How does your executive committee or board of trustees stack up in terms of age, gender and ethnic diversity?  We encounter many situations where we observe a concentration of individuals, who can best be described as the ‘traditional New Zealand composite’ of experienced, mature individuals. Many organisations seem unprepared to face the challenges of the changing environment, as they struggle to meet the demands of ‘young blood’ – Millennials (commonly known as Gen Y).

One of our guest contributors, Professional Trustee Ralph Penning includes himself in the experienced, mature individual category. He has found it extremely difficult to disengage himself from much cherished governance positions, where he enjoyed the camaraderie and sense of belonging that exists in most membership and trust relationships.  He has stood aside to enable succession with an infusion of fresh blood to ensure the survival and good health of the organisation.

He empathises with many of you who may be uncomfortable with the introduction of younger executives with different ideas and aspirations that may run counter to what you are used to and would like to retain. There are three certainties in life: death, change and taxes.  Change is dictated by necessity – individuals and organisations unable to keep pace with it are doomed to fail. The most noticeable change agents are young, well-educated and more outspoken in their demands and expectations than people of his generation.
We are in good company. In a recent global survey 66% of employers admitted that they were challenged in their ability to provide focused leadership of young staff and 51% lacked confidence in their ability to maintain a succession programme. Consider this. By 2025 (in ten years’ time) Millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce, but 58% of senior executives surveyed declared that they were ill prepared to attract and retain the next generation of employees.  It stands to reason that these same-self employees are your next wave of members and supporters.
In order to adapt to the changing human resource, businesses and voluntary organisations are well-advised to change their mind set from the traditional “hiring or recruiting the right person” to regularly investing in training, coaching and mentoring. Failing to do so could put the organisation at risk and where voluntary sector entities are concerned, may lead to their demise. And who of us wants to be the last one to turn the lights off.
What to do and how to do it? The NZ Association Resource Centre Trust is investigating the establishment of an internship programme to introduce young people to fulfilling roles in our sector. The possibility is that volunteer participants could be involved in challenging and intellectually rewarding projects that could lead to meaningful careers or elected positions. We are looking for an indication of interest from like-minded association and charity executives who could join us in this initiative. Please get in touch via or call 09 419 0042 for a confidential initial discussion.