By Madhukar Govindaraju, Founder & CEO

Millennials and Gen Z are now the dominant generations in the workforce. 

With the Baby Boomer generation on their way out, Millennials and Gen Z represent more than half of the workforce. 

By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Gen Z is expected to constitute about a quarter of the global workforce by this year. 

Any new generation entering the workforce often prompts comparisons to the generations that came before. Predictions, often accurate and sometimes not, are made on how the generation would disrupt the workforce. 

Millennials, for example, have a different set of motivations to remain engaged at work. They and Gen Z have also been the generations most conversant with technology. Quite naturally, their being in the workforce prompted new forms of communication and a more pronounced shift towards technology.

While these two generations have operated on an ‘always-connected’ mode, they have redefined employee-employer relationships and are now moving into management positions. 

Contrary to the ‘lazy’ and entitled labels that have been assigned prematurely and unfairly to this demographic, research shows that millennials are a hardworking lot, with 73% of them working more than 40-hour work weeks. 26% globally work more than two jobs.   

Gen Z and Millennials have their foot on the gas when it comes to preparing for their career ultramarathon. We say ‘ultramarathon’ because the climate of constant change and disruption have become an indelible part of the business environment. And Millennials and Gen Z, much like long-distance runners, have their eyes on the horizon and are planning for ‘what’s next’. 

These generations are not motivated just by paychecks anymore. While the money is important, these two generations look for a shared purpose and an opportunity to grow and thrive. It becomes essential for organizations to first identify what inspires and motivates this talent to draw up strategies that ensure retention.

Read: Engaged Employees Are Driven by Shared Values and Vision

Coaching emerges as an influential tool to drive, motivate, and retain this workforce. It also ensures that the organization’s leadership pipeline has skilled, qualified, and well-adjusted individuals capable of leading the organization to success. However, run-of-the-mill coaching programs are unlikely to make the cut for this generation. 

Here are some coaching strategies to drive Millennials and Gen Z at work –

Develop strong interpersonal and highly cognitive social skills

Millennials and Gen Z have been the ‘always-connected’ generation with technology being omnipresent in their lives. While they bring an unprecedented level of technical skills to the table, it is hard to ignore their apprehensions on their ability to communicate with peers and form strong interpersonal relationships. 

Most of Gen Z, for example, acknowledge the importance of in-person communication while accepting their challenges with the same. Highly cognitive social skills such as critical thinking, strategic thinking, and problem-solving also need development.

In a business environment where almost 92% of HR leaders place great importance on emotional and social skills, it is only prudent to design coaching strategies that bridge this gap.

Develop Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is the knowledge specific to job roles, processes, customers, and other organizations’ subtleties such as culture. Passing down tacit knowledge is essential to enable leadership development and drive long-term success. Hence, coaching strategies for millennials and Gen Z need to focus on this heavily.

Contrary to the argument that a day-long training session might suffice here, building tacit knowledge is an instructive process that needs to focus on the technical aspect as well as on building and honing the power skills of the generation. It needs to ensure that along with the technical knowledge, they become more self-reliant, skilled, and thoughtful employees who are aligned with the organization’s goals. Such employees can improvise when things are tough and are quick to identify improvement opportunities.

As Millennials move into managerial roles, it becomes essential to develop this vocabulary to help them pass on tacit knowledge with skill and positively impact the organization.

Read: How Employees with Power Skills Give Companies A Competitive Advantage

Keep it contextual

The generational machinations of Millennials and Gen Z lend them to be more questioning in nature. They also are driven by context and relevance. They are highly invested in learning opportunities and want ‘careers’ as opposed to ‘jobs’. 

Hence, organizations have to provide them with these learning opportunities as well as provide them with concrete and directed avenues of leadership development.

Coaching plays a vital role here. However, organizations need to build focused and outcome-driven coaching conversations by making them relevant and contextual to their needs. Tests such as Behavioral Assessment tests or 16 Personality Factor tests based on self-evaluation provide context and relevance this generation demands. It also helps them become invested in learning opportunities since these are based on quantified data. 

Leveraging AI-enabled coaching platforms also aid the coaching process by ensuring the right coach- coached (Jedi) pairing. These platforms provide personalized, contextual AI bot nurture touch points to address each individual’s skill gap and unique learning process.

Actionable insights from analytics on skill development, performance, employee engagement, and more can be further used to improve the quality of the coaching conversations and keep these generations invested in their growth story.

Reskilling and upskilling are incomplete without coaching 

According to the Future of Jobs report, more than ‘a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will comprise of skills that are not yet considered crucial for the job today. This, and many such other reports, show the changing skill requirements. And yes, Millennials and Gen Z also fall in this category. 

As a response to this challenge, organizations have accelerated this reskilling and upskilling initiatives. However, these initiatives for the Millennial and Gen Z demographic need to account for the technical upskilling as well as the power/soft skill upskilling. Coaching is the only way to ensure that technical upgrades are complemented with behavioral skill upgrades to make sure that the workforce is prepared to fill their new roles and also become capable leaders of tomorrow. 

Read: Your Reskilling Initiatives Cannot be Successful without Strong Mentoring Programs

Keeping Millennials and Gen Z engaged is hard work for organizations, especially with the rise of the gig economy and the subsequent rise of the digital nomads. The gig economy is characterized by freelance work and short-term contracts as opposed to permanent job roles. ‘Collaborative economy’, ‘sharing economy’, or ‘crowdsourcing’ are some of the synonyms that are fast finding their way into the vocabulary of these two demographics. 

However, while the gig economy is lucrative, it is also ambiguous. Since this economy is growing stronger, organizations have to develop strategies to keep the Millennials and Gen Z workforce away from this lure. 

Recent research from Deloitte shows that job loyalty from this demographic has risen as businesses address employee needs from ‘from diversity and inclusion to sustainability and reskilling.’ 

To keep this workforce engaged and invested, organizations have to appeal to their values, build a sense of shared purpose, show investment in their career growth and have concrete mechanisms in place to help them achieve professional success. These are the primary ways to retain and keep this workforce engaged, and organizations can attain this by having robust coaching strategies in place. 

Connect with our experts to evaluate how you can leverage AI-driven, highly contextual coaching programs to keep the Millennial and Gen Z workforce engaged and invested at work. 

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Remote working is no longer the ‘new’ normal. It is just normal now. 

Hallway conversations, informal lunches, and break sessions, pop-in status reports are on hold for an indefinite time. COVID-19 has ushered us firmly into the age of remote working, where even the most traditional organizations had to adopt this trend.  

With the rules of engagement witnessing an overhaul, HR teams, and organization leaders are grappling with the challenge of keeping these newly remote teams engaged – especially since the individuals making up these teams have their own culture and personality. 

There has been a dramatic shift in the manner in which organizations are operating today, making engagement a difficult game to win. While these unprecedented times continue to impact the workplace and the workforce, organizations have to think of creative ways to make this distanced working environment more engaging so that productivity and employee happiness are not at opposing ends. 

Coaching can become a venerable tool in the HR and leadership arsenal to keep employees engaged. Here is a look at why this is so.

Maximize talent despite the distance 

Remote working is different and demands a different way of leading. Organizations thus have to look at how to help their employees navigate this new normal by guiding them on maintaining a work-life balance while delivering maximum productivity. 

Coaching them to adopt a flexible schedule, develop a flexible mindset, and maintain self-discipline in the absence of constant monitoring are important to drive productivity. Helping them become more goal-oriented, detail-driven with elevated accountability and ownership levels also drive productivity and engagement. By coaching effective prioritization skills and helping employees develop a ‘can-do’ attitude, organizations can keep employees effectively engaged while maximizing the talent despite the distance. 

Guide for growth 

Since millennials are the primary demographic in most organizations, it is imperative to remember that growth is a key engagement driver for these employees. In this remote working environment, it is natural for employees to be concerned about their growth within the organization.

Apart from identifying and providing coaching to meet the employees’ technical skill requirements, organizations also have to identify the power skills gaps by using data from assessments such as 16 Personality factor Tests and Behavioral Skills assessments. Coaching employees on these skills will tangibly impact their professional career and help them become high-potential employees. It helps in driving employee engagement by demonstrating investment and interest in employee growth. 

Drive leadership development 

Remote working or not, organizations have to work continuously to drive leadership development in the workplace to keep employees engaged. Whether it is to identify next-generation leaders or identify high-potential employees, a focus on leadership development also helps in keeping employees engaged, especially in the world of remote work. 

Coaching can play a significant role as an enabler of engagement by helping remote employees understand how to navigate complex relationships, establish greater credibility, cultivate strategic thinking, and develop the capacity to exert influence on decision-making.

In the absence of physical interactions, leadership development coaching guides employees on building and leveraging strategic networks and drive authentic engagement needed to proceed in their careers. 

Read: Critical Leadership Skills that High-Potential Women Leaders Should Be Groomed On

Bridge the skills gap 

Despite the world of work going remote, organizations cannot put a pause on their upskilling and reskilling initiatives. However, while technical training programs help in closing the skills gaps, organizations also have to focus on bridging the power skills gap. Skills like communication, collaboration and influence, problem-solving, innovation and execution, strategic thinking, and the like are essential to driving productivity and engagement. 

Developing a growth mindset is also a prized skill that organizations are looking for to increase the employees’ mental tenacity, especially as the world of work becomes increasingly complex and competitive.

Read: What Can Organizations Do to Develop an Entrepreneurial Growth Mindset Amongst Employees?

Coaching plays a big role in navigating the hard skills and power skills conundrum. Owing to its continuous nature, coaching outcomes drive behavioral change, which helps employees understand the organization’s investment in their growth story. This then becomes a powerful driver of engagement since enablement here drives engagement. 

Empower managers to drive successful teams 

The time to walk the ‘lead by example’ talk is now. In this new world of remote working, the eyes of the employees are fixed on managers and leaders. Managers need to be coached on how to identify the individual talents of individual team members. They also have to discover how to interact with and guide less-experienced employees best through challenging work situations and help them progress along their career paths. Many managers are also leading remote teams for the first time and need coaching on how to best guide their teams for success. 

The absence of physical interactions also means that managers and leaders now have to become clearer in their communication skills and build skills to recognize effort, anticipate team reactions, assess team confidence, appreciate employees, and provide effective feedback. Along with this, managers also have to coach their teams for success and learn how to develop their emotional intelligence to keep team motivation and engagement high. 

Read: How Has the Role of Leadership Changed with COVID-19?

Managers can rely on effective coaching to help them navigate the new challenges and implement the behavioral changes to drive highly successful teams. 

The role of coaching is becoming increasingly important to keep employees happy, engaged, and productive in these challenging times. 

Running and working in remote teams requires specific skillsets and new attitudes so that productivity and engagement levels remain consistently high. It is perhaps time to look towards AI-powered technology and rich analytics to drive highly relevant and contextual coaching programs and help employees deliver their best performance and remain engaged. Consistently. 

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

The global market today is moving fast towards workforce transformation, which is leading to the rise of new job roles and emerging professions. As we witness the rise in demand for specialized roles, we also see certain jobs becoming redundant. 

Organizations are moving fast to adapt to this new normal and are accelerating their upskilling and reskilling initiatives, especially in the wake of technological advancements. However, along with increasing their technical skills, organizations also have to focus on developing their managers to help them lead these teams. And to lead these teams, managers need to power up their power skills. 

Here’s a look at three of the most in-demand power skills that managers need to imbibe:. 

Growth Mindset 

Attitudes decide outcomes. This is perhaps one of the key reasons for the focus on developing positive attitudes. In a climate that is characterized by constant change, managers have to develop a positive attitude towards change, and all the consequent developments change brings. 

For this, it is essential to develop a ‘growth mindset’- a mindset that is a characteristic of all successful entrepreneurs. A growth mindset believes that intelligence can be developed. Managers with this mindset embrace challenges, are more persistent despite obstacles, see effort as the road to develop mastery, embrace criticism as an opportunity to learning, and have the capability to be inspired by others. 

Managers with this mindset are more committed towards themselves and the development of their team. They are inspired to address challenges and help their team members clear roadblocks that impede success. They are more proactive with their feedback and are focused on creating more opportunities for improvement for their team. This mindset needs empathy – to understand challenges and not perceive them as weaknesses. Consequently, they emerge as better leaders owing to their approach that directs ‘every problem has a solution’. 

Critical Thinking 

Given today’s competitive and challenging business landscape, managers have to focus on developing their critical thinking capabilities. Critical thinking is the capability to look at and then analyze a concept with objectivity. It involves considering all the different perspectives and the facts at hand required to reach positive outcomes. It demands acknowledging all biases and having the ability to look past them. It also mandates pushing the envelope further to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for pressing problems and having the objectivity to understand the impact of their decisions. 

Critical thinking essentially employs the use of cognitive skills and strategies to improve the probability of the desired outcome. Because of this, critical thinking is reasoned, purposeful, and goal oriented. Owing to its nature, critical thinking gives managers the capability to deal with contradictions and challenges in a reasoned and productive manner, especially since it is a reflective process and constantly evaluates the thinking process itself. Capabilities of inference, assumption recognition, deduction, interpretation, and argument evaluation form the crux of the composite of attitudes, skills, and knowledge that critical thinking needs. 

Critical thinking helps in bringing creative solutions to challenges and helps businesses increase their innovative capacities. Since managers are role models for their team members, how they analyze and solve problems influences their team members. It also helps in making their team members become more resolute about problem-solving and helps them become more solution-driven.

Collaboration 

The importance of collaboration in today’s work environment cannot be overemphasized. With global teams, adoption of remote working, and the rise of multi-skilled teams demands workplaces to become more collaborative. It is the managers who can set the tone for collaborative efforts and efficiently take their organization to collaborative utopia. 

Collaboration is all about coordinated effort to meet the needs of all those involved, to the greatest extent possible, in order to help them achieve a common goal. And managers are the ones who lead the path to collaboration. 

Creating and fostering a collaborative mindset in a team can be challenging. It is because collaboration involves the complexity of dealing with human mindsets. Thus, managers have to develop the capacity to motivate their team members to work towards a shared goal. It is essential for them to convey and provide the right incentives and motivations to the team in a personalized manner. 

To build a collaborative team, managers have to invest themselves in building an environment of trust in all working relationships. It involves identifying possible bottlenecks to collaboration, which might also include identifying the professional development needs of the individual. It also involves having robust communication skills to convey the right message between geographically dispersed team members and the collaborative effort. 

It is redundant to say that organizations globally are existing in an increasingly complex and constantly shifting ocean of change. Thus, even in the age of digital transformation, even the most high-tech companies are looking for managers with power skills. However, to develop these power skills, managers have to look beyond day-long traditional training programs. Power skills are behavioral skills. And making any behavioral change takes time and constant learning. Looking towards a robust employee engagement platform is key to develop and hone these skills and charter a path to personal and organizational success. Try NumlyEngage™ today!

Upcoming Webinars - Engaging and Up-Skilling Your Employees From a Distance

3rd and 17th December, 2020