The Juniorization of Organizations
Many organizations are aware that younger generations are entering the workforce at a rapid rate. This diversification in the workplace is causing fundamental shifts in just about every aspect of business. One of the greatest evolutions has taken place in organizational culture, as many executives work tirelessly to cater to the unique values and preferences of a multigenerational workforce. However, the underlying trend is what some experts have dubbed as, “Juniorization”.
Juniorization is the general replacement of experienced senior executives with fresh young talent. In other words, it’s the reason that the median age at your organization might be lowering at a staggering pace. Recently, the focus on Juniorization has increased as Wall Street banks began implementing it as a risky strategy to lower operating costs. However, Juniorization is much more than a way to shave away high salaries.
This new trend has the potential to become a catalyst for widespread organizational shifts in workplace culture, technology, and talent management.
As the workplace continues to become increasingly diverse, company cultures must begin to reflect that change. Many modern organizations have become flatter, decreasing hierarchy and bureaucracy as a way to increase engagement and productivity. Additionally, as Millennials begin taking over the workforce and bringing with them higher expectations, Baby Boomers are shifting into new roles as mentors and coaches to managers that are increasingly their junior. Leaders must learn to leverage their respective talents by understanding and identifying complimentary, cross-generational teams that engage all members and optimize contribution.
Wall Street has cited technology as one of the ways that they have been able to adopt Juniorization as a strategy, even in a complex and high-stakes industry. These organizations are learning that they may not need to pay a senior executive a staggering salary for 20 years of experience and market knowledge if they can find technology that can enable junior colleagues to have access to the same data and information. As technological tools become more advanced, the collaboration of man and machine has become more heavily weighted on the quality of the machine, rather than the experience of the man. New systems are able to turn raw data into information that can aid in strategic decision-making that solves core business problems.
The Millennial generation’s common traits present themselves at work through the need for challenge and variety, as well as a craving for continual feedback and skill development. This is revolutionizing the way that organizations handle Talent Management initiatives. For example, the familiar annual review process is now archaic. New Talent Management models foster a continuous feedback loop throughout the year, keeping employees and managers on track with goals and development plans. Additionally, top-down evaluations are also a thing of the past. 360 peer reviews now offer entire teams the opportunity to provide feedback on their colleagues and work environment to create a more holistic picture of performance.
Although Juniorization may be viewed negatively by some, it is important for executives (of all ages) to acknowledge the trend and develop strategies to meet it head on. Organizations that are able to embrace the change have the potential to harness the power of this new diversification as a strategic advantage for increasing productivity, fostering innovation, and recruiting top talent.