If you’re only future proofing your company for #MeToo, you’re doing it wrong.

The #MeToo movement shocked the country. It swept through our workplaces and brought to light workplace abuse in staggering numbers. It revealed the toxic cultures permeating some of the most reputed organizations, and in turn, it showed us how many were not appropriately prepared for the impacts of such a crisis. They had not future-proofed their workplaces because they were operating with the mindset that “it can’t happen to us.” 

Sexual harassment allegations are not the only reason to “future-proof” a company. A situation does not have to be a scandal or involve criminal allegations to warrant preparedness and crisis management. Of all S&P 500 consumer-centric companies 41 percent – nearly half –  have been acquired or gone out of business, since 2000. The culture shock of a merger, acquisition, or any period of rapid growth or decline can also have the ramifications of a crisis. Similarly, if a company is not prepared for their CEO to retire, a star employee to leave, or new technology to replace job functions, it can become a crisis even at a department level. To only prepare for the worst in future-proofing workplaces misses the point – actively doing our best.

To only prepare for the worst misses the point – actively doing our best.

An organization’s values should manifest themselves in its people and workplace culture. That culture should enable the necessary steps to future-proofing, such as open communication, skills training, career pathing, pay equity, etc, while preventing the behaviors that lead to crises. While change is inevitable, crisis doesn’t have to be.   

Traditional future planning – or succession management – often took place behind closed doors with select executive level leaders involved. Today people need to not only be included in the process but to know well ahead that their contributions are valued – both monetarily and emotionally. And the silver lining of the #MeToo movement is the thriving discussion around emotional intelligence and gender equality in the workplace. Overall, the reality is the changing world requires a new mindset and a modern workplace.

By 2025 millennials will make up three-quarters of the workplace, dominating our workforce.

By 2025 millennials will make up three-quarters of the workplace, dominating our workforce. As baby boomers retire, millennials will advance, and with this workforce change comes a new approach to business and leadership.

The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that 66 percent – two thirds – of millennials expect to change jobs within five years. Unlike their parents, they will not stay in the same organization for 25 years until retirement. With the cost of replacing key talent being up to two years of that person’s salary, the effect of frequent turnover on companies’ finances is draining. In order to get people to stay, you need to give people what they want and what they deserve. If you want people to invest in you, you have to invest in them. For millennials, this is the sum of the steps to future-proofing your workplace. If you want people to invest in you, you have to invest in them.

If you want people to invest in you, you have to invest in them.

We all want to be able to bring our full selves to work.  If you create workplace cultures where people are learning, growing, and feel connected to the organization’s values and purpose – and they believe they are being paid equitably – they will be less likely to take the call for a new opportunity. Alternatively, if you create a culture of mistrust that enables toxic behaviors rather than prevents them, people will be more likely to be disengaged, leave your firm, and less likely to share with you their future plans. 

To future-proof our organizations, we need to think comprehensively about our talent, our culture, and our business strategically as an integrated effort.  The answer to eliminating sexual harassment is not to hire only men, just as the answer to artificial intelligence is not to throw out our computers. Gender equality is necessary and advancing technology is inevitable, but it’s the way we prepare for and respond to changing needs that will determine the future success of our organizations. 

This article was originally posted on HR Technologist