Are the Experts wrong?
Would young talent actually prefer to be committed to a strong culture and company?
Most forecasters and experts believe that the trend is very much geared towards the “GIG” economy and the increased desire for young people to work on a freelance basis. There are numerous reports that state that close to 50% of the workforce will be working on a freelance basis by 2022.
It can therefore be deemed a touch strange to argue against all the forecasts but it is worth considering that there are few trends that actually suggest that young people would actually prefer to be committed to a company for the long term. If – and here comes the rub – that company does believe in having a strong culture that does care about its people, their development and careers as well as playing roles in society and the community.
One could go as far as to argue that the issue is less the desire to be part of the GIG economy but more that they find a lack of leadership and communication within large companies and therefore decide to live and work by a different set of rules.
The question is whether the drive towards the GIG economy is in truth being propelled by a lack of positive engagement between companies and their human assets?
There are many facts that refute this argument but consider:
- Two of the most common traits noted about the younger generation are:
- A fear of failure
- A desire to belong to a strong culture and community
- The emerging generations want to work for organisations that are committed to improving society and the environment.
- There is already a debate building in momentum as to why there is a lack of new leaders breaking through and there is a need for new development programmes to support talent.
It is recognised that there is an increased fear of failure that has increased amongst the younger generation. The baby boom generation were often more gung-ho in approach and achieved great things. It was a generation of superb leaders. There is far less freedom today and the young are known to feel under greater pressure at work. Mental illness and depression is on the increase. It is logical that when one feels under such pressure that talent will not be creative or productive and they will choose to leave. The baby boom generation would have done exactly the same.
Just maybe business culture is losing talent and creating the gig economy because talent is not enjoying the work environment?
The 1970s and 80s are often mocked as being the eras of one company careers. However, perhaps, this is what many want – to belong and to be part of a business culture that values them in return; to stay within a company and build a career? Could it have been the baby boomers that changed this dynamic and that talent now wants to return to strong cultures. After all the British are traditionally tribal and loyal as a culture. It seen in every aspect of daily life so why not work? One can argue that the notion of the gig economy flies in the face of social culture which is all about community and tribes.
Maybe the experts have it wrong and maybe boards need to rethink their approach to leadership and the development of talent?
Regardless of whether this argument is correct, change in thinking needs to happen as talent will become increasingly scarce with Brexit.
This house argues that we need to return to some old methodologies in order to prepare for the future. We need to place people first once again not just in word but through investing in talent.