Reshape a Generation… or Your Workplace

I was delivering a workshop to CEOs in 2010 and got into a heated argument with a participant over the future of talent in the workplace.

We got off to a rough start when I opened my talk the way I always did on this topic… “Do you want to reshape your workplace or an entire generation?”

We were in New Jersey. It was a feisty bunch. I was 26 years old delivering a workshop to 45-65 year old CEOs about young talent in the workplace and how they needed to be recruited, developed and retained if your goal was to have A-players.

So at this CEO talk in NJ… one participant in particular told me 3 minutes in, as I was delivering my opening remarks of a 3-hour workshop, that I was “full of shit” while I shared an overview of my data on where the future of talent in the workplace was headed. Throughout the talk a few CEOs backed me up, but most sided with her.

Here were the key points I shared that day in 2010 (I just pulled up my actual slides from that day to share my key points verbatim, not loosely as I recall them)….

  • Fit their lifestyle (not the other way around)
  • Provide a ton of development opportunities (not a job manual)
  • Give them a flexible work environment (not all about higher comp)
  • Provide regular personal & professional mentorship (not annual reviews)
  • Constantly reinforce positive behavior (don’t assume they know)

And here we go again in 2022… all of that above is still 100% true… most companies never modernized their workplace and got caught with their pants down during the pandemic…. they blamed pandemic when it was actually all their own fault for being behind the times… here are a few updates to the points above:

  • Employees have way more power now… and are well aware they posses it
  • “Flexible” is way looser than ever… and you have no choice but to oblige
  • Not reshaping your workplace used to cost you SOME A-players… now it costs you ALL of them
  • The workforce was 50/50 “younger”… now it is 65/35… they run the show, not the Boomers & Gen Xers

The pendulum won’t swing back and you can’t put the toothpaste back in the bottle… you need to redesign your workplace & how you treat talent… watch what happens to your top talent over the next 12 months if you don’t.

I shared my talk with hundreds of CEOs in 2010-2012 before I got bored repeating the same content and knowing 80% agreed with the CEO who thought I was full of it and only 20% were interested in modernizing their workplace. It is better now but it still blows my mind how many companies have the “show up and do your damn job, we aren’t here to babysit you” mentality. They are getting left in the dust and it is painfully obvious to their employees/customers/competitors who they are. People want to be treated like people… not robots.

So here we are again in 2022. I’ll ask the same question I’ve been asking for over 12 years now… “Do you want to reshape your workplace or an entire generation?”

Tom Healy
Tom Healy

Over his professional career, Tom has founded multiple successful companies, published three books, developed online education used on over 100 college campuses, delivered over 1,000 presentations and helped hundreds of organizations get better, faster.