How do organisations strategise to create a sound and functional workforce? In this article, the authors present how various companies and businesses restructured the workplace and devise new methods and work culture to keep up with the demands of the new generations.
While millennials account for 34% of the workforce in the United States (see Figure 1) – and that percentage is on the rise – current workplace structures are tailored to previous generations, which leads to generational conflict and the loss of motivation among millennials. This article is focused on examining that dispute, as well as how such structures can be adapted to make them compatible with the preferences of new generations.
Figure 1. Generations in the Workforce
Source: Deborah Hopen and James J. Rooney, “Do Generational Differences Affect Project Success?,” Six Sigma Forum Magazine 15, no. 3 (May 2016)
Ambidextrous or Versatile
Some authors argue that the ability to compete in new markets begins with the strategies and priorities that are responsible for the very nature of innovation capabilities. It is not on the market where an organisation starts to become competitive, by offering different products and services to end consumers, but during recruitment of the talent that will design and develop such products and services to be placed on the market. Thus, the innovation process within organisations should start from the human resource (HR) department, with new talent-recruitment policies adapted to a generation with different traits and wishes. Employers need to transition “from a ‘boomer-centric’ workplace to a ‘millennial-centric’ workplace”.
Birkinshaw and Gibson identified a strong positive correlation between business performance and ambidextrous organisations. If we apply this to the HR department, we could argue that a company that focuses its talent-recruitment and retention policies on current and future employees will achieve better business performance, as well as better financial results. Nowadays, many companies still have policies designed for baby boomers and Generation Xers and have not yet modified them for those just starting out in the business world – those are, millennials and postmillennials. Since they will be the ones holding job positions in the future, those in charge of designing and applying said policies should pay attention to their demands and wishes, with the goal of achieving a more ambidextrous organisation.
About the Authors
Guido Stein is Academic Director of the Executive MBA of Madrid, Professor at IESE Business School in the Department of Managing People in Organisations and Director of Negotiation Unit. He is partner of Inicia Corporate (M&A and Corporate Finance).
Miguel Martín is a Business Consultant in strategic and development projects for national and international companies. He obtained the Business and Administration degree at the University of Navarra, and the Masters degree in Finance at the CIFF Business School in 2017. He joined Moebius Consulting after 3 years working at IESE as a Research Assistant, where he still collaborates in the publication of several books, business cases and technical notes.