June 7, 2016

Continuous Learning: Millennials Want It, Organizations Need To Foster It

Posted by Holly Benson (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:39 AM

Continuous Learning: Millennials Want It, Organizations Need To Foster It

My friends and I learned the hard way. As baby boomers, we entered the workforce in the '60s, '70s, and '80s with the fresh-faced expectation of 'jobs for life'. Many of us assumed we'd fill out our W-4, buy our first car, get married, raise our kids, and finally retire with the same company's name at the top of our paycheck. My idyll was shattered when my Fortune 10 employer - a company which had never downsized its staff in its 100-year history - launched the first of what became a decade of annual staff reductions. Most of my generation had received the same wake-up call by the end of the millennium.

Fast forward to 2016. The millennials harbor no illusions. Two similar studies on millennials' job outlook, one published in January by Infosys and one released last week by ManpowerGroup, underscore the sharp re-set of their expectations. They want employment security, but know that it's elusive; they've cleverly redefined security in terms of career, not job. They think in terms of serial jobs, job portfolios, gigs. Long-term career growth in one company is the ideal - but they know it is hard to find.

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January 29, 2015

Of T-Rexes and Velociraptors

Posted by Holly Benson (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:51 AM

I recently had the honor to represent Infosys on a panel discussion on 'Leadership 2020: Leading Business Simplification' for SAPRadio's 'Game-Changers' program. The SAP moderator led with an observation that Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has found that companies who effectively manage complexity see at least a 25% increase in profit margins. She suggested that simplification was the #1 issue facing businesses today.

When it was my turn to speak, I noted that simplification was only part of the issue, and was joined in top-of-mind C-level concerns by imperatives for agility and innovation. This is very much in line with Infosys' New and Renew strategy. Leaders - whether in Infosys or in client organizations - need to be able to simultaneously lead a thrust towards simplification, in the 'Renew' elements of their operation, and a thrust towards agility and innovation, in the 'New' elements. This is a complex leadership challenge. The lesson from our panel discussion, on which all the panelists agreed, was that it took skills ranging from vision and trend-spotting, to decisiveness, to empathy, to courage and iconoclasm. In other words, it took leadership skills distinct from managerial skills.

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