July 1, 2019

How to empower the new generation

When we talk about today’s new generation, we often discuss the changes and challenges they’re bringing to the world of business. Remote working policies, transformations in management, issues around attracting and retaining talent - this new generation is shaking up all the established frameworks and forcing organisations to fundamentally rethink how they operate.

These changes have been on the cards for some years now - HR professionals can certainly attest to that! But once companies have established suitable management methods and can ensure transparency throughout their organisations, what kind of practical initiatives need to be put in place to help unlock all the talent of the new generation?

Mathieu Dardaillon, Founder of Ticket for Change; Flavius Fejes, CEO of HeyCo; Bénédicte Tilloy, Partner, Head of New Vision & Transformation at Schoolab, and Chloé Boutchneï, Financial Director of EveryCheck, shared their feedback on the issue at our recent conference, "Empowering the New Gen".

🙋 Carving out a space for their “whole selves”

According to Bénédicte Tilloy, a few years ago, it was normal to simply leave your personality at the door when starting at a new workplace. But, today, people are taking off their ‘accountant’ or ‘business developer’ hats and we’re seeing a real drive amongst students and recent graduates to be understood as individuals in their own right, both inside and outside of companies.

Chloé Boutchneï, Financial Director of EveryCheck and professional rugby player adds:

"My work had to be accommodating enough for me to be at training by 8pm, five nights a week. At my company, I found that there was really this side of them where they wanted to know who I was and what my sporting side could bring to the table [...] It’s great to feel listened to and accepted. And in my work, they give me room to develop my curiosity, my multi-disciplinary approach"

Chloé  Boutchneï, Financial Director, Everycheck

🔑 Unlocking passions

The role of HR was built in the image of other technical roles in companies at the time and has found itself becoming ‘another technical process’. According to Bénédicte Tilloy, we talk about careers, but we really should be talking about unlocking the skills and passions behind the jobs being done. The idea is to give sufficient scope to these skills. When employees release their full creativity, the entire organisation benefits.

How does it work?

  • Imagine your employees as T-shaped, where the vertical bar represents the core of their work, their principle tasks, and the horizontal bar represents the cross-disciplinary projects they take part in. The idea is therefore about allowing employees - once they’ve mastered the vertical bar - to explore new challenges within the company, depending on their own tastes and wishes.
  • Let employees express themselves more freely from the start of the recruitment process. In interviews, rather than describing a candidate’s specific role point by point, give them the opportunity to tell you about their tasks themselves. How do they see themselves within the company? Give candidates the chance to express themselves from your very first interactions.

By refusing to be locked in old-fashioned career straitjackets, today’s new generation can be an enormous source of inspiration! By giving them permission to be totally themselves, they can help others come out of their shells, too. And it’s the organisation as a whole that will benefit.

💡 Establishing ‘talent-unlocking’ programmes

Hackathons, pitch contests, calls for intrapreneurial projects and reverse monitoring are just some of the ways you can detect and value talent already within your company. These initiatives allow workers to express their creativity in real-life situations and develop them in a dynamic and stimulating environment.  

Flavius Fejes, CEO of HeyCo, can testify to his own journey in that respect. A property entrepreneur, he went on to join the Bouygues Group who financed his plans to run co-living spaces - and that’s how he became an intrapreneur. Today, his startup is fully autonomous, but recognises the importance of the programmes they’ve benefited from, including reverse mentoring, innovation campaigns, as well as mentoring from other managers.

"When you have talent that you can grow and turn people into problem-solvers, you have to provide a bigger framework than just jobs alone."

Flavius Fejes, CEO, HeyCo

Programmes of this kind demonstrate the willingness of organisations nowadays to help innovative individuals achieve success - regardless of their age. As such, they can detect talent within people and multiply their potential impact.

⭐ Placing individual and collective impact at the heart of organisations

"We all work around 80,000 hours in our lifetime. What we do with those hours is crucial! (...) And, today, we finally have a choice."

Mathieu Dardaillon, Founder, Ticket for Change

The new generation wants to have a tangible and positive impact on the organisations they work for - and the world more generally - while avoiding the 3 Bs: burn out, bore out and brown out, the ‘new’ workplace diseases.

The message is clear. Whatever actions companies put in place, whether or not they fit with their own values is the deciding factor for young people today.

But it does beg the question: empowering the new generation, yes - but for what purpose? At Ticket For Change, Matthieu uses the Ikigai model to match talent with his organisation’s goals. By finding a direct link between individual and collective objectives, they put meaning and impact at the heart of the business.

Empowering today’s generation means putting an autonomous framework in place that gives workers responsibility. But it’s a process that involves many iterations. It’s about finding a balance between a company’s vision and its constraints. The ultimate goal? Healthy levels of self-control, a company where employees are committed, free to express their creativity and supported in their desire to innovate.

Posted by
Sara Chatterjee
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