Is that all it takes to find employees…really?
A recent article in the Houston Business Journal caught my eye:
An “old” industry – oil and gas – is attracting younger workers. The average age of the company’s employees is 31. This is unusual for an industry that often conjures up images of stodgy, old-fashioned ways of working.
Is this how you find employees?
The industry also has a tendency to lay off the younger workforce in hard times. This results in a generation gap and a shunning by younger workers. But has Paul Sorenson has uncovered the ultimate secret to attracting workers?
Rather than tell them what to do and how to do it — his old approach — he simply tells them “the destination that you need, and let them figure out how to get there,” Sorensen said.
Could it really be that simple?
Why this simple approach is so effective
This seemingly simplistic approach captures several key components that younger members of our workforce are seeking in their work life. According to a report by Gallup “How Millennials Want to Work and Live”, there is a sea change in the leadership style that workers seek:
To tell them “the destination that you need, and let them figure out how to get there,” hits on three of these areas of change:
- A boss becomes a coach
- Satisfaction becomes an opportunity for development
- The focus shifts from weaknesses to strengths
A more knowledgeable and empowered workforce is emerging
You can argue that many jobs require a set way of doing things and people must be “told” in order to achieve those results. That may be true for very specific jobs involving tooling and manufacturing, yet most of those are being replaced by automation. The work force now becomes one of knowledgeable workers who can be empowered, encouraged and able to contribute more when they are focused on an outcome rather than a process.
As a leader, where can you transition and allow workers – young and experienced – to enjoy more autonomy in their work lives? Pick just one area, person or project and let them figure out how to get there. You’ll be doing the same for yourself!