I recently attended a workshop on managing during challenging economic times. In the session, an interesting discussion started about Gen X and Y employees and the fact they’ve never seen this kind of economic crisis before. At least compared to Baby Boomers who have seen the inflation of the 70s (and lived through the Great Depression second-hand from their parents).
What I found interesting in the conversation was that HR Pros were saying this economic challenge was good…because those Gen X and Y employees are finally stepping up to the plate to meet the KSAs for their position. My mind immediately started racing…
HR Pros (and managers) should not be hiding behind the economy to get employees to perform. I saw a post on The Recruiters Lounge about layoffs and the point that management should not use the economy to deal with performance issues. The message is spot on. Managers need to make decisions and deal with issues when they arise.
KSAs are defined as the knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job. That being said, logic would tell you KSAs don’t change just because the economy changes. KSAs change because the job changes. Now if the job changes because of the economy…that makes sense. But if an employee has a performance issue or unrealistic expectations, deal with it. It’s not fair to make excuses and hide behind the economy.
But the thought that kept coming back to me was “Is this line of thinking (i.e. Gen X/Y aligning with Boomers) good for our workplaces?” And, my gut keeps telling me no.
If our emerging workforce are being dragged back to the comfort zone of Baby Boomers, what happens to innovation? When I was a kid, my father taught me how to use a slide rule. Said it would come in handy as an adult. In the meantime, Texas Instruments invented a scientific calculator. And, now I’m using an iPhone.
Now more than ever, it’s time for companies to embrace different thinking and even leverage it to excel. It’s those differences that could create innovations that get us out of this economic mess. HR Pros should be helping their management teams lead the conversation during this time of change and uncertainty.
If they don’t, do we run the risk of watching the C-suite go back to their comfort zones of not having human resources at all?