Blog list ...

The challenge of integrating Millennials

“Millennials don't want to be managed, they like to be led, coached and mentored. This generation is on fire and ready to go."  (Farshad Asl).

Our organisations often undergo change we don’t even plan for, for example political and economic swings can take us by surprise.  One of the biggest ongoing changes we face is the composition of the workforce; the Millennials generation is even larger than the “baby boom” generation according to some. The question is, does it matter?

According to a report from PWC (“Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace”), Millennials already form 25% of the workforce in the U.S. and account for over half of the population in India. By 2020, Millennials will form 50% of the global workforce. As well as changing the cultural tone of the organisations they work with, they are critical as a generation because they will be the economic support for an increasingly larger older generation as life expectancy increases. Integrating Millennials effectively is becoming a crucial aim for many organisations.

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Ensuring backup for essential skills

'Mind the Gap' is a familiar phrase repeated to passengers on London Underground.

Passengers respond and go about their daily travel safely. If that same phrase were repeated again and again within an organisation it too might respond. Potential future gaps in those job roles seen as critical to business success would be identified and successors developed ready to fill them. Living with the gap or filling the gap with the wrong person erodes what we may call 'Institutional Memory'.

Institutional memory is becoming something which managers need to increasingly address. Costs of production and service delivery have often been cut and slashed to the bone, and the cost of skills replacement is one area that can offer further cost reduction opportunities. Cost reduction opportunities are scarce, but the development of Institutional Memory offers a huge area of cost saving.

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Professional succession planning and motivation

I think I must have been around 5 years old when I first heard the poem ‘remember remember the 5th of November….’. Of course I figured it was a poem to remember fireworks night, hot dogs and bonfires rather than Guy Fawkes. Life is simple as a kid.

A connected phrase one comes across as an adult is “Don’t re-invent the wheel”. This phrase is used to help us focus on setting up shared best practice etc.

So, beginning in childhood all the way through to adulthood, we are taught ways to remember stuff so we don't have to start all over again every time something changes. So, when we come to Succession Planning, why do we regularly get ourselves caught out with re-inventing wheels when employees inevitably depart?

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Succession planning - backup for essential skills

I have the pleasure of working with people who have not had paid work for some time due to either parenting/caring responsibilities, or in some cases redundancy. They are a very diverse group of individuals  from those who have had well-paid executive jobs through to those who have had little work experience. They certainly teach me as much as I teach them about the world we live in.

They have one thing in common which is the determination to succeed. They are all looking at opening a business linked to a particular technical skill they have.  The application of their technical skill is the easy part of their business. It is the business skills of finance, marketing, sales, IT and HR alongside their personal skills, values and required behaviours which will dictate their business success. If any of these are absent from the mix, their self-employed success dream will remain just that.

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Why do we need professional succession planning?

Working life seems to be going at an ever increasing pace. The joys of competition mean constant change. Customer demand is increasing through rising customer communications and awareness. Crazy change is here to stay!

When I got into sales and negotiations work some time back now, I learned something very early on, and that was that if I HAD to have a deal I was vulnerable. The best sales guys seemed not to NEED the sale. When you need a deal, others seem to sense your vulnerability and in turn begin to apply pressure on you. The best bit of preparation for any negotiation is to prepare somewhere to go if the negotiation fails. Then you know you can walk away to somewhere positive. Roger Fisher and William L. Ury in their classic ‘Getting to Yes’ call this a BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement).

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Leading a great team event

We know we can’t control the emotional state of others but we can definitely influence them by creating the right thinking environment and developing our own leadership behaviours in support.  We have already looked at how, as leaders, we can create generative thinking by designing the best climate for thinking in the team. But leading a great team event is a particularly strong challenge. Leaders also need to look at themselves and consider whether they behave in the best possible way to create a positive climate in the team.

Employee surveys provide a rich source of leadership feedback and a snapshot of the current culture.  I have used these surveys during leadership programmes to explore the real engagement in the team and what the team is telling their leader. This analysis raises important questions:

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High impact team events

A friend of mine told me once that “people only change behaviour when they win” and I do believe there is truth in that.  It is so easy to give up trying something new if at first you don’t succeed.  Neuroscience tells us that it take 10,000 practices to form a new habit, allowing the old habit to slowly die.  So how can positive change work in groups where each person has to believe they can win before committing to change? Each person will have their own fears and insecurities and will potentially avoid changing the way they do things, so galvanising a group becomes more difficult. The leader’s role and their role modelling are pivotal to changing a group’s thinking and attitude.

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Choosing the most cost-effective training method

Sometimes it’s good to know what others are doing.

If you are like me then focus on getting stuff done can costumes mean tunnel vision, heavy workload can often mean repeated patterns. So, for this brief article I figured it may be worth seeing what others are doing in the area of training spend.

In researching for this article, I came across a superb report by The Brandon Hall Group (see report here). It provides a fascinating overview of activity in the corporate training in the U.S. If we extrapolate a little, it also gives us some avenues to pursue when choosing the most cost effective training method and helps us to make the training budget work.

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Blended Learning ... is it just a myth?

Blended Learning must be one of the most common phrases used within the training world, and one of the least applied. To a large extent it is aspirational, and if used generally means providing some classroom training then offering supporting e_learning through a tool provided and installed with generic content.

But most L&D professionals agree that blended learning should be blended according to the objectives of the training assignment. We tailor classroom content to suit the audience, we learned long ago that putting mass populations through the same content was an expensive way of achieving very little. The challenge now is to tailor the self study element as well as the classroom events with subject experts, so that recipients receive training that is specifically focussed and run by industry experts with appropriate experience.

At Goodfoot we are developing such an approach. The non-classroom content will comprise pre-course work and assessment, training content, and post-course work and assessment. That and the classroom content edited constructed around the specific objectives for the group. Truly blended for focused results.

We would love your comments on what comprises a true blended learning solution. Contact us with your ideas, or just ask us for more information.

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