2020 may seem uncertain but there are a few trends that one can almost guarantee:
· A weariness of corporate messaging and being talked at
· A desire for genuine and authentic conversations – greater kindness and empathy in action
· The fact that the talent does not want to be talked at, lectured or patronised. They want to be part of the conversation and see companies really act as they talk – on sustainability, on environment, on working on social initiatives and on diversity.
It is interesting that many argue that business did lose its balance since 2008/9 and became too transactional, process led and shareholder led. In truth this probably dates back even further to the Big Bang of the late 1980s. We are beginning to see the pendulum begin to swing back and the same is happening in society and with talent.
Talent and young people have suddenly become a major topic of discussion at the board table as companies seek to attract and retain the best talent. Too many good people have been lost in recent times and it is no coincidence that suddenly issues such as mental health, employee welfare, diversity and awarding emerging talent has come back into focus – but it does need a change that does go deeper.
· There is a move away from social media and back to real conversation. There has been genuine shock and disappointment at some the biased commentary and aggression that has appeared via social media.
· The traditional events are losing numbers as people of all ages are switching off. Events needs to be re-engineered and need to be more genuine.
· Emerging talent, quite rightly, want to be part of the conversation and are beyond bored at being told they are a “millennial”, and are a risky appointment.
It is an interesting question but when did companies lose faith in talent? So many of the most influential leaders held senior posts at a young age. They were given backing and time – two attributes that many are not given today.
One senior CEO was not only given great opportunities but back in the 80s was given real, strong support in moving from Scotland to London – to a level that we would not see today.
It used to be commonplace to see young people start-up businesses, take chances, be bold and yes, challenge the established order – it was one of the traits that made the UK special – how it could find the balance between the old order/establishment and allowing the young the voice. I smile today considering how my parents – who went through the Second World War – must have viewed Woodstock, the 60’s, Punk, Rolling Stones, Long hair and flares, and they were far more forgiving than we have often been about the millennials.
People are truly bored of the opinionated, the aggressive and judgemental and want a kinder, more community focused, and inclusive world. It is time for the genuine and authentic. For many, it is about placing kindness and empathy first again and two fingers will be shown more and more to those that believe that they do have all the answers and speak for the young. They have a voice and need to be given the same opportunities that many of us were given.
Change is inevitable. The question is how we all will adapt to that change – will we support or fight it?