How prepared are you for the changing face of the workplace?

With an ageing population and increased longevity, it will be increasingly common to see workers over 70 of age at the workplace. A multi-generation workplace will become a norm and this will present new challenges to the ecosystem at work.

According to Bob Buford, social entrepreneur and author of the book, Halftime, the first half of our life is busy with “getting, earning and learning”. Doing what we can to survive while clawing our way up the ladder of success. He reckons that the second half of our life will be about regaining control, being who we are on a quest for significance. With an ageing population, we will have more people in the workforce who are entering or at their halftime (in the 40s), looking for significance in their life while at the workplace.

The younger generation (Gen Y, Z and post Z) entering the workforce, on the other hand, is unlike the older generations. They tend to be already well prepared in school for the challenges at the workplace. To meet their expectations, the progression in the corporate ladder for these generations will have to be faster. Being more affluent and raised in a more comfortable environment, survival and success by climbing up the corporate ladder for recognition and high pay is, however, no longer THE areas that are of importance to them.

So what really turns them on?

At the early part of their work life, they are likely to be already looking for things beyond what one would look for in the First Half of their life ~ like meaningfulness, purposefulness and significance. The millennials who are in or entering the workforce will bring in another generation with different profile and needs. One that wants all ~ enjoyment, family, lifestyle, career, money, significant and purpose.

To meet the aspirations of the millennials, organisations, managers and employees will need to adopt a different mindset to embrace the changing workplace.

In the book, Mindset by Carol S Dweck, she talks about mindset change as seeing things in a different way. Changing from a fixed mindset (desire to look smart and tendency to criticise) to a growth mindset (desire to grow and tendency to learn from criticism) will change one from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help framework.

With fixed mindset, we will be judging people based on their age, seeing the millennials as disruptive, the older workers as obstacle, the people who look for significance in their life as non-ambitious, the millennial who want all as asking for too much.

With growth mindset, we will see the changing profile and needs of the workforce as good opportunities for us to learn and help each other to make the workplace a more positive and productive environment.

We may not be able to fully control the changes that are taking place in the workplace but we can control the mindset that we want to adopt.

Positive things happen with positive mind

Contributed by Belinda Yeoh