CEE Executive Briefing on Harnessing Multigenerational Workforce in India - 13 June 2013
Date: 13 June, 2013
Venue: Eduquest International Institute, Chennai, India
NETWORKING SESSION WITH CII &
YOUNG INDIANS CHENNAI CHAPTER
Harnessing the Potential of
Prof Sattar Bawany
CEO, Centre for Executive Education
Strategic Advisor, IPMA Asia Pacific
Senior Advisor, Eduquest International Institute
Eduquest’s Networking Session on Harnessing the Potential of a Multigenerational Workforce – 13 June 2013 Page 1
Harnessing the Potential of a Multi-Generational Workforce
The New Realities
The business world is becoming progressively more global. Services and products offered
by businesses are also becoming more focused and targeted at specific demographic
segments. Besides many organizations today have customers all over the world who
demand excellent services and products that meet up their diverse needs, expectations and
priorities. Simultaneously, the composition of the workforce is also changing significantly
across the Globe.
Never before have four generations worked side by-side in the workplace. After World War
II, the Traditionalist generation, born 1922 to 1945, tended to work at the same employer for
an entire career. Beginning with the Boomers, born 1946–64, women and ethnic groups
began entering the workforce in increasing numbers, bringing different needs and
perspectives to the workplace.
As the Gen Xers entered the workforce, they increased job hopping in an effort to increase
their income and/or to balance their lifestyle. Although some employers made
accommodations in response to the demographic shifts, the basic work model — top down,
command and control, one size fits all, 8–5 workday — did not radically change. Now, the
emergence of the digital-savvy Millennials or Gen Yers has the potential to change the face
of work to be more collaborative, to use virtual teams, to use social media, and to offer more
flexible work hours. The Fifth generation, Gen Zers or The Linksters has started coming into
. The five generations and their birth years are depicted in Table 1.
Table 1: The Multi-Generational Workforce
Generation Years Born Work Perspectives
Traditionalists 1922 - 1945 “Company loyalty” - Believed they'd work for the same
company their entire career.
Boomers 1946 - 1964 “Live to work” - Believe in putting in face time at the
office. Women enter the workforce in large numbers.
Gen Xers 1965 - 1980 “Work to live” - Believe that work should not define their
lives. Dual-earner couples become the norm.
Gen Yers (Millennials) 1981 - 1994 “Work my way” - Devoted to their own careers, not to
their companies. Desire meaningful work.
Gen Zers (Linksters) 1995 to present “Living and Working their way” - Their struggles in the
work environment are tied to their youth and
inexperience. Desire for change, stimulation, learning
and promotion that will conflict with traditional
1 Sattar Bawany, ‘Unlocking unlocking the benefits of a multi-generational workforce in Singapore’, http://sbr.com.sg/hr-education/commentary/unlocking-
benefits-multi-generational-workforce-in-singapore, published in Singapore Business Review on 24 January 2013
Eduquest’s Networking Session on Harnessing the Potential of a Multigenerational Workforce – 13 June 2013 Page 2
Challenges in Managing a Multigenerational Workforce
A major challenge for today’s Traditionalist and Baby Boomer managers is to figure out how
to develop younger workers into tomorrow’s managers under a new business environment.
A pivotal question for managers is, “Do we want our legacy to be of mentoring and
empowering the next generations, or of fighting them tooth and nail?” Organizations that
embrace generational differences in values, ways of getting things done, and ways of
communicating will thrive.
Demographic and social trends will have a significant impact on the workforce in the coming
years. In today's struggling global economy, it is more important than ever for organisations
leverage the knowledge, skills and abilities of all workers, from all generations. By
capitalising on the strengths and values of different generations, business leaders can create
a sustainable competitive advantage for their organisations.
Organisations struggle with the challenges of effectively managing a more diverse
workforce. These challenges often relate to variation in perspective, values and belief
systems as a result of generational differences and are further complicated due to the age
differences between managers and employees. The assumption - that people of varying
ages will understand each other or have the same perspective and goals, is far from true. In
order to be successful, managers need to understand and value the diversity resulting from
generational differences, varying perspectives and differing goals.
Each generation brings different experiences, perspectives, expectations, work styles and
strengths to the workplace. Despite the perceived "generation gap" from differing views and
potential conflict, organisations have the opportunity to capitalise on the assets of each
generation to achieve competitive advantage.
Each brings unique assumptions to the job. As a result, events in the workplace are often
interpreted differently by individuals in different generations. What may seem like good news
to a Boomer might well be an unsettling and unwelcome development to a member of
Generation X. Things that members of Gen Y love often seem unappealing or frivolous to
those in older generations.
Like any other generation, Gen Z or the Linksters it brings its own mind-set into the
workforce. They are called Linksters because no other generation has ever been so linked to
each other and to the world through technology. Their struggles in the work environment are
tied to their youth and inexperience. They are complete digital natives and cannot function
without communicating through social media. They desire for change, stimulation, learning
and promotion that will conflict with traditional organisational hierarchies.
Leading and Engaging a Multigenerational Workforce
When employees join an organization, they're usually enthusiastic, committed, and ready to
be advocates for their new employer. Simply put, they're engaged.
But often, that first year on the job is their best. Gallup Organization research reveals that
the longer an employee stays with a company, the less engaged he or she becomes. And
that drop costs businesses big in lost profit and sales, and in lower customer satisfaction. In
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fact, Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees -- the least productive -- cost the
American economy up to US$350 billion per year in lost productivity.
Managers who harness this unprecedented opportunity for growth, development, and
collaboration, and build bridges between generations, will thrive in particular in today’s
turbulent economic landscape.
For managers who have four generations of employees sitting in a meeting or working on a
project, it can seem like each generation has its own worldviews, priorities, career models,
motives and values. They need to enhance their understanding of generational
characteristics and the impact of their own management practices on each of these groups,
so that they can leverage on the strengths of each generation. Taking full advantage of the
multi-generational workforce will enable employers to effectively attract and retain
employees, build teams, deal with change, and increase employee engagement.
Impact of leadership effectiveness on employee engagement and organisational
Organisations need to deliver service value and build good customer relationships in order to
generate sustainable results through their satisfied and loyal customers. Employees being
at the forefront of the service delivery chain hold the key to building this satisfied and loyal
customer base (See Figure 1).
Employees who are engaged and motivated are instrumental in delivering the service
experience for the client which will results in customer engagement. The level of employee
engagement is dependent on the “Organisational Climate” (sometimes known as Corporate
Climate), which here simply refers to “how employees feel about working in the
organisation/business unit/department/division.” Organisational climate is the process of
quantifying the “culture” of an organisation. It is a set of properties of the work environment,
perceived directly or indirectly by the employees, that is assumed to be a major force in
influencing employee behaviour and engagement.
We know that leaders create, transform and manage organisational cultures. The leader’s
values, beliefs and leadership styles will impact the organisation’s climate. We need “Level
5 Leaders” who demonstrate ontological humility and possess emotional mastery. They also
need to possess essential integrity in discharging their day to day role and responsibilities
towards engaging the employees.
In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins examines how a good company becomes an
exceptional company. The book introduces a new term to the leadership lexicon – Level 5
leadership. Level 5 refers to the highest level in a hierarchy of executive capabilities.
Leaders at the other four levels may be successful, but are unable to elevate companies
from mediocrity to sustained excellence.
Level 5 leadership challenges the assumption that transforming companies from good to
great requires larger-than-life-leaders. The leaders that came out on top in Collins' five-year
study were relatively unknown outside their industries. The findings appear to signal a shift
of emphasis away from the hero to the anti-hero.
According to Collins, humility is a key ingredient of Level 5 leadership. His simple formula is
Humility + Will = Level 5. "Level 5 leaders are a study in duality", notes Collins, "modest and
wilful, shy and fearless."
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Increasing generational diversity and technological change is causing a transformation in the
way employers must manage human resources. The homogenous human capital model of
the past simply will not work with such diverse cohorts in the workforce. It is time to throw out
the one-size-fits-all model of talent management and embrace a more flexible model.
The diversity in the workforce today may be a challenge to HR and business leaders.
However, they do provide an organisation with a positive force as they each bring varied
sets of skills and life experiences to the workplace. If managed properly, organisations can
definitely see improved productivity and employee engagement.
Managers who harness this unprecedented opportunity for growth, development, and
collaboration, and build bridges between generations, will thrive. For managers who have
four or five generations of employees sitting in a meeting or working on a project, it can
seem like each generation has its own worldviews, priorities, career models and motives.
Managers need to develop an understanding of generational characteristics and the impact
of their own management practices on these groups. They also need to leverage the
strengths of each generation. Taking full advantage of the multi-generational workforce will
enable employers to effectively attract and retain employees, build teams, deal with change,
and increase employee engagement.
Policies on CSR, Sabbatical
Rewards and flexibility
Culture, esprit de corps
Impact of Leadership on Employment and Customer Engagement
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Appendix I: About the Key Note Speaker and Master Facilitator/Coach
Professor Sattar Bawany is Senior Advisor of Eduquest International
Institutes as well as the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for
Executive Education (CEE). CEE is the Executive Development
Division of IPMA Asia Pacific. Prof Bawany is also concurrently the
Strategic Advisor & Member of International Professional Managers
Association (IPMA) Board of Trustees and Governing Council.
He is also the Managing Director as well as Master Executive Coach &
Facilitator with Executive Development Associates (EDA) Asia Pacific.
IPMA is the Affiliate Partner of EDA in Asia Pacific.
Prof Bawany is also the Co-Chair of the Human Capital Committee of the American
Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham Singapore). He is also a member of Frontier
Strategy Group’s Expert Advisory Network (EAN) for Human Capital and Talent
Management issues in Asia Pacific advising CEOs and CHROs of global and regional
He has over 25 years’ international business management experience, including 15 years in
executive coaching, group facilitation, and leadership development and training with global
management consulting firms. In addition to his business and consulting career, Prof
Bawany has over 10 years of concurrent academic experience as an Adjunct Professor
teaching senior executives international business strategies and human resource courses at
various leading universities. He is currently the Adjunct Professor of Strategy with the Paris
Graduate School of Management (PGSM).
He is a Key Note Speaker at international and regional Conferences, Workshops and
Seminars on the following themes: Talent Management; Executive Leadership Development,
Employee Engagement and Managing across Generational Gap, Strategic Human Resource
Management, and Talent Management & Succession Planning. He is an accomplished
Author with a Chapter on “Maximizing the Potential of Future Leader” in the Book “Coaching
in Asia the First Decade”. He has published articles on topics such as Talent Management,
Leadership Effectiveness, Strategic HR/OD, Career Management and Executive Coaching in
the “The Straits’ Times”, “Singapore Business Review”, “Today’s Manager” and “Human
Capital” magazine. He has also appeared regularly on MediaCorp’s Radio’s 93.8FM Live as
a studio guest.
He holds an Executive MBA and a Bachelor in Business Administration (Marketing). His
Doctoral Research is on ‘The Impact of Executive Coaching on the Personal & Professional
Development of Leaders”.
Prof Bawany is a Fellow of International Professional Managers Association (IPMA) and The
Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is a Professional Member of the Society of
Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development (CIPD). He is also a Practicing Member of the International Coaching
Federation (ICF) and International Association of Coaching (IAC).
He is very well regarded by his clients for his practical "how to" approach and for his ability to
communicate with his audiences and to make workplace learning a fun and pleasurable
experience. Married with 2 children, he believes strongly in work-life balance and is highly
dedicated and committed to achieving his goals.
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Appendix II: About CEE and Strategic Partners
The Centre for Executive Education (CEE) is the Executive
Development Division of International Professional Managers
Association (IPMA) in Asia Pacific. CEE design and implement
tailor-made learning and organisational development strategies
that greatly improve our client's performance, increase market value and enhance
We develop insight into what drives value creation and competitive advantage in our clients'
businesses. Then, we work closely with our clients to convert insight into concrete strategies
and tactics. The implementation of insight has high impact in the form of value created for
our clients. When we deliver impact repeatedly, we earn their trust and build lasting
relationships that serve as a platform for deeper insight and ever-greater impact.
Executive Coaching is one of CEE’s Best-Practice Solutions that delivers a one-on-one
growth and development opportunity and produces real business results in a short period of
time. CEE customizes coaching to meet the individual’s specific needs and matches the
leader with the most appropriate coach. CEE also strategically links the coaching goals to
the organization's business strategies. Sessions with the individual's manager or board of
directors are worked into the coaching arrangement to assure accountability to the
organization’s vision and organizational strategy.
For full listing of our much sought-after series of Executive Development Programs, visit:
www.ipma.com.sg/cee.php and/or http://ipma.co.uk/news.php?id=38
The International Professional Managers Association (IPMA) established in
1993 is an International Examining, Licensing and Regulatory Membership
Qualifying Professional Body formed for the purpose of providing practicing
Managers with the opportunity to participate and to be part of the process
of improving managerial performance and effectiveness in all areas of
business, industry and public administration.
Our primary objective, as an International examining, licensing and regulatory professional
body, is to improve the key skills required for effective management. Through our
examination and licensing qualifying scheme we strive to create awareness and
understanding of new technology and new techniques of management so that our qualified
managers have the necessary skills to improve their personal effectiveness for their
organisations and also to enable them to have a rewarding career in Management.
Eduquest International Institute is an affiliate partner of both CEE
and IPMA. Eduquest help every individual to become more proficient
and professional in carrying out the tasks assigned to them so as to
enhance their employability skills.
As a Centre for Human Capital Development, Eduquest capitalizes on the knowledge,
expertise and experiences of its professionals, consultants and practitioners from various
industries in-order to offer quality and effective training programmes. Eduquest is specialised
in delivering quality training programmes, conduct organisational and management
assessments, and training need analysis, while providing structured roadmaps for learners
and organisational needs.