This past week I had been invited back to a MBA Leadership class to
discuss the topic “Who Am I: The Role of Human Capital within the Global
Workplace.I spent about 40 minutes discussing the new roles of human
capital within our organizations and then asked if their were any
comments. One student in her 20’s, asked me how realistic was it to
think that employees would in essence no longer be considered just a
number (i.e. an expense item). She had a valid point and our response
was that you need to continue to present evidence to the workplace that
you bring skills beyond the number on a balance sheet. The second
question that struck was a more direct one, I guess.
I had a
student, probably in his mid-20’s, who asked me what I thought the
contribution to the business world would be of his generation. I had to
stop and think about it for a moment but the response came fairly
quickly. I believe that when you take their contribution down to its
bare essence, their contribution is going to be one of truly defining what collaboration means.
We all play the collaboration game. Whether you are a traditionalist, a Boomer or a Gen X’er we all say we want to consider other idea and views in our organizations.
But if you look at the proof in the pudding so to speak, we are fine
with new ideas and views as long as they do not rock the boat. When I
was looking for a full time HR position I heard more often then not that
the reason I was not considered was that the likelihood that I would
fall into the meld, and go with the flow was slight because I worked as a
consultant. As a whole we don’t like surprises.
My response to
the student was that I believe that Gen Y will teach corporations what
the true meaning of collaboration is. They know. They have been involved
in collaboration their whole lives. Need an answer to a problem, they
will ask the world. Need some supporting data for a project, they know
where to find it. Hey, I admit that is not the way the other generations
were brought up, but it is the new reality. The only way for our
organizations to survive in the new business word is through innovation.
Innovation only come about by collaborating with everyone (management,
fellow employees, vendors, internal and external stakeholders) to find new solutions to existing problems. This comes from an influx of new ideas as how to do things, how to resolve conflicts within the business world.
what is their impact? Gen Y will lead the business community into a new
world. One that is based on rocking the boat where it needs to be.
Saving the boat when it is fine. But with some changes within the
organization, they will show us the path to greater operational results
going forward. They are truly corporate assets, we just need to adjust
ourselves to the new reality. The old processes such as annual
performance reviews are from the era of Authority and Control not this
new environment. Every employee should be able to have a clear picture
of how they are contributing to the organization on a 24/7 basis not
once a year. They will change us.We just have to determine whether we
are going along for the ride or are going to try and say hey your ideas
are nice, but that is not the way we do things here or you have not
earned your dues as yet?
Your choice, Your future.