Currently overall about 70% of leaders and managers are male — mostly Baby Boomers and the older half of Gen X. The agitating about Millennials within organizations and in the media attracts a lot of attention, and most of the focus is on ways to ‘fix’ them or appease them rather than reconsider work practices, succession planning and knowledge transfer and the influence of compensation plans.
I was inspired by a Board Briefing on gender parity given by Richard Chaplin, Founder and Executive Chairman of Managing Partner Forum in the UK, to create a checklist of recommended practices for an equally important and challenging issue: to guide decision-makers at all levels toward inclusiveness of all generations and development of younger leaders for a more profitable and stable workforce as well as a sustainable future.
The agitating about Millennials within organizations and in the media attracts a lot of attention, and most of the focus is on ways to ‘fix’ them or appease them rather than reconsider work practices, succession planning and knowledge transfer and the influence of compensation plans.
Current and aspiring leaders have a pivotal role in implementing changes to achieve a more engaged and profitable work environment. Best practices involve the following changed approaches and positive actions:
- Monitor meetings closely for potential generational bias. Think about ways to ensure that people of all generations are being heard. Be aware and open to the likelihood that they might express themselves differently.
- Mentor and sponsor younger generations not only by providing advice but also by encouraging them to undertake developmental assignments.
- Make sure that you showcase young talent for their expertise and leadership skills.
- Watch your language! Monitor how you and others speak about and to all generations. Check which metaphors and adjectives are used and consider alternative language.
- Concerning hiring and promotion decisions, keep in mind that assumptions are not always correct — check yours and alert others to check theirs.
- Demonstrate support for associates, for instance, by attending group meetings, and taking responsibility for multi-generational inclusion.
- Talk about commitments from outside your firm and how they will affect your work as well as how you handle time management. All generations seek guidance on balancing their work lives and finding opportunities to network and contribute to the greater good. This will be just as important to the next generation coming up.
Reserve a few minutes every day to reflect on the impact of intergenerational relations. Did you or others experience or notice any tension? What went well? What would you have done differently? How can you change things for the better for your firm and individual careers?
Focusing on these questions will ensure a feeling of more inclusiveness for all generations as well as fostering better development of younger leaders who will benefit the firm in the future.