A Paradigm shift in Hierarchies !:

Why do we cling to hierarchies? Are we not confident of our own self-worth? A corporate life without hierarchies may seem daunting for some while stimulating for others.

A paradigm shift in organizational hierarchy exists due to a challenging multi generational workforce environment. This is the first time in modern history that such diverse generations are working together.

Technology is increasingly expanding the gaps among these generations. The gap between Boomers and Millennials is much larger due to this rapid technology growth rate.

The older workforce has been described as ambitious, loyal, work-centric, and cynical whilst having a sense of entitlement and respect towards the chain of command.They believe that having a strong organizational structure is paramount to the success of any business and that corporations need a structured hierarchy to establish internal control.

These Baby Boomers tend to view their value through their loyal work and commitment. Since they're conformists, they value job titles, money, authority and a top-down management approach. They may still be uncomfortable interacting or questioning authority.They also don't require constant feedback and believe everything is well until something is said to them by their superiors. Since they are a goal-oriented generation they are motivated by prestigious job titles, high levels of responsibility, perks, recognition, promotions, professional development and having their expertise acknowledged.

However, there exists a paradigm shift in the thinking patterns of the tech-savvy millennial generation in comparison to the older workforce in an organization. They believe that freedom from normal rules is what gives one competitive advantage. The younger workforce value diversity and see the world as a 24/7 globally connected community. While younger workers focus on high productivity, they are happier with the flexibility of completing a task at their own pace and managing their own time, as long as they get the job done right and by the deadline. They are less loyal to companies than previous generations but loyal and committed to an idea, cause or product.

Millennials are comfortable with authority figures and are neither impressed with fancy job titles nor intimidated by them. They find it natural to interact and ask questions to their superiors, unlike their older counterparts. Questioning from their perspective does not equate with disrespect. They thrive on continued learning opportunities, mentorship and immediate feedback. They are motivated not by designations but by seeing purpose and meaning behind their work. Creating and sharing a mission or vision gives them the feeling of belonging. They believe that promotions should be earned based on competence and not by rank, age or seniority.

The words "future of work" and "hierarchy" do not precisely go together. In fact in today's VUCA world which is a diverse business landscape, most companies are trying to flatten out their corporate structures.

A practical and realistic approach is to simply use the organization chart to show relationships while practicing open and transparent communication and collaboration from the top down, bottom up, and side to side. This creates a balance between having a hierarchical company and a flat company; it's simply, "flatter."

We in TUV India believe in a structure where every employee is empowered and able to share ideas, communicate with executives and managers, and share information across any role or department.


About The Author

Anjali Joshi

AVP - HR & Corporate Communication
TUV India Pvt. Ltd.