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Being a Manager Today is Horrible

Do you know why the workforce is struggling with handling Gen Z? Building on my article yesterday, today I will highlight a crucial component of what got us here so you can take concrete actions to fix your situation.

The middle management is dying and that's on HR. Sorry but it is true. HR failed to change anything in HR that would have equipped the management to handle the current and the next generation.

The current processes were designed by Boomers for Boomers. Gen X was okay with the Boomer system because the difference between these two generations was tiny. Millennials started to struggle and we paid no attention to it. We needed a louder noise to hear that something was off there came Gen Z but we are still not hearing the message. Gen Alpha will make us hear it because the gap between Boomers and Gen Alpha is now four generational. Surely you don't live your life as your grandparents, right? So why do we want people to work like our grandparents?

Managers are put in a situation where they have to manage 21st-century needs with 20th-century tools and practices and HR is not helping them. It is no longer about just educating the workforce about generational differences (that's step one) but about creating modern processes that support managers which goes from redesigning all HR processes and policies to straightforward telling managers that their old-school mindset is driving the workforce away.

Example: The other day I had a debate with a manager whose mindset dates back to 20 years ago. He expects people to work unpaid overtime and 12-14 h a day because this is how he used to do and this made him tough. He said, "This generation is weak and we lowered the bar for performance." Guess what? His turnover is over the roof yet, he still cannot see that there is a problem with his approach. If HR wanted to reduce turnover all they would have to do is put a stop to this practice.

Challenging managers' mindset like this is futile as long as the company doesn't have clear policies and communication about overtime and the culture. It would be HR's job to monitor attendance and step in and educate the workforce that it is not what we do anymore. If HR was fulfilling its prophecy of "Im in charge of the workforce" surely they would protect their workforce from such practice/mindset, right? And no, a well-being initiative on how to manage work-life balance or stress will not address this issue.

Nothing has changed in the world of HR. We are still watching black and white telly when the need is dolby stereo, 63 inch plasma. We have the same performance management system that doesn't work, the same feedback technique that are fiercely rejected by the younger generation, the same reward system that lowers the performance of high performers, or the same succession planning that was designed for generations that stayed with the company for 40 years. Today people move around and we wonder why our succession plan doesn't work so we stop doing it. Well, don't stop doing it because you still need one but change it so it fits your workforce!

HR could be so much more! They could be the backbone of the organisation, the support to the management and to the leadership team through their proactive approach in adjusting the organisation to the needs of its workforce. As my friend said yesterday, it takes a workforce to change an organisation and it should start with HR.

But that's not what they do. They roll out buzzword initiatives (wellbeing or inclusion) that make them look innovative from the outside but when you look beyond the facade you find that nothing has really changed just plasters on the old mouldy walls.

I absolutely loved it the other day when HR from a massive local company here in Dubai received the "Best DIE Award" and when you go to their job application page they ask how old you are, your family status, and your nationality. Really Sharon from HR???? How can you receive that award and post it all over social media? I know you would find so many justifications for this practice visa etc. but no, it doesn't work.

If you want to design modern workplaces that suit the needs of the new generation let us know. Trust me, you need to change the foundation of how you manage people because the current system is a house of cards. Ready to give in any moment. Contact us here.

PS: To make things worse most HR has the old-school mentality because nobody is challenging anyone. Who is challenging the global HR community and talking about this for example? Nobody. All we have is another framework by Dave Ulrich..............

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