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Opinions of Monday, 11 April 2016

Columnist: Austin Brako-Powers

How businesses can increase revenue by empowering young employees

There are three sets of workers in any one particular business at any point in time namely; today’s breadwinner [employees who have been around longer than tomorrow employees], tomorrow’s breadwinner [young employees], and yesterday’s breadwinner [older employees].

These three workers share a lot in common. However, the one difference between them is the amount of resources allocated to them for the performance of their work.

Businesses, hitherto, thought to be great and ‘built to last’ have folded up some few years into the 21st Century. What distinguishes a flourishing company from the others is the former’s approach in dealing with its workers.

Many businesses, here in Ghana, are replete with yesterday’s breadwinners and these people are not willing to give the opportunity to today’s breadwinners and tomorrow’s breadwinners. In other words, the older workers in the organization are not ready to let the younger ones take charge of the day-to-day administration. They still want to be in-charge and be seen running the show whilst their youths are relegated to the background.

The continued occurrence of this attitude in any company slows growth because the youths are not allowed to make use of their exuberance, creative skills, and verve.
In this piece, I have attempted to explain the prospect of businesses that invest in today’s and tomorrow’s breadwinners.

Yesterday’s Breadwinners:

Every good business cherishes yesterday’s breadwinners [older employees] because their efforts in the past helped to build the company. Their efforts, commitment, foresight, and calculations made the company a leader in the industry. These people have been around for ages. However, they may not be in-tune with the changing times; the internet, new technologies, and information age. They are living on past glory and as a result of their present actions, the company is incurring a lot of costs.

All attempts to give the rein of leadership to the new generation is met with fierce and grandeur opposition. They attend fresher courses of organized for their department, yet their input remains at an all-time low.

The truth about yesterday’s breadwinners is that they are obsolescent, but they will disagree with you on this. It won’t be long before they become obsolete and this decline will be fast. Nobody can stop their decline – it should be expected. What is required of businesses is to put this category of people in positions which will make today’s and tomorrow’s breadwinners benefit from their wealth of experiences.

They could be made to run training programs for the new generation whilst learning from them in turn.

Today’s Breadwinners:

These workers account for the substantial volume of the business revenue. They know their job. Their judgment and predictions go uncontested. As a result of that, they are ably supported by the resources of the organization. Spending key resources on these workers is justified since their present efforts contribute immensely to the organization’s profit margin.

Workers in this category are in their prime. They are successful in whatever task is entrusted to them. But to reap more benefit from these workers, it is important for businesses to give them key positions within the organization to challenge them further.

Or possibly, they should be paired with some of the yesterday’s breadwinners to benefit from their rich experiences. But, for a business to gain enormously from its workers, it needs to identify the people who constitute tomorrow’s breadwinners and invest in them. They hold the key to the organization’s future expansion and growth.

Tomorrow’s Breadwinners:

Tomorrow’s breadwinners hold the promise of the organization’s future. They are tactful, calculative and committed when given opportunities to perform. They exhibit the willingness to learn from yesterday’s breadwinners and today’s breadwinners. However, they are still in the process of maturity. If management invests in them, these workers stand a chance of contributing substantially to the organization’s future revenue and leadership in the industry.

Many of the football clubs in Europe invest in these set of workers. Through their football academies, many of these young stars are prepared for future positions in the mother club. However, disappointingly, many businesses ignore these employees [tomorrow’s breadwinners] for the older employees [yesterday’s breadwinners] which does not appear wise except to make them feel great.

Success is not a one-off event. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a habit. To remain the leader in your industry demands more than a repetition of old habits.

Make an investment in today’s and tomorrow’s breadwinners a habit for the growth increased revenue and expansion of your company. Dean of Management Philosophers, Peter F. Drucker, said: “Success in repetitive attempts becomes less rather than more probable with each repetition.” In other words, even if you invest in today’s and tomorrow’s breadwinners and they make mistakes, keep investing. It is only by doing so that you speed their success and that of the company.

There’s a prima facie case to support businesses that channel key resources to back today’s breadwinners and tomorrow’s breadwinners. And let me say that the greatest self-delusion, I have learned, is the make-belief that investing in yesterday’s breadwinners [older employees], singularly, would lead to the success of the business. The reverse is true.

To make the most of every opportunity, companies must consciously invest in workers who hold the promise of the future without disenfranchising those on whose back the company’s fortune was built in the past. Everyone is needed but there should be a decision to prepare for the future of the business by investing in new talents and at the same time being exposed to the older workers so that they can learn from them.

This is what I know: when you want to maintain your leadership in your industry, you are not afraid making tough decisions at the right time.