Traditional organisations are based on a hierarchical structure where power flows from the top. The bosses know best because they have been around longer, have more understanding about how things work and have information that is not available to everyone else. Young people joining the business have to learn how things are done around here.

People who fit in to the corporate culture survive. Those who question things are seen to be ‘rocking the boat’ and do not progress. Eventually they leave in frustration, get fired for disruption or simply give up and comply. No wonder it’s so difficult to change corporate cultures.

We’ve heard a lot about there being ‘five generations’ at work, from the Baby Boomers through to the Millennials. Given the dramatic changes in our lives over the last 10-20 years it’s hardly surprising that there are differing views of life and work within the workforce. This becomes very evident the organisations are looking at flexible working. The traditional managers start form the assumption that work is static and they generously offer some flexibility on top of that. Young employees assume that work can be done anywhere at any time using everyday technology.

If you don’t listen to this generation you will lose out on the best talent. We chose ‘Youth’ as the subject for the letter “Y” in the WiseWork alphabet because it’s critical that leaders listen to their views. Do the ideas from young people in your organisation get to the top or do they get filleted out by layers of managers who are older and wiser?