Hyping generational differences is unhelpful

5 November 2018

I’m starting to feel sorry for the so-called ‘Millennial’ generation. For years, they’ve been surveyed, sorted and categorised into a cohort with distinctly unappealing characteristics: the ‘Me’ generation, ‘snowflakes’, self-absorbed, restless, entitled, and needy.

Now they’re going to suffer the indignity of being overtaken by a new ‘generation’: Gen Z, the digital natives, who are attracting breathlessly enthusiastic terms like ‘Generation We’, creative, self-aware, sharing, and caring. They’re so very different from the Millennials – apart from the fact that they spend loads of time on their smartphones and social media!

The idea that each ‘generation’ is uniquely different is hype. Continue reading

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If you think you’re doing a good job measuring inclusion, think again

24 Oct 2018 This article is the first in a series that Rebekah Steele and I are posting on LinkedIn, focused on how organisations can do a better job of inclusion.

By Alison Maitland and Rebekah Steele

ARE your inclusion measures helping you achieve your critical business goals? Or are blind spots obscuring the path to better results?

Companies need to address the whole of inclusion — feelings, actions, and organisational factors – to know what they need to do differently to face the business challenges ahead. Consider this case at a multinational conglomerate.

Senior managers agreed that Devon (name changed to protect identity) was a strong performer, regularly meeting or exceeding objectives. At the annual meeting to assess high-performing employees’ potential to grow, there was no dissent on that point. One executive, however, noted that Devon lacked commitment and was therefore not promotion material.  Continue reading

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Telling your career story

7 Oct 2018

What is your career story? What pivotal events, opportunities and setbacks have shaped your professional life? What are the values and strengths that motivate you and determine the choices you make?

If these questions are hard to answer, you are not alone. Many people enjoy their job, as far as it goes, but reach a point where they feel ‘stuck’ career-wise. They sense they could be doing something more meaningful, but they are not sure what that ‘something’ could be. Continue reading

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Will UK employers have to advertise jobs as flexible?

4 Oct 2018

It’s National Work Life Week in the UK, and with it comes news that the government is considering steps to increase flexible working.  As part of a package of measures,  Business Secretary Greg Clark said the  government ‘will consider creating a duty for employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly, and make that clear when advertising’.

That’s a lot of ‘considering’, but hopefully it’s a positive sign. Many employers still resist advertising roles as flexible. This is despite a large body of evidence of the business benefits of new ways of working, which we set out in our book Future Work. It often comes down to fear – especially fear of ‘opening the floodgates’ – and we provide  guidance for managers and businesses on breaking through that fear barrier. Continue reading

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How to have better conversations at work

25 Sept 2018

What we say and how we say it affects the culture at work. I recently went to collect an order at a furnishing store and the staff could not find it. When the manager came over to apologise, he said: ‘I don’t know what’s happened. Maybe one of my staff has done something they shouldn’t, and I need to slap them.’

I don’t think he meant it literally, but the image of management by ‘slapping’ was enough to tell me why the store seemed an unhappy and inefficient place. Delivering a verbal slap would be sure to shut off the recipient’s cooperation. It would send their brain into ‘fight, flight, freeze or appease’ mode, and the willingness to learn and do the job better next time would be lost.  Continue reading

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What’s needed for leadership in the new world of work?

25 July 2018

The very notion of leadership is shifting. Where once leaders behaved as individualistic ‘heroes on the rock’, none can now pretend to do it all alone. The pace of change and the complexity of global challenges require leaders at every level of society. The democratisation of work in the digital age also means that the young can jump into leadership without serving years in an organisation.

What qualities, then, make for effective leaders in this new world of work? Here I focus on four that are interdependent, and increasingly important: inclusiveness; openness; self-knowledge; and inspiring communication. Continue reading

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Busting myths about gender and confidence

13 May 2018

Women are often given the message that, if only they were more assertive and confident, they would be able to grab those leadership roles more easily. But, as I explain in this column, new research shows that encouraging women to mimic alpha male behaviour is not the way to propel them into top jobs, and that organisations need to adopt a different approach.

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Don’t take women’s rights for granted

18 March 2018

A century after the start of women’s suffrage in Britain, we still cannot take women’s hard-won rights for granted. I explain why, and what the implications are, in this column.

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Seven ways to change what ‘power’ looks like

26 January 2018

What can we do to change how ‘power’ is perceived? The question is made even more urgent in the face of  widespread accusations of abuse by men in positions of power – the latest being the repugnant antics revealed by the FT at the men-only Presidents Club charity dinner in London. These follow a spate of revelations about abusive behaviour from Hollywood to the Houses of Parliament.

Here’s my column on   Seven ideas to change how power looks

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Gender and the future of work

14 Nov 2017 As recent events have highlighted, the gender divide at work is a continuing concern, and one that holds back economic progress. Does the future of work signal positive change? Will digital transformation narrow the gender gap in pay, the representation of women in key economic sectors, and women’s access to leadership roles, or could it have the opposite effect? I explore the potential on either side in this column, first published by IWE, and look at what measures should be taken.

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