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Caring about employees is in and it’s cool

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger
The young ones are flexing their power in the work place. Millennials are influencing work place culture whether it be women’s rights or tough action on climate change.
But it still no surprise to hear of  old schoolers at the top of organisation’s telling staff “ stop moaning” or to rubbish unconscious bias as ,” complete and utter crap” as the UK chair of KPMG did recently. This despite his organisation’s commitment to the living wage and other progressive employment practices like flexible working. Policies that have seen the organisation regularly feature in the lists of the best places to work.
 Whilst HR departments are encouraging senior management teams and boardrooms to confront unconscious bias through challenging and changing training and recruitment practices those running the organisation think of younger staff as, “ snowflakes” weak willed when they talk about their wellbeing or mental health issues. These leaders complain too many younger members of staff see themselves as victims and should , “stop moaning”.

Maybe every  generation thinks the younger generation have it easier than they did and should toughen up, get on with it , and stop moaning. It’s like grand parents telling their grand children how lucky they are because in their day…….Clearly if board members or senior managers express such views to staff then they can expect calls for their resignation. Which is what happened to the chair of KPMG who subsequently resigned. But for every senior manager or board member who makes inappropriate comments in public how many express similar views behind closed doors?

So why does the board adopt progressive employment and recruitment policies if they hold these views? Board members want to be good employers. Like members of their senior management team they believe that staff should be treated fairly and feel valued and if they are they are more likely to preform better and stay longer.

They are also aware that the workplace needs to recognise and reflect what’s happening in the wider world. It’s not just the younger generation who are concerned about women’s rights, Black Lives Matter or climate change. However they see no contradiction in being a good employer and thinking that younger staff are, “moaners”. In the same way that these staff recognise why the organisation they work in features in lists of the best places to work yet falls short of what they expect.

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