Management Success Tip #147: Retain Your Up-Coming Gen-X Managers: Offer Flexible Work Alternatives

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Gen-Xers, individuals in their late 30s and 40s, are the new management backbone, and as such, are vital to your company. Yet too often, businesses complain that Gen-Xers, once trained and apparently a great fit for a position, up and leave at the drop of a hat.

Indeed, a 2011 survey from the Center for Talent Innovation  (CTI) showed that 37% of Gen-Xers have “one foot out the door” and were looking to leave their current employers within three years.

This can be disastrous for your company, not to mention a drain on resources, since once a qualified, trained, Gen-Xer leaves, you must fill that management position, incurring new costs of recruitment, training and so on.

One of the key ways to retain those Gen-Xers you are loathe to lose, is to offer flexible alternatives to the 9 – 5, on-site, norm. CTI research shows that fully 66% of Gen-X women, and 55% of Gen-X men, with and without children in the household, want better work-life balance, including flexible work arrangements (both in terms of time and place) and schedules.

Ask your Gen-Xers how they want to structure their work, time-wise and location-wise, and do your very best to accommodate their preferences. You’ll find that productivity does not diminish, on the contrary, when Gen-Xers can work how, where, and when they choose, productivity and performance benefit, and retention greatly increases.

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Management Success Tip #146: Avoid “Garbage In, Garbage Out” Syndrome: Ask Your Employees Pertinent Questions

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You know the phrase “Garbage in, garbage out”? It refers to the idea that if you feed irrelevant material into a computer (or a person), all you’re going to get are irrelevant responses.

Just asking an employee “How’s it going?” is nice. It’s certainly better than ignoring your employee, or figuring you can see for yourself how it’s going, why bother asking. But it’s a benign case of “garbage in, garbage out.” You’re not going to get much out of that question, most of the time.

In the pursuit of making your employees happy, which will in turn improve your business’s productivity and profits, you definitely want to ask your employees for their thoughts, ideas and comments on what’s going on with their work. To get the most benefit from your questions, follow these two simple steps advocated by Brigadier General John Michel:

“Listen to other peopleʼs ideas, no matter how different they may be from your own:

Thereʼs ample evidence that the most imaginative and valuable ideas tend not to come from the top of an organization, but from within an organization. Be open to others opinions; what you hear may make the difference between merely being good and ultimately becoming great.

“Ask great questions: The most effective leaders know they donʼt have all the answers. Instead, they constantly welcome and seek out new knowledge and insist on tapping into the curiosity and imaginations of those around them. Take it from Albert Einstein: “I have no special talent,” he claimed. “I am only passionately curious.” Be inquisitive. Help tap othersʼ hidden genius one wise question and courageous conversation at a time.”