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Employee Engagement 2011 Expectations


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Lindsay Hutter offers advice on employee engagement and how to lead a multi-generational workplace.

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Employee Engagement 2011 Expectations

  2. 2. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT | 201 EXPECTATIONS 1Lindsay HutterUS Director, Change & Internal Communicationslindsay.hutter@hillandknowlton.com201 NOW TRENDING 1: Smart organizations will look beyond tweaks and seize theEmployer/employee relationships will continue to undergo moment as one to reinvent their employee engagement model tochallenge and change like never before. Economic pressures are address new workplace and societal realities. A starting place isnot abating, and so will continue to put some very difficult the way companies inform and engage employees about thequestions in front of companies about their overall cost models need for change. Fresh approaches to inviting employees toand their labor costs. contribute to the design as well as the execution of change will create a sustainable employer/employee relationship model for aAt the same time businesses are facing these pressures, a growing more challenged economy, which seems to be what the futurepercentage of their workforce—namely, the millennials—will holds. Old approaches of cutting budgets and waiting for thecontinue to be less content than ever to accept salary freezes and economy to turn will only entrench an old way of employeebenefits reductions and be more expectant of career advance- engagement into company cultures and leave businessesments far more quickly than their parents and grandparents. As ill-prepared for the future and uninspiring for their employees.the third-generation successors to the “sacrifice for country andcompany” servicemen and servicewomen of WWII, millennials will It’s also vital that companies address millennials’ growing desirecontinue to demonstrate an uninhibited pursuit of creating their for transparency. Companies will need to be more open aboutown career ladders and seek to impose an entirely new set of change to avoid delivering an unintended invitation to theirexpectations on today’s employers. In addition, the millennials’ younger workers to seek out the truth they feel is missing inlarge appetite for transparency—more than double the need of company messaging.other generations—will continue to grow. In the race for young talent and especially young talent that’s less expensive than “old talent,” companies will have to be carefulCORPORATE IMPLICATIONS not to be too solicitous of millennials nor too quick to lose theThe most fundamental implication of these trends is that a wisdom of older talent. Multiple generations in the workplace areone-size-fits-all model cannot carry the weight of responding challenging to manage and lead. But for companies that taketo markedly different generations in the workplace. What that time to think of this diversity as a symphony and lead thesemeans practically is that organizations will need to address their generations like a maestro who recognizes each instrument’s gifts,employees the same way they do their customers—recognizing the rewards will make work more fascinating and the company’sthat there are different needs, career desires and motivators performance more successful.across their employee populations and thoughtfully and collab-oratively evolving to a model that serves the company’s missionand talent needs. Lindsay Hutter, based in Washington, DC, is the senior strategist and relationship manager for H&K’s change and internal communications practice.