies in June. A Microsoft study indicated that 41 percent of the global workforce are considering resigning within one year, and a Fast Company article suggested that number may be as high as 55 percent.

The implications of the resignation crisis are especially dire for professional services firms. I’m thinking of management consultancies, accounting, and law firms that have a partnership model in particular. Initially, the partnership model only worked if graduates knew they were on an eight to twelve-year journey to make partner, but what if those graduates don’t care about making partner anymore? The social architecture of the venerable ‘firm’ is crumbling.

But in just about any type of organization, the life-long corporate citizen is going the way of the dodo. Research from my book, Next Generation Leadership, has shown that Generation Y (or the Millennial generation) is considering leaving any given employer on average every two to five years. As a result, a number of long-held assumptions around how to retain talent are being overthrown. Since pensions aren’t what they used to be, with the inevitable transition from final salary to defined contribution schemes, and average salaries not growing concomitantly with inflation over the last thirty years, salaries and pensions are just not serving as the ‘golden handcuffs’ of yesteryear. Instead, my research indicates that the top factors at employee engagement today are development, culture, and purpose:

  • Development can no longer be a reward for tenure since top talent won’t wait for five to ten years for that management development program. Upskilling and continuous, rather than intermittent, development is the new norm.
  • Organizational culture has to be visible in shared behaviors and actions, not values and platitudes in the annual shareholder reports and on colorful posters in the lifts.
  • Purpose must be lived and companies must be curious about each colleague’s own choices in their professional lives and why they choose to work here.

I frequently talk to firms who are seriously questioning their philosophy of work and the architecture of how they are composed. We have to reconsider the models in our organizations and think about how we can still imbue people with purpose and values so that they will stay a little bit longer, but also create those organizational designs that are not necessarily ‘up or out’. That aspiration must involve working on purpose and legacy, particularly with senior executives, those in the last trimester of their careers, who might otherwise be thinking, ‘Well, there’s very little else that you can teach me.’

I would want to get this stakeholder group together ask them to think about the type of firm that they wish to leave for their successors. How might it be possible to have more fluid movement in and out of the organization? In that way, top talent might include those who are en route to becoming enterprise leaders, or might become future clients, or might become suppliers or partners, or might ultimately want to work on a contractor basis. After all, over sixty percent of the world’s work is now organized according to projects.

Top young talent might even want to return as senior executives later in your company’s life. In other words, they might join two or three times during the course of their careers, coming in and out of your organization with greater dexterity than most companies would currently tolerate. It really involves rethinking how you work and how you are structured, but those difficult conversations have to begin now.

Adam Kingl is an Adjunct Professor at Hult International Business School, www.adamkingl.com

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Considering the End of Lockdown

What should companies be thinking about regarding their talent as we (possibly?) near the end of lockdown?

First, think about the physical space of your company office.  A lot of organisations are shedding commercial real estate.  The implication is that employees returning to the office are going to be smooshed together in ever more constricted open plans.  Well, that may work for some people but not for others, so do consider also providing flexible, private space.  You have introverts; you have neurodiverse colleagues.  They will, at some points in the workday, need time to themselves.

Second, think about how you may extend flexible work, giving people the opportunity to continue to work from home at least part of the time.  For many industries and functions, an option to work from home is never going to go away now and in fact will be expected from many if not most employees.  For example, over half of the U.S. workforce was already working from home at least part of the time before lockdown happened.  Most companies have already demonstrated that it can and does work.

Third, when your colleagues are back in the workplace, you now have the opportunity to socialise again.  You probably have many employees (hundreds or thousands in some cases) who joined your company during lockdown and have never yet had the opportunity really to get to know their colleagues in social situations.  To do so build trust, and that helps to reinforce culture.

This brings me to my fourth point.  If you want to build a stronger culture post-lockdown, create opportunities for your people to observe important meetings with important clients and customers.  And in that way, they start to understand how you work when it really matters, which is the true test of organisational authenticity.  This initiative can be easier when you are physically co-located, so seize the opportunity to demonstrate that being the office does have its advantages.  Get people together to observe the behaviours you desire and need for a culture that wins and has fun together, where people would not wish to be anywhere else.             

Adam Kingl is Adjunct Faculty at the UCL School of Management, Ashridge-Hult International Business School, an Associate of the Moller Institute at Cambridge University, and the author of Next Generation Leadership (HarperCollins 2020).  www.adamkingl.com

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How to Develop Your Young People in Lockdown

How to Develop Your Young People in Lockdown

One of the main conclusions I came to in researching my book, Next Generation Leadership, is that Generation Ys (Millennials) crave development more than almost anything else from their organisations.  But the question I hear now that we are in lockdown under Covid is: How can we recreate the development that would have happened organically by our youngest colleagues’ observing how senior people go about doing business?

There are still at least a couple of things that we can do.  First, even under lockdown, we can invite our young team members to senior stakeholder meetings, senior customers or strategic conversations, even if they are just observing.  If we want to enhance a culture of development, one way to do that is to help our people observe desired behaviours.  The best definition I’ve ever heard of ‘culture’ is so good because it is so simple.  It’s just two words: ‘shared behaviours’.  That’s it!  But that definition implies that you have to give your people the opportunity to observe behaviours in action, and you can certainly still do that under lockdown.

The second piece of advice I would give is to consider mentoring your youngest employees.  These don’t have to be your direct reports, but also make that a reverse mentoring opportunity.  You can teach them about how to navigate your organization, advance their careers, serve more sophisticated customers, and they help you with issues such as leveraging social media, identifying new customer segments, and using skills and tools they have acquired which many of their older colleagues have not.  It’s also an opportunity to find out for yourself what younger generations want from life, their career and their leaders.  I think you’ll find it illuminating!

So how do you still organically develop your Millennial colleagues under lockdown, in ways that don’t cost you anything?  First, invite them to senior virtual meetings, and ask them to observe and note behaviours.  And second, consider mentoring and asking for reverse mentoring.