Inspiration: the key to engagement

A recent study shows that 90% of companies believe that their core business is threatened by new digital competitors. Take Airbnb and Netflix to name a few. Technology is making it easier for companies, such as these who are agile and customer-centric, to enter markets that were not accessible before.

Agile, customer-centric, and tech savvy companies are driving traditional businesses to rethink the way their organisations are structured. In fact, a study by Deloitte shows that 92 percent of senior executives and HR leaders worldwide rate organisational design as a key priority. Many businesses are moving from a top-down hierarchical structure to a model of a “network of teams” in which businesses build and empower teams to work on specific business projects and challenges.

This new way of structuring organisations has the potential to increase the engagement of Millenials, which will become 50% of the global workforce by 2020. Gallup found in one study on the Millennial workforce that 55% of Millennials are not engaged at work. Differently, from other generations, Millenials are demanding to work in organisations that empower them and gives them a strong sense of purpose; they want more than just a paycheck. This energised generation wants to collaborate openly, using tools to innovate and they don’t want leaders telling them “this is the way we do things around here.” Businesses which operate with networks of teams are attractive to our Millennial workforce.

Disruptive competitors and the growth of the Millennial workforce is not only moving Executives to restructure their organisations but to move towards transforming their cultures. The importance of a winning culture was underscored in Bain & Company’s latest worldwide survey of management tools and trends: 91% of the 1,200 global senior executives surveyed agreed that “culture is as important as strategy for business success.” Surprisingly only 19% of HR and Business Leaders believe they have the right culture which begs the question “what is the right culture?” This answer differs for every business. However, there is no doubt that successful disruptors, such as Uber, have one thing in common; they inspire their workforce. “Talented executives and engineers flocking to Uber believe the company has “world-changing” ambitions with a corporate culture that values team as much as the bottom line.” (What Uber is getting right that other startups aren’t).

So what do inspiring businesses do?

  1. They design Learning Experiences: To move products to market quickly, the workforce need to be agile and learn fast! A learning experience means applying the learning “on the job”. Too often learning gained from training programs, without an embedding or accountability piece, is lost. To ensure learning transforms into behavior change, many L&D teams are looking to develop shorter programs supported with innovative digital platforms to complement classroom learning.
  2. They Cultivate a Listening Culture: Positive culture is built from the ground up: with great listening, high levels of trust and open dialogue. A simple way to cultivate a listening culture is for managers to have meaningful conversations with their team. Gallup has found that engagement is highest among employees who have daily communication with their managers. HR and L&D teams are looking for a more structured approach for leaders to have meaningful two-way conversations with their teams so that everyone has the opportunity to address business issues.
  3. They Utilise People Analytics: People Analytics can be described as analysing employee data to understand ways to improve business performance. Among others, it’s a way to listen to employees through data. Of course, this is nothing new. Businesses have been rolling out the annual engagement survey for decades. However, many businesses are ditching or preparing to replace it with regular digital pulse checks. This approach provides HR teams and leaders with real-time people analytics to quickly address issues that affect business performance.
  4. They Democratise Leadership: A move to networked teams requires businesses to develop more leaders, not less. And with a more empowered workforce contributing to decision-making, businesses must develop the leadership aptitude of the entire workforce, not just an elite few at the top of the hierarchy. This is prompting L&D to rethink how they can develop leaders with a cost-effective and experiential approach so that more people have access to development opportunities that result in behaviour change.

There’s no doubt that going to work in a place that inspires greatness within ourselves and the people we work with will ‘feel’ great too 🙂

Kristyn Haywood is the Founding Director of People for Success. Kristyn is passionate about helping organisations unlock the natural talents of their entire organisaton by re-shaping their cultures and developing 21st-century Leadership capability. Check-out People for Success’  Authentic LeadershipExperience, Team alignment Journeys and Actionable Conversations.

Kristyn also offers speaking engagements on this and other leadership topics. Find her speaker’s kit by following this link.

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