Summer 2013

The Problem with Nice People in the Talent Pool

In a fascinating piece of research, the team behind the Hogan Development Survey in the UK, Gillian Hyde and Geoff Trickey, looked at the most common potential derailers for baby boomers, Generation X and Generation Y.

Generation Y, identified as people aged up to 30, were markedly different from the other groups. In particular, they were far higher on the scale that highlights derailment risks through being too readily compliant and dutiful.  Whilst diligent and conscientious at work, they’re more likely than their elders to be fearful of upsetting others or openly challenging the status quo.  They’re also a little more anxious, self critical and temperamental.

We see this highly dutiful characteristic as a key concern for large organisations. The implication is that the next generation of talent will perform to a high standard in output measures, thereby putting them on the succession plan. However, they will baulk at rocking the boat, promoting calculated risk and driving change. Whilst we don’t know if they will become less compliant and more challenging with maturity, the real risk is that businesses will be hamstrung by a swathe of pleasant, hard working people who like things just the way they are.