How CEOs engage Gen Y
Singapore – At DBS Bank, Piyush Gupta, group chief executive officer (CEO), uses an anonymous feedback portal called “Ask Piyush” to engage his Generation Y employees.
Employees can feedback suggestions and questions directly to Gupta through the online portal, which is opened for two weeks every three months. Speaking at a panel discussion at Institute of Banking and Finance’s annual conference yesterday, Gupta said it takes him an average of two months to personally sort through and respond to every feedback received.
DBS has since implemented several policy changes based on the feedback received. Gupta was also pleased to report that more employees are beginning to leave their names, indicating a growing confidence in the initiative.
Gupta had chosen to engage his Generation Y employees through social media and online platforms as he understood that these tools are important in reaching out to them.
Ray Ferguson, regional CEO for Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore and Southeast Asia, is another senior leader who agreed that organisations must go the extra mile to engage younger employees.
Currently, 40% of office space at Standard Chartered in Changi Business Park is allocated as “hang out space”, where employees can interact and play games with each other. The bank also provides staff with devices such as Apple iPads to facilitate mobile working. Ferguson added that employees can use Apple-based software to apply for leave.
Ferguson said it was also important to remember that most Gen Ys “work to live” so they require flexible working arrangements to be more productive.
However, the panel agreed there are insufficient development programmes to groom the younger generation for future leadership roles.
Kate Sweetnam, visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship, said companies have to make a concerted effort to groom their top talent. The guest speaker at the event urged senior leaders to “actively engage in the process of selecting, developing and assessing their peers” if they want to indentify their successors.
“Not enough effort and time has been invested into leadership,” Sweetnam said.
In fact, only one financial firm made it to the list of top 20 companies for leadership, highlighting the urgent need for banking and finance firms to improve on their leadership development and succession planning. Mumbai-based ICICI Bank was the only bank on Fortune’s list of top companies for leadership in 2009.
Sweetnam said having a clear and consistent leadership direction will help build better pipelines for development initiatives. She also encouraged companies to look into building a strong succession planning programme as leaders who moved up the ranks within the organisation will have an intimate knowledge and better understanding of the business.
Citing that both ICCI and IBM are very focused on creating a “culture of leadership”. Quoting a book by chairman and CEO of IBM Lou Gerstner, Sweetnam said, “Culture isn't just one aspect of the game; it is the game”.
She added, “Pay attention to your young talent. Give them more responsibility and let them fail because they’ll learn best from their mistakes.”
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