Young generation between 20 and 35 years of age will represent nearly half of the workforce by 2020 and three quarters by 2025. Naturally, companies must understand the specific expectations of younger people composing this new generation which are committed to companies whose raison d’être or purpose they share. Young employees commonly enjoy working in teams, having fun, and becoming part of a community. They want to play an active role in their own development. Younger people are also typically less loyal because they dream of creating their own start-up.
Buying into company vision and its raison d’etre becomes imperative to get employees engaged. In managing men and women, essential human elements must be kept in mind at all times. Individuals are known for the thirst of seeking recognition, and particularly want to be recognized as a giver. This need for recognition certainly constitutes the most profound and important human drive, such as “giving, receiving, giving back”.
Selflessness and freedom are an integral part of the human psyche, of which giving is the clearest expression. Oliver Wyman insights cited that it is essential for companies to understand and integrate these two impacts. For example, when an employee is in a lower position, their need for recognition might be greater than those in a senior position as senior employees are more well-known than junior ones. The said employee who seeks recognition is therefore known as someone who searches for meaning in their lives and work.
On formal employment contracts, individuals want to give something intangible, yet essential in their view. Adhesion to the values, lifestyle and spirit of a company is important to younger generations. Criticism of an utilitarian vision of individuals is thus concretely reflected in business. Companies will be expected to surpass a purely economic role and create meaning, given the gradual disintegration of traditional organs of solidarity and interpersonal bonding are more sensitive to the potential detrimental effects of business on the environment, public health, and many more. The giving economy also makes a remarkable entry in the life of companies, which increasingly supports employee’s involvement in social, charitable and humanitarian causes. This means that the ultimate owners of a company are no longer the financial shareholders, but society as a whole.
Ensure shared meaning, raison d’etre, engagement
In a world where employees want to express their individuality, the prime role of HR will involve reinforcement of the collective dimension. This will require building a shared vision and direction to rally organisation around a raison d’etre based on benefit to customer as well as company’s role and place in the ecosystem, and social stakes in general.
The idea is to federate people around company culture, and by the same token, reinforce the social contract. Companies are thus driven to rethink their managerial benchmarks. Efforts to define the raison d’etre might be supported by creating or adapting value benchmarks. This is naturally a delicate subject. Many firms might have formally articulated “values,” but do not always put them tangibly into practice.
The expression of the raison d’etre can also take very different forms depending on a company and society culture. Hence, if value benchmarks are created, they must be concretely integrated into assessment and recognition systems. This federating or rallying function will be the most essential of all the roles played by the HR of tomorrow. In a context where everyday operational tasks will be increasingly performed by employees or their direct superior using online tools, the collective spirit will remain a central prerogative of the HR department.