Chartered Management Institute: In my Opinion

Chartered Management Institute Companion Des Benjamin urges leaders to take action to sustain health and wellbeing in the workplace.

We're seeing a few chickens coming home to roost in 2007. It's to do with the quality of our working lives. In my opinion, the dominant trends in management at the moment are having some very damaging effects - and nothing highlights our failures in this area more than our relationship with the younger generation of employees.

It's hugely exciting to watch young people coming into the labour market with attitudes that are far healthier than those of previous generations. These include a desire to see progress as a real possibility, a demand for variety in their work, a need for time flexibility, a request for respect from the start and a wish that their efforts go towards a clear purpose that they can take pride in. Increasingly, they no longer separate their personal beliefs from those of the company that they chose to work for, so if you want to attract and retain their talent you'd better listen to what they have to say.

This is incredibly demanding for us as managers, having grown up in a more hierarchical era with tightly formulated behaviours and expectations. And yet this is the very stuff of business in the future as it bends and twists its way in the new global markets. For business to prosper in the years ahead, we need their flexibility and adaptability; we need their ability to cope with less certainty and more ambiguity.

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