Today’s workforce is constantly evolving as new technology and a new generation of employees penetrate the business world. To thrive, organizations must evolve as well.

Elliot Markowitz

January 6, 2014

3 Min Read
The Days of Sledgehammer Management Are Over

To say the business world has changed a lot in the past 20 years would be a considerable understatement. The rise of the Internet, adoption of mobile technology and the ushering in of Millennials coupled with the retiring of Baby Boomers have made today’s work place a vastly different environment.

As such, employees dress differently, communicate differently and work differently, and therefore must be managed, motivated and rewarded differently. For the most part, suits and ties and 9-to-5 work days are gone and the days of sledgehammer management are over—and good riddance.

The challenge comes for those organizations still clinging to the old ways of doing business. Their culture of managing and motivating employees must evolve as the dynamics of today’s work environment have evolved. If they don’t, their front door will be a revolving one.

Today’s workers cannot be bullied or embarrassed into working harder. Intimidation doesn’t work the way it used to—not with today’s generation and not with mass communication at their fingertips. Companies that mistreat their employees or have managers that are out of line often are exposed instantly through any or all of the various social networking outlets. And they should be: shared war stories via social networks can kill a company’s reputation and prohibit it from being able to hire future talent.

All employees need to be held accountable. They also need to be revenue-drivers and approach their job as if they are owners. But to do that they need to be empowered and motivated. What tactics work best will depend on your market, but here are five common areas all companies should embrace:

Management by empowerment, not intimidation: Today’s workers are not going to put up with being mistreated—and they shouldn’t. Job loyalty isn’t what it used to be and companies need to treat their employees fairly or they will walk. Yelling, shouting or embarrassing a worker in front of co-workers has no place in today’s environment.

Modern technology: For the most part, employers shouldn’t have better technology at home than they have at work to do their job. Invest in the latest tech advances in applications and, more specifically, in mobile computing. Give them the tools to succeed and they will.

Ongoing training: While there is always a degree of on-the-job training, baptism by fire should not be the norm. Formalize training programs in systems, processes and even managerial. Again, give them the ability to succeed and they will.

Flexibility in the work environment: This may not work for all businesses depending on their market and customer needs, but where and when possible, implement flexible working options. This includes off-hours as well as options for working remotely. The Internet and mobile technology changed the dynamic of the 9-to-5 workday and it is not going to change back. Organizations need to focus on productivity instead of office hours.

Goal-setting and rewards: Too many organizations still do not have formal review plans and growth strategies for their workers. This creates a more transient workforce with too much turnover. Companies need to set individual growth goals for each employee and then reward them when they reach those goals. Everyone understands the concept of doing more with less, and most people are willing to work harder because hiring is tight. However, these workers need to be rewarded for their extra work.

Today’s workforce is constantly evolving as new technology and a new generation of employees penetrate the business world. To thrive, organizations must evolve as well.

About the Author(s)

Elliot Markowitz

Elliot Markowitz is a veteran in channel publishing. He served as an editor at CRN for 11 years, was editorial director of webcasts and events at Ziff Davis, and also built the webcast group as editorial director at Nielsen Business Media. He's served in senior leadership roles across several channel brands.

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