Leading and inspiring a disrupted workforce.
CEO’s are pulled in multiple directions but surely their most important responsibility is to define and embody the company’s culture and vision? It is from this foundation that all the other objectives are fulfilled – strategy, employee engagement, customer success, stakeholder contentment, revenue, profit….
The CEO and Senior Leadership Team need to drive and model the culture. If the CEO abdicates responsibility for culture and vision to the HR and Talent Managers, they have missed the point, although HR undoubtedly play an important role in the delivery.
This has never been more true than in today’s economy. The behaviours and values of an organisation are much stronger influencers on an employee’s decision to work there, or a customer’s decision to buy from them. In a challenging and disrupted market where there’s huge competition for both talent and customers, it’s essential that the message a CEO communicates is compelling, far reaching and founded in reality.
The rise of the new worker ecosystem. When employees tended to commit to one business for a long period of time if not their whole career, it was easier to manage and elicit company loyalty and bond from employees and an established structure of promotions, bonuses and final salary pensions ensured this.
There is a new worker ecosystem emerging that consists of freelancers, contractors, remote workers, gig and crowd workers. Businesses, even SMEs are spread geographically. This has been in part driven by industry demands and enabled by technology but also reflects and creates the zeitgeist. Many people, even those in permanent roles are increasingly regarding themselves as providing a service to their employers rather than working for them – even those in permanent roles. They are demanding greater flexibility in how/where they work; more recognition for their contribution and their perspective of their relationship with managers has shifted away from the traditional hierarchy.
The CEO needs to communicate vision in a way that resonates with a group that have varying sense of connection and differing levels of interaction with the business.
Greater workforce diversity. The workforce is becoming more diverse and this creates new challenges for the CEO in creating a culture that resonates with all. Diversity of thought is key to a company’s success but makes constructing one effective culture more challenging.
An interesting example of this is the emergence of increased age diversity. A company may consist of up to four generations working side by side. Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials and Gen Z’s can find it difficult to appreciate and value the others’ motivations and actions. Generational stereotypes abound and whilst a workforce is made up of people not abstract categories, motivations and drivers across the generations do differ. An effective culture needs to embrace and inspire all those generations.
Culture won’t take root organically. In distributed and diverse organisations it takes a conscious effort to unite and has to be compelling for all. CEO’s need to build one that is flexible, adaptable and foster initiative to move at the pace required to stay competitive in today’s economy.
If the CEO gets it right, then they can reap the rewards of this new status quo. There are massive benefits to be drawn from the disrupted workforce – a diversity of people leads to diversity of thought; meeting employees desire for greater flexibility could lead to happier, more productive employees; a more varied ecosystem allows businesses to be more agile and can save costs while increasing productivity.
So it’s never been more crucial for CEOs to create a strong, value led culture in order to attract and retain the best talent as it is today, but never been more difficult to communicate that vision effectively.
- How do you build a culture that works?
- How do you do this for a workforce no longer comprised of full time employees in one place?
- How do you understand and motivate a diverse group of employees?
We will be discussing these key questions at our next leadership event :
The Changing Face of the Workforce: Creating Culture and Vision