Attracting and Keeping Younger Workers
THE TOP-DOWN MANAGEMENT STRATEGY that wa-ter
30 SOURCE summer 2015
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By Tarrah Henrie
utilities have traditionally used can feel stifling and old
school to younger workers. The following are a few per-sonnel
strategies to help attract and retain young professionals.
Conventional thinking assumes adult mental development stops
sometime in the mid-twenties or on completion of formal schooling.
Developmental researchers have demonstrated, however, that adults
continue to progress at varying rates through predictable stages of
mental development in which we “make sense” of our world in ever
more complex and inclusive ways. The question for managers is wheth-er
an employee’s level of development is appropriate to the task at hand
or situations he or she is likely to be called upon to deal with. Key is to
give employees developmental opportunities such as leading projects
and rotating through work groups other than their own to inspire them
to reach beyond their past experience and evolve into leaders who can
navigate difficult challenges and craft creative solutions.
Younger members of our workforce are very comfortable with col-lective
leadership, which relies on collaboration between functional
groups. More effective solutions are arrived at through identifying and
addressing the nuances of a problem, which in turn allows the team
to develop a multi-faceted approach. Collective decision-making also
increases ownership of the proposed solution among team members,
and the more advocates there are for a proposed solution, the more
successful its implementation will be.
In 360 Degree Performance Management, rather than being evalu-ated
and rated only by their direct supervisor, employees are subject
to evaluation by their internal corporate customers, producing a more
comprehensive performance evaluation and increasing the service pro-vided
to other groups employees work with.
In the Performance Snapshot, an employee’s direct supervisor or
project lead conducts the evaluation. Team members are evaluated at
the end of a project, or quarterly for longer projects. In either case, indi-viduals
are rated according to four questions. What makes this process
different from conventional performance evaluation is that the evalu-ation
is described in terms of what action the evaluator might take in
regard to the employee if he or she were called on to do so.
The four questions include:
1) Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my
money, I would award this person the highest possible compen-sation
increase and a bonus. Five-point scale from “strongly agree”
to “strongly disagree.”
2) Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always
want him or her on my team. Same five-point scale.
3) This person is at risk for low performance. Yes or no.
4) This person is ready for promotion today. Yes or no.
For more on new trends in employee management, see Petrie, N.,
2014, “Future Trends in Leadership Development,” white paper, Cen-ter
for Creative Leadership, http://www.ccl.org/Leadership/pdf/research/
futureTrends.pdf and M. Buckingham and A. Goodall, “Reinventing
Performance Management,” Harvard Business Review, April 2015. S
Tarrah Henrie is a Water Process Scientist with Corona
Environmental Consulting. She received the 2014 CA-NV
AWWA Chair’s award for her work on the Section’s Chro-mium
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