Being a leader in the new age is and will be dramatically different from what we have been taught and been practicing as effective leaders. Effective isn’t enough anymore, the world is changing around us, and there will be less focus on formal employee and employer relationship. For this generation, it will certainly be about impact and being satisfied; therefore, what we need to do as leaders is to get the best out of our people, especially if they are not solely loyal to us. Employees will no longer exhibit blind loyalty. Instead, they focus on the ‘purpose’ of organisations and make conscious decisions about how and where they spend their time, depending on whether the purpose aligns with their personal goals or not.
Work is moving quickly, more and more individuals are opting for the flexibility to work at their own pace and time (also called gigs), become freelancers or work remotely. These changes, coupled with new technological advancements such as artificial intelligence (AI), leaders will need to be highly adaptable and pay attention to employee needs. New leaders will have to offer their employees guidance and value beyond the office that can be felt virtually and will impact the future of employees.
The new leader needs to be in service to their employee and adopt ‘service leadership’; a leadership style that prioritizes and recognizes employee growth and empowerment. Especially while guiding organisations through new transitions, it will be important for employees to feel heard and empowered. This puts extra emphasis on the HR professionals in the new world. We already know that the ‘one size fits all approach’ does not satisfy every individual’s needs so it may be the case that HR professionals will have to delve deeper into the lives of employees to create a more suitable working environment, even more competitive compensation packages and manage all challenges that may come with this.
The new decade will see even more dependence on online technologies such as data analytic tools, people and organizational management tools, AI, etc. this continued online movement will allow for personalized learning that enables forward thinking individuals to constantly improve themselves. Leaders must capitalize on this by offering employees access to these services. When employees feel that they are growing in a role, they are more likely to stay. They see a progression path and envision their professional self-actualization. This may boost loyalty, engagement and results. If leaders or company executives do not comply with the demands of the emerging workforce, they can only expect a high turn over of talent. The competitive talent market will dictate that the best talent will go to companies that give the most suitable offering.
It is extremely important for leaders to have social media proficiency in order to keep up to date, know and understand changing trends in employee engagement, and adapt to the dynamic labour market. They must take advantage of new technology to monitor data on both prospective and existing employees. This can help make more informed recruitment decisions. By doing adequate research and using AI to screen candidates, you can better hiring decisions and help grow the company by adding people who meet the role criteria.
In the past, leaders kept their personal life away from public- especially, from their employees’ domain. With the advent of social media, so much of a leaders’ personal life is exposed to the online world – which may include employees. Online applications such as Instagram and Twitter are avenues to express our personalities, social activities and of course professional achievements. This can be useful in bridging the gap between leaders and employees. In this new age, bringing the most of employees requires getting them to bring their whole selves to work. For that to happen there is the need to make them feel comfortable enough to do that. People are more than their job descriptions.
In conclusion, to stay relevant, the ‘new age’ leaders will need to be ahead of the curve. The shifting employee focus must affect the way leaders and HR professionals relate to them. HR professionals must also follow the same path, by being technologically forward thinking while keeping the emphasis on employees as human beings and not just employees. The world of work is moving so rapidly that simply being ‘up to date’ may become the new ‘out of date’.
By: Irene Asare
Global Business Leader
Founder CarvinClay People Development Ltd