A glimpse into the future – workplace 2020
What will Generation Y be like as managers? Reading numerous articles and blog posts, some seem to believe that as Gen Y become managers and senior execs they will adopt the same behaviors and practices as the rest of us. Comments such as “wait until they grow up and have real responsibility, that will teach ‘em” are commonplace. However, having observed how this generation is progressing in the workforce I am not convinced that this will be true. The world of work has changed dramatically in the last decade.
For instance, there is a shift in the mix of employment/entrepreneurial/freelance opportunities. Gone are the days when you were expected to have a job for life and do your time to climb the company ladder. The second shift in the workplace will be the centre of power. By 2020, Gen Y will out number the boomers and many in decision-making roles. Gen Y will be poised to create the workplace they have always wanted.
So, what is it that Gen Y values?
Peer-to-Peer Collaboration: - Peer2Peer collaboration will be driven by the introduction of more empowering technologies & a preference for collaboration. More and more organizations will adapt a Google mentality – encouraging collisions and cross-pollinations between people for the sake of innovation! This will mean managers will focus away from managing individuals and towards getting more peer2peer value. Collaboration across the organization and with customers and suppliers will become the norm not the exception. This will mean that innovation and new ideas will come from everyone, regardless of your job box or title.
My work, MY way: - We will stop talking about work-life balance and flexitime and move towards work-life integration. Generation Y managers will allow people to personalize the way they work to get things done (as long as the customer experience isn’t compromised). This philosophy is driven by Gen Y strong preference to have this control and autonomy of the way they work too. They don’t buy into “facetime”, seniority and other antiquated work concepts. If you can work anywhere, anytime then why should workplaces count the minutes? Plus technology will make it easy to get work done productively anywhere. The idea of standard office hours will become passé. People will be measured on providing a great customer experience, demonstrating personal productivity, efficiency and agility - all leading indicators to getting good results. If you can take a day off, without impacting your clients, who cares? The organization saves money and you get what you want. No-vacation policies common in start-ups will become common in large organizations.
Technology: - Generation Y will not put up with systems that slow them down. The smart phones, apps, social networks, the cloud will all be brought into the workplace. This generation will find ways to work around Legacy systems or get rid of them where possible. As managers they will bring in more agile tools that make it simple to be productive. On the HR side, the use of video interviewing (Skype/Interview4/Interviewstream), real-time performance systems (Invensys/Halogen), social networking platforms (Linkedin/Facebook/Twitter), company-sponsored learning channels (YouTube) and virtual and collaborative team meetings (Google Hangouts/Skype) will become commonplace.
Relationships: - In 2020 we will no long be sitting down for our annual performance appraisals (as least not in most organizations). Instead we will be used to constant, transparent feedback and recognition from our internal and external customers. Feedback will go up and down and all around where you give everyone feedback even your boss.
Imagine the scene for the worker
He/She wakes up ready to start the day and wanders happily into their work area where they check e-mail, instant message apps and looks at the day’s meetings. After a quick video call to the boss to discuss priorities, prepares a presentation and then dials into the Hong Kong office for a virtual conference. Once finished, starts works on some documents in the cloud before sharing them for colleagues in various offices to add to.
Perhaps he/she may physically go into the office, perhaps not. It doesn’t matter as he/she has his tablet, eyeglass and mobile and can be reached at any time, even when out and about. What’s more, whilst he/she is out, they are easily connected to the office to monitor incoming files and update on the fly.
He/She takes the afternoon off and then gets back to work after dinner, as there is an urgent need to reach another colleague in the USA.
Of course, in practice, it may prove to be not quite so simple and laid back, but all of the signs are there to suggest that this is indeed the direction the work-life integration is going. In fact, some companies are already right there.
All in all, the majority of the predictions above look to be already taking place. We’re seeing video and cloud collaboration being used extensively in firms large and small. Social is indeed finding its way into the workplace and as for talent shortages, I refer you to Avancos, which is already widely used as a centre of excellence for all things talent by many HR departments and recruitment specialists.