Each week we bring you our views on the latest published research on the topics of Employee Engagement, Leadership and Motivation, together with some thoughts on their practical application.

Young People’s Experience in the Workplace

young Gen Factors

Last week we introduced the 2014 ACAS report on Young People’s  Experience of the Workplace (the age group 20 – 29, often also called ‘millennials’). In the research, 15 factors were identified, grouped into four groups – Intrinsic Factors; Extrinsic Factors; Job Demands and Flexibility Factors; and Social Factors. Young employees were asked which of 15 factors were most important to them.

The data raises some interesting implications for managers. As our infographic above shows, the most important factor to young people overall is a sure job – perhaps not surprising, given that the data was collected during a lengthy and deep recession. But what is revealing is that the next four top items are all Intrinsic and Social Factors; the data show that what matters most to young people (after a secure job) is to do work they like doing, which uses their abilities, with friendly people and having good relations with their supervisors.

It’s also interesting that the lowest scoring factor is ‘an easy workload.’ Despite what some people seem to suggest, Millennials are not looking for an easy life! They are willing to work hard and make a full contribution, but not necessarily in the same way as their older colleagues.

The challenge for line-managers very often is that these intrinsic factors are more difficult to ‘manage’. It’s easier for managers to provide the extrinsic factors, like training, pay, benefits and opportunities. Given that these are not the most important things to young people, how can line-managers really engage the young people in their team, so that they willingly go the extra mile and give of their ‘discretionary effort’?

Here are some guiding principles that we believe will help your managers move towards being more engaging managers:

1. Remember that motivation comes from within and cannot be imposed; the manager’s job is not to motivate, but to create the environment in which people will choose to be motivated. Make sure that there is an open flow of two-way communication within your team – sharing important information and also listening to needs (even unspoken ones).

2. Don’t confuse ‘good relations with supervisors’ as requiring supervisors/line-managers needing to be friends with everyone. Yes, it is good to be friendly, but in our experience at Emenex good relationships with line managers are based on factors such as honesty, integrity and respect, much more than on the feeling that their managers is their friend. Employees need to have a voice, and to have managers who listen.

3. The ability to do work they enjoy and which uses their abilities is particularly important to young employees. Look for opportunities to give them projects and tasks that meet that need, but also let them know that there are some things that simply have to be done if everyone’s job is to be secure.

Do you want your managers to be more engaging in the way they lead and manage their teams? We help by providing them with the tools, skills and support to align the expectations of their employees with their priorities and needs. Please contact us today on 08450 523 593. 

The Challenges of Leading in a Regulatory Environment

Regulated environments are at a continuous learning edge, balancing innovation and entrepreneurialism while following due processes with rigour and precision. None more so probably than the financial services sector.

As levels of scrutiny increase, it is important for leaders in this sector to ensure talented individuals aren’t paralysed by analysis and fear, and are given the right kind of training, motivation and rewards to develop the mind-sets required. So, in short, what do leaders need to think about?

In their recent report, Blessing White has provided some answers with the primary aim of helping leaders across any organisation to inspire, engage and excite people to high performance. The stakes are high and the shift that needs to occur is behavioural; that is, a challenge of hearts and minds. Leaders will need help in articulating and embodying the change that is required throughout the organisation.

Researched from a wide range of industry interviews, they explore how an understanding of change management, values-led leadership and human behaviour can support financial services organisations in moving beyond basic compliance and into ‘ethical high performance’. A prime concern emerging from the majority of the interviews they conducted.

How to Stop Micromanaging Your Team

In this HBR article Rebecca Knight reminds us that Micromanaging is a hard habit to break. Managers may downplay their propensities by labelling themselves as “control freak” or by claiming that they just like to keep close tabs on their team, but those are poor excuses for excessive meddling. What can management do therefore to give employees the space they need to succeed and learn? Here are some pointers on how to let go:

  • Reflect on your behaviour to develop an awareness of why you micromanage.
  • Get feedback
  • Prioritize what matters—and what doesn’t
  • Talk to your team
  • Step back slowly
  • Build trust
  • Know your employees’ limitations

Take a look at the Take Charge of Your Career Workshop and see how to empower your employees and change your culture for the better.

 An extraordinary tale – “How to turn Failure into Success”

This week’s blog from Jonathan describes the extraordinary experiences he had on his recent (last weekend) 100 km hike around Yorkshire in aid of Oxfam and his own personal learning.

“What I discovered is that I can push myself beyond what I think is possible. I found that under the severest pressure people do amazing things and that following my heart is good, but allowing it to take over brings limitations.  Emotional decisions aren’t always the best ones.”

Read the full tale.

The Best Jobs Now Require You To Be A People Person – And that’s better news for women than for men.

A first look at an interesting new study carried out by David Deming, an associate professor of economics at Harvard and reported by Andrew Flowers here.

The paper is titled “The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market.

According to Flowers, Deming “grouped job tasks into four types: routine, nonroutine analytical, social-skill-intensive and service-intensive. Routine tasks are repetitive and likely to be automated, like assembly-line work or checking ledger entries; nonroutine analytical tasks involve more mathematical or abstract reasoning, such as computer programming; social-skill-intensive tasks require persuasion, social perceptiveness and coordinating with others; service tasks involve assisting and caring for others.”

The key findings relating to women are summarised as; “Deming finds that the composition of women’s job tasks has radically changed in the last 30 or so years, while men’s tasks have hardly budged. He ranked both the hard and soft skills requirements of more than 300 jobs and standardized them on a percentile scale (the higher the ranking for a particular skill type, the more important it is to the job). In 1980, the typical woman’s job was below average in its requirement for social skills — it ranked in the 47th percentile (think of a cook). But by 2012, the typical woman’s job was in the 66th percentile of all jobs in requiring social skills (think of a teacher). Over the same period, the typical woman’s job saw a decline in routine tasks, to the 34th percentile from the 58th. Men saw little change in their job tasks, however — the breakdown between routine and social tasks for the typical man’s job was pretty similar in 2012 to what it was in 1980.”

Interesting and worth reading in more detail. We will look at the paper and come back with more in a future edition.

About Emenex

We help you make your people great.

Emenex enables organisations to get the best from and for their staff. Leaders approach us when they have challenges associated with motivation, productivity, retention, talent management and succession planning. They know that addressing these critical issues delivers higher levels of profit, productivity and customer satisfaction. They also know that a more progressive solution is required – one that delivers above and beyond expectations and enhances their brand with customers and staff alike. The solution our clients are choosing to implement is the extraMILETM Employee Engagement Programme.

The extraMILETM Employee Engagement Programme delivers all the tools and skills leaders need to clearly define and communicate organisational priorities to employees. For employees, it ensures they are prepared and able to align their personal and career goals to the priorities of the organisation. The continued growth and development of both teams and individuals builds loyalty, commitment and engagement. It builds an organisation better able to meet future challenges and leads to higher performance and customer satisfaction.

The result? Individuals and their organisation excel. Get in touch to find out more.

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