Next-Generation Employee: Time to step up !!

Nice title isn’t it?

Last Sunday, after my post regarding “Knowledge Sharing”, one of my very good friends , Alumni affairs officer from my school Maastricht School of Management, Ms. Oana Cipca was discussing about HR culture and knowledge sharing and she requested me to write a post on “Next-Gen employee”, how to be one? What are the characteristics of a new-Gen employee?

It was really inspiring to see and hear from my colleagues and friends suggesting from new posts. So without further ado, after office hours I took my time to read latest articles on HR and clubbed it with my personal view, I started writing about it.

You must be wondering, what do I mean by New-Gen employee? Is it just the age of an employee we are talking about or something else? In my personal opinion the definition of a new-Gen employee or a new-Gen employee should possess the following characteristics:

Proactive

Gone are the days when you wait for your Manager to tell you what to do, how to do. But, it doesn’t mean that managers will just expect miracles from their subordinates. Managers have to explain what they want out of your KPI, now it’s the employees’ responsibility to think outside of the box and come up with things rather than sit and wait until things come to them. In a nutshell, a next-gen employee has to be proactive rather than reactive.

Works Smart

Nothing can replace hard work. Working hard still the main soul behind success. But, working smart will make life easy for the employee and at the same success will be glorified even more. How can you do that? Simple, with the use of technology, by being organized, disciplined. Don’t waste time looking for files or documents, take a day off and organize everything, sync it using cloud solutions like Dropbox, skydrive between your computer and Smartphones. Instead of starting to work, give yourself 10 mins and sit with classic pencil and paper, and make a mind map. Trust me, this will make your output better than you expect and quicker. Try it?

Active Social Media Presence

Many of you, who is reading my blog right now, came to know about this post either via Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter or Xing. Why am I saying that? Just to show you the power of social media. Just by using it as a tool, I have redirected you to my blog.  Well, that’s just a simple example. What do I mean by being actively present in social media is, If you don’t have an account in professional sites like LinkedIn or Xing, then you better open one today. And secondly, if you have an account already, keep it up-to-date. It’s very important to keep your professional profiles up-to-date, because it indirectly displays your professional characteristics. So, once you read my blog, please go ahead and sharpen up your profile Today.

Enjoys work

Don’t work like a robot !! We are human beings, not machines. Your workplace might be boring but you are the one who has to take the initiative to make it enjoyable.  Take the first step; and organize a small team out on a Friday evening for an hour, don’t wait for your colleague. Make it a fun environment to work, if music motivates you, listen to music while working. There’s many more ways to make your job enjoyable, so what are you waiting for? Let’s make Monday, Funday and Happy employee always bring the best result.

Always goes the extra mile

To be a next-gen employee you have to have the stamina to do outstanding work, push it to the next level.  If you want to be great at what you do and be appreciated by your manager look for innovative ways to outdo yourself. You have to be the best you can be. As said by “Yun Siang Long”, “Even if perfection is elusive, go out and get it. Even if you fall short of perfection, your near perfect would have pushed you further than you would have thought possible.” Most importantly, NEVER STOP Learning. You may be 50+ yrs old, but it doesn’t mean you should give up. Rather, push yourself and get acquainted with the use of latest software’s, online media etc.

 

Characterestics of a Next Generation Employee

3P(s) – Plan, Prepare and Process

The formula is simple: Plan ahead of time, don’t wait for the last moment. Be ready before your deadline (give yourself room to breathe). Last minute works are never a perfect and quality work. And go from step by step, don’t try to do everything at the same time, do it in a disciplined manner. If you follow 3P(s), your every project will be best project.

Be Positive

There’s two ways of living life (according to me). One is to, Complain about life. i.e. being negative and another way is to, stop complaining and to face the problem and solving it, i.e. Being positive. Once I read somewhere, “God never gave any problem without solution”. So, why worry? Start a day with a mission to contribute positively towards your job and life. Make a short achievable list to do things. Most importantly, reward yourself end of the week for achieving all the to do list. I personally do that, and it works like a miracle for me.

Dissentive voice

A next-gen employee is not the one who complies to every rule. In an organization or your manager may not make the right decisions from time to time, and this is when a next-gen employee comes in and dares to challenge the norm and question authority and becomes an asset. I am not asking you to be a rebel or a troublemaker. Be logical; don’t just raise your voice because you want to. Rather, back your voice with practical, rational and provable justifications. If your dissenting voice is for the greater good of the organization will eventually earn everyone’s respect and trust.

Excellent people skills

Once my previous manager, Head of Customer Acquisition of Airtel Bangladesh Limited, Raihan Islam told me, Amit, instead of sending email, go and have a cup of coffee with your colleagues in the cafeteria, or just pick up the phone and talk with them, you will get your job done from them faster than you could ever imagine”.  And it worked like a magic. Me and my team, we got works done and received deliverables from different departments so quick that other teams started asking us how we did that. Try it, build a personal relationship rather than just a professional relationship with your colleagues.

Knowledge Sharing

A next-gen employee is a person who believes in sharing knowledge. Now, I am not going to write about what knowledge sharing is (again). If you want to know about it, please click on this “Knowledge sharing”.

Now, my dear readers, thank you for reading, and please feel free to write comments if you think, there’s any characteristics also should be included. Keep on sharing and drop me a line, if you want to learn more about any specific topic.

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Knowledge Sharing: Complete guide to create a knowledge sharing culture

A few days ago, I was discussing with a few of my colleagues regarding team works over lunch. During our conversation, Roger van Lieshout and Ali Ekici asked me to write a post about knowledge sharing among the colleagues. So, I thought it’s time to put pen to the paper and write about it. I am glad my colleagues inspired me to write about such an interesting topic, because in the process of doing so, I myself learned a lot from doing small online research. Here’s my view towards, Knowledge sharing among the fellow colleagues:

To start with, let’s get back to the root. We all know what is knowledge, but when it relates to an organization, do we really what is it?  Based on my online research, Knowledge is one of the most critical organizational resources which provide a sustainable competitive advantage in a competitive and dynamic economy (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009). Innovation may be one of the key drivers in gaining competitive advantage; organizations must also consider how to transfer expertise and knowledge from experts who have it, to novices who need to know (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).

So, what’s the definition of knowledge sharing?

Based on definition by Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006, Knowledge sharing is the fundamental means through which employees can contribute to knowledge application, innovation, and ultimately the competitive advantage of the organization.

Knowledge sharing refers to the provision of task information and know-how to help others and to collaborate with others to solve problems, develop new ideas, or implement policies or procedures (Cummings, 2004; Pulakos, Dorsey, & Borman, 2003). Knowledge sharing can occur via written correspondence or face-to-face communications through networking with other experts, or documenting, organizing and capturing knowledge for others (Cummings, 2004; Pulakos et al., 2003).

How does it help?

Research has shown that knowledge sharing benefits organization in following ways:

  • In reducing production costs
  • Faster completion of new product development
  • Enhances team performance
  • Induces firm’s innovation capabilities
  • Increases sales growth and revenue

How can we promote a knowledge sharing culture?

Personal Characteristics

Personally, I believe it all starts from individual characteristic. Many of you who are reading this post now, have already experienced colleagues or fellow classmates who are reluctant to share their knowledge. But, it doesn’t mean, you have to follow the same path. I truly believe “Knowledge sharing as a learning experience for the sharer”. More, you share more you learn more. Not only that, it creates a bond of trust between the fellow colleagues. This makes life easier for everyone and working together enhances performance. Like, I discussed in my previous post, knowledge sharing promotes Co-creation and it’s one of the crucial points for being an innovative company. So, instead of waiting for your colleague to make the first step, why don’t you make the first step? Don’t just think about it. It’s time to do it.

Management Attitude

Time has changed, communication should not only flow from top to bottom and bottom to top. There should be a transparent communication and knowledge sharing culture in the organization. Top management should not only give orders and make the decisions rather they should share their expertise and knowledge with the employees in order to derive desired performance from the employees. Research has shown that, Managers who have shared their knowledge with respective subordinates, their performance has been positively influenced (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009). So, Top management should break out of the hard old shell and move towards more transparent management attitude.

Rewards and Incentives

Till date various researches have been carried out rewards and incentives influence on performance.  I am not talking about individual performance or individual rewards. Many companies make the mistakes of introducing individual rewards and incentives for knowledge sharing and end up in losing more than gaining. Rather group based incentives works as a positive catalyst compared to those that individual incentives as it creates more interaction between the employees and results in creating strong and positive relationships.

Complete guide to creating knowledge sharing culture

Complete guide to creating knowledge sharing culture

Diversity

Researches have shown that organizations with higher female: male ratios were more likely to engage in knowledge sharing (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).  Not only gender diversity influences knowledge sharing, in fact multi-cultural organization tends to develop better knowledge sharing culture. With the right balance between individual culture (e.g. Europe) and group culture (e.g. Asia) tends result in sharing views from an absolutely different angle which is unknown to another culture and vice versa. This not only brings unique nature to an organization, rather works as a positive catalyst towards to innovation and performance.

Trust and Justice

Based on research, Individuals tended to share less knowledge with team members who were perceived to be very capable and share more knowledge when they believed other team members were honest, fair and followed principles (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).  Hence, Managers, Top management should engage with employees in collaborative communication, i.e. disclose one’s own expertise and limitations. This increases the feeling of trust and justice within employees. Such organizational culture results in creating knowledge sharing culture.

Social Media

Last but not the least, one of the most modern tools is Social Media. Modern and innovative companies engage with its own employees via social platforms such as LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, twitters etc in order to share knowledge. Using social media, companies can adopt suitable for different behavioral styles, offering people the ability to passively observe (and take inspiration) or to be actively involved depending on what they prefer. Being actively involved in social media with employees creates strong transparent image to the outside world as well. Might sound funny, but many of you who are reading my post right now, came via social media references like Facebook, Linkedin, Xing etc., isn’t it?

Well, that’s my perspective towards knowledge sharing. What’s yours? Feel free to drop a line and SHARE your view.