Harnessing the Potential of Today’s Multi Generational Workforce in Singapore - SIM Today Manager Issue 2 2013


Published on

Published in: Business, Career
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Harnessing the Potential of Today’s Multi Generational Workforce in Singapore - SIM Today Manager Issue 2 2013

  1. 1. Issue 2 2013 • $8 Today’s Multi-Generational Workforce Can They Work Together? The Owen Perspective View from the Top Fast Expanding Markets Looking at Global Markets Maximising Human Capital
  2. 2. 16 Harnessing the Potential of Today’s Multi- Generational Workforce in Singapore 6 Year of the Global Small- and Medium- Enterprise 32 Fast-Expanding Markets: A New Way to Look at the Global Markets 50Understanding the Ageing Consumer From the Editors’ iii Desk Customer Service 4 Self-Servicing Customer Service Human Resource Has Singapore’s 2013 8 Budget Addressed Rising Costs and Manpower Crunches? How Middle Managers 12 Can Become Leaders of the Future Features Farming in Singapore: 22 A Diamond in the Rough Business Making Sense of the 26 New MAS Car Loan Restrictions Unethical Cost Saving 28 Measures in the F&B Industry Innovative Fan 30 Company Excites Customers Management Aspirations Ingredients That 37 Make a Good Leader The Owen Perspective View From the Top 41 Management Viewpoints of a 44 Leader: Mr Daniel Tan Woman Leader 48 in a Man’s Industry Marketing Blurring the 53 Boundaries Between Offline and Online for Businesses Communications Communicate 56 Clearly Across Cultures IT Update What is Business 63 Class Productivity? Treatments for Big 68 Data in Healthcare Future of Human– 70 Computer Interaction Reviews Products 72 Good Reads 74 SPOTLIGHT 60 How Leaders Can Drive Innovation Success COVER STORY Scan to Visit Our New Portal! iISSUE 2 2013
  3. 3. by Professor Sattar Bawany COVER STORY 16 ISSUE 2 2013
  4. 4. SS In today’s struggling global economy, it is im- portant for organisations to leverage the know- ledge, 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. C hanges in the demographic characteristics of Singapore’s workforce deserve more attention from academics, employers, employees, and policy-makers. Today, many organisations have four generations working side-by-side in the workplace. According to Kupperschmidt3 , a generation of employ- ees consists of individuals born approximately within the same time span of two decades each. He explains that a generation is an: “…identifiable group that shares birth, years, age, location, and significant life events at 17ISSUE 2 2013
  5. 5. Table 1: The multi-generational workforce Generation Years Born Work Perspectives Traditionalists 1922–1945 Company loyalty: Believe in working for the same company their entire career. Baby Boomers 1946–1964 Live to work: Believe in putting in face time at the office. Women enter the workforce in large numbers. Generation Xers 1965–1980 Work to live: Believe that work should not define their lives. Dual- earner couples become the norm. Generation Yers 1981–1994 Work my way: Devoted to their own careers, not to their companies. Desire meaningful work. Generation Zers 1995–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 organisational hierarchies. agers is: “Do we want our legacy to be of mentoring and empowering the next generations, or of fighting them tooth and nail?” Organisations that embrace gene- rational 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 important for organisa- critical developmental stages”. Others believe that when individuals from the same generation share similar his- torical, economic, and social experiences, they will also have similar work values, attitudes, and behaviours4 . The business world is progressively becoming more global. Services and products offered by businesses are also becoming more focused and targeted at specific demographic segments. Many organisations today have worldwide customers who demand excellent services and products that meet up their diverse needs, expecta- tions, and priorities. Simultaneously, the composition of the global workforce is also changing significantly. 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 Baby Boomers, born 1946 to 1964, women and ethnic groups began entering the workforce in increasing numbers. They brought different needs and perspectives to the work- place. As the Generation Xers entered the workforce, they increased job hopping in an effort to increase their income and 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, eight to five workdays—did not radically change. Now, the emergence of the digital-savvy Generation 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 hours2 . The Fifth Generation Employers must be prepared for a new breed of em- ployee which is poised to enter the workforce. A whole generation of them, known as Generation Z, are highly connected individuals who have grown up with high- speed Internet, smartphones, and online shopping. Born from the mid-1990s onwards, they will enter the work- force in the next five years. This is a generation that has never known a life without superfast communication and unlimited access to media technologies. The five generations and their birth years are depicted in Table 1. Challenges in Managing a Multi-Generational 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 man- 18 ISSUE 2 2013
  6. 6. tions to 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. Firms struggle with the challenge of effectively mana- ging a more diverse workforce. These challenges of- ten relate to variation in perspective, values, and belief systems as a result of generational and 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 untrue. In order to be successful, managers need to understand and va- lue diversity that results from generational differences, varying perspectives, and differing goals. Each generation brings different experiences, perspec- tives, 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 Baby Boomer might be an unsett- ling and unwelcome development to a member of Gene- ration X. Things that members of Generation Y love of- ten seem unappealing to those in older generations. Like any other generation, Generation Z brings its own mindset into the workforce. They are also called Linksters because no other generation has ever been so linked to each other and to the world through techno- logy. Their struggles in the work environment are tied to their youth and inexperience. They are complete dig- ital natives and cannot function without communicating through social media. Their desire for change, stimula- tion, learning, and promotion often conflicts with tradi- tional organisational hierarchies. Leading and Engaging a Multi-Generational Workforce When employees join an organisation, they are usually enthusiastic, committed, and ready to be advocates for their new employer because they are engaged. But often, that first year on the job is their best. Re- search from Gallup Incorporation reveals that the long- er an employee stays with a company, the less engaged he or she becomes. This causes businesses to lose out on profit and sales, and it lowers customer satisfaction. Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees 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 can build bridges between generations and will thrive in today’s turbulent economic landscape. For managers who have four generations of employees working on a project, it can seem like each generation has its own worldviews, priorities, career models, mo- tives, and values. They need to enhance their under- standing of generational characteristics and the impact of their own management practices on each of these groups. By doing so, they can leverage on the strengths of each generation. Taking full advantage of the multi- generational workforce will enable employers to effec- tively attract and retain employees, build teams, deal with change, and increase employee engagement. Impact of Leadership Effectiveness on Employee Engagement and Organisational Success Organisations need to deliver service value and build good customer relationships in order to generate sus- tainable results through their loyal customers. In Figure 1, we can see that employees at the forefront of the ser- vice delivery chain hold the key to building this loyal customer base1 . Employees who are engaged and motivated are instru- mental in delivering the service experience for clients which results in customer engagement. The level of employee engagement depends on the organisational climate, which refers to how employees feel about work- ing in the organisation. It is the process of quantifying the culture of an organisation. We know that leaders create, transform, and manage or- ganisational cultures. The leader’s values, beliefs, and leadership styles will impact the organisation’s climate. We need “Level 5 Leaders” who demonstrate ontologi- cal 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, Mr Jim Collins examines how a good company becomes an exceptional company. The book introduces a new term to the leadership lexi- con—Level 5 leadership. It refers to the highest level in a hierarchy of executive capabilities. Leaders at the other 19ISSUE 2 2013
  7. 7. References 1 Bawany, S (2011). Ways to Achieve Organisational Success: Role of Leaders in Engaging the Multi-Generational Workforce published by Singapore Business Review, 1 November 2011. 2 Bawany, S (2013). Unlocking the Benefits of a Multi-Generational workforce in Singapore published by Singapore Business Review, 24 January 2013. 3 Kupperschmidt BR (2000). Multigenerational employees: strategies for effective management. Health Care Manager. 19 (1): 65-76. 4 Smola KW, Sutton CD (2002). Generational differences: Revisiting generational work values for the new millennium. Journal of Organizational Behaviour. 23 (4): 363-82. 5 Tay A (2011). Managing generational diversity at the workplace: expectations and perceptions of different generations of employees. African Journal of Business Management Vol. 5(2), pp. 249-255, 18 January, 2011 6 Zemke R, Raines C, Filipczak B (2000). Generations at work: Managing the clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers and Nexters in your workplace (2nd Ed). American Management Association, New York, NY. Professor Sattar Bawany is the chief executive officer of The Centre for Executive Education. He is also con- currently the strategic advisor and member of International Profess- ional Managers Association Board of Trustees and Governing Council and is the co-chair of the Human Capital Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. Figure 1: Impact of Leadership on Employment and Cust- omer Engagement1 four levels may be successful, but are unable to elevate companies from mediocrity to sustained excellence. Level 5 leadership challenges the assumption that trans- forming companies from good to great requires larger- than-life-leaders. The leaders that came out on top in Mr 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 Mr Collins, humility is a key ingredient of Level 5 leadership. His simple formula is Humility + Will = Level 5. He explains: “Level 5 leaders are a study in duality. They are modest, wilful, shy, and fearless.” Managers who build bridges between generations and harness this unprecedented opportunity for growth, de- velopment, and collaboration will thrive. Although it may seem like a monumental task for management to ensure that employees understand and accept the idio- syncrasies of each multi-generational group, it is not impossible. Management must be the first to acknow- ledge and accept the unique characteristics and expecta- tions of employees from different generational groups. Management should also ensure that individuals from different generations perceive each other more posi- tively to avoid any intergenerational disharmony. The sooner employees from all the existing generational groups learn to respect and accept one another the easi- er it will be for them to welcome Generation Z employ- ees to the new workforce after the year 20205 . 20 ISSUE 2 2013