Improv Is No Joke Podcast Episode 5: Karl Ahlrichs Show Notes

I always enjoy speaking with Karl Ahlrichs, a human capital consultant and a far-thinking and future planning individual. He comes on the podcast today to discuss some of the storms he sees coming on the horizon, particularly where HR and the next generations of employees meet.

Even though our current economy is far greater now than it’s been in a while, Karl sees quite a few potential problems on the horizon that we need to be prepared for:

  • Baby Boomers – due to the recession of 2008, many of these people delayed retirement to rebuild their nest egg. Many of them are now ready to leave and hit the beach.
  • High Performers – they’ve driven the country’s productivity to unprecedented levels, but now they’re looking for the next challenge. They’ll be ready to migrate jobs soon, so we need to figure out our management style and plans so we can attract new ones and keep the old ones in place.
  • Social Media – sites like LinkedIn will attract high performers away from you by enticing them with great challenging opportunities as well as being a source of candidates for recruiting companies.
  • Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants – this is a great way to divide the world when looking to hiring in the future. Digital immigrants need jobs without lots of tech involved, and we need to hire people who line up with their jobs. You can’t put somebody tech savvy into a job with minimal tech interaction and vice versa.

Karl knows that business practices also need to reflect the current majority group within the workplace: millennials. Studies have shown that 2/3 of millennials don’t plan on staying with their current employee for more than 5 years. We have to change our business and management practices to keep these high performers more engaged. “We have to adapt the very work we do to fit a more project thinking pattern.”

There are a few things that we can start to do now to keep those high performing millennials in place:

  • Better hiring practices and higher standards. High performers love to work with other high performers and are pleased and impressed when their bosses hire the best.
  • Management sincerely listens. High performers tend to stay in their jobs 20-30% longer if they perceive their manager listens to them and values their input.

Millennials are only one employment group we must contend with, but the new Gen WiFi will be a handful as well. These future employees became aware at the age of 3, the same time as Google came online. This generation doesn’t need or want to know anything; they rely on Google over memory. One other key distinction about this group is their lack of ethics. The ends justify the means for them. This will create ethics issues in the workplace and it’ll be up to us as management to parent them along ethical lines.

Underscoring all of these issues is the fact that people nowadays are overwhelmed with the glut of information they’re presented on a daily basis. The average person is subjected to 32GB of data per day. Talk about overwhelm! This has created the need for simplicity in answering questions or solving complex problems. The ability to simplify the complex and communicate it will be invaluable in the near future. “That’s the most important human skill going forward; to take complex things and make them understandable.

So the most important thing people can do, to sum everything up, is to focus on hiring standards because if we bring in ethically challenged poor performers, we’ll destroy the cultures and businesses we’ve worked so hard to develop. We need to screen for, teach and practice for ourselves a higher ethical standard because, “Ethics are learned by modeling, not by reading.”

Karl was very gracious with his time and wisdom today as he dropped value bomb after value bomb on us. I took a great deal away from our discussion, as I’m sure you did as well. We all now have lots to take away and apply to our own lives and business to make our lives easier. If you would like to listen to this episode, click here