Why HR should give ownership to young staff

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Employers who want to engage their young workforce should seriously consider giving them more ownership and a real influence in the business – that’s the message from one senior HR leader who says doing so could help built both trust and loyalty.

“One of the key things that we know is that the more involved millennials are in our business, the more they learn and give and the more we can learn and give,” says Roz Urbahn, chief people officer at the Livestock Improvement Corporation.

The company recently went through a large transformation project and Urbahn says the company was careful to support millennials so they could be “initiative-owners” of different programs, if that’s what they were interested in pursuing.

“If they want to own something, we’ll give them the resources, we’ll help them through it and we’ll keep that agile thinking as opposed to a set program,” she tells HRD.

Empowering young staff to have a meaningful impact in the workplace not only taps into their ambitious side, she says, it also cultivates a loyal and trusting relationship between workers and the organisation – however, there are some potential missteps that HR should avoid.

“You have to make sure you don’t give them too much to do without the necessary support, you have to make sure that they’re not just being set up to fail – that you give them avenues to discuss and work through things,” says Urbahn.

“It’s one of our basic formulas for success – the more they have a voice, the more they’ll want to stay because they see that they have an impact – it’s involvement equals engagement equals performance.”

Roz Urbahn is among the many eminent speakers lined up for the Millennial Workforce Summit in May. There, she will feature on a panel discussion about creating fast-track leadership programs for young staff and will lead an interactive roundtable about how HR can develop rewards programs that won’t miss the mark.

More information about the event – which also features senior HR figures from Cigna, Auckland Council and Air New Zealand – can be found online.

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