Let your processes live and breathe
We talked in a recent post about the new world of the job-hopping millennial and the damage this can do to an organization, particularly in the absence of documented processes. But how do we draw an advantage from this new style of working?
It would be all too easy to simply throw up our hands in horror at the perceived lack of loyalty that this new generation of employees demonstrates. Moving jobs every two years and constantly being open to offers from other organizations is a foreign concept to the baby-boomer generation who fill many of the management positions in today’s corporations. They grew up in a world where loyalty to an employer was a given and it was common practice to remain in the same organization from the day you left formal education until you received your gold watch at retirement.
As Bob Dylan once told us “The times they are a-changin’”.
Accentuate the positive
It is time to eliminate the negatives from this situation. You need to understand that your workforce dynamics have changed, and we are never going to go back to the “one-job employee”. It is time to look at this new way of working and find a way to benefit from it.
If you are doing your job well, then you are hiring people who you think can positively contribute to the growth of your business. You have a limited length of time to harness that value, so make the most of it.
Start on the right foot
When are your employees the most enthusiastic about their job? The answer to that question is pretty simple, the day they walk in the door on their first day their enthusiasm is at its peak. It is likely to diminish gradually from that point on, until they move to take up a new challenge. This is the point where you need to start drawing value from your new hire and adding their knowledge to the collective wisdom of your organization.
Yes, you want your new starters to quickly learn and adopt your business processes, but you need to make sure that your processes are not engraved on stone tablets, unchanging and unbreakable.
Ask the right questions
You need to let your workforce, new and old, contribute their wisdom to the organization. New hires will come with a wealth of ideas, some good, some not so good, about how they can help improve your business. It is all too easy to stomp on that enthusiasm with comments like “that won’t work here”, or “that is not the way we do things here”. Each time they hear a comment like that they will shut down just a little bit more and search the web for new job openings a little more often.
It is very important that your business processes are living documents, that you are able to alter them and have an organizational culture that embraces change, when it benefits the business. Having this culture means that you can ask your new hires if they have any ideas, from their experience, that could improve the way you are doing things. Once you ask the question you will then be able act on changes that can provide a positive impact.
A win-win situation
When you ask these questions of new team members, and act on them, you provide positive impacts to both sides. Your new employees will feel valued, something that cannot be underestimated, and your business will benefit from process improvements that could have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Stagnant processes have a detrimental effect on the business, the world is constantly changing, and if you do not change to keep up with it, your business will be left in the dust of those who do.
Stop asking yourself “what does he/she know about business, they’re just kids?” and ask instead “what new ideas do these kids have that we can incorporate into our business processes?” You may well be surprised at the answers you get.