A friend’s son was a Computer Engineering major on scholarship when he interned at an aerospace company during the summer of his junior year. He is incredibly brilliant and had been building computers since he was a child. On his third day interning he looked at the tasks he had been assigned and proceeded to write a program to take his 8-hour job to a 15-20 minute program. Yes, this is a true story.
What was the reaction of his middle manager?
A.) He knew the mantra of upper management was innovation and was thrilled to have this student on his team.
B.) Saw that he could make a huge competitive impact in the company by bringing this discovery forward.
C.) Took the credit for himself.
D.) Felt threatened that the student figured out what he had not.
E.) Saw his job and his entire department’s jobs being eliminated.
F.) Said, “Son that is not how we do it around here. You need to do the job the way I explained it to you.”
Unfortunately, for the future of this large organization the answers were D, E and F.
It would seem obvious that the answers should be A and B. However, the later three are much more likely to happen in an organization if people are concerned with their personal survival vs. that of the organization. But that is the subject of a different blog.
Today, I want to concentrate on the student’s reaction to this event. He declared that he would never work for an organization that would ignore his contributions. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur, creating, developing and selling apps to large tech companies.
Would the CEO of that aerospace company love to have him on the payroll? I am pretty sure we all know the answer to that question. How can we insure that the best and brightest talent finds its way to your organization and stays there?
According to McKinsey Global Institute, by 2020, in the United States and other developed economies in North America and Europe, companies will require 16 to 18 million (1.5 million in the U.S.) more college-educated workers than will be available.
- Six years until a talent war.
- How will you get the best and brightest to your organization?
Entrepreneurism is growing. Millennials are attracted to it because they don’t like the cultural climate of the organizations where they should be fortunate to find employment. Workers are changing, technology has enabled work to look different, but the culture of many organizations is not changing at the same rate of speed.
If your workforce is mostly Boomers and Gen X, don’t think you are safe from the entrepreneurial “competition”. Millennials currently comprise only 12% of entrepreneurs. Boomer entrepreneurship is the fastest growing generation of entrepreneurs, up 9.1% since 1996 and they total 30% of all entrepreneurs. Shockingly, Gen X (the smallest percent of the workforce) has the largest percentage at a whopping 48%. http://info.mbopartners.com/rs/mbo/images/MBO_Boomer_Report_Final.pdf
My passion is to help organizations recruit, retain and develop talent. We need the small population of Gen X and this massive generation of Millennials to take the reins from the Boomer leaders. Don’t let any generation of your talent leave because your culture (aka the middle of your organization and your processes) fails to recognize innovation in its midst.