Are you providing the environment and support for your employees to be ready for the changing environment of the Future of Work?
Last week, I wrote about the high level impacts and components that are impacting the future of work. This week, we will explore your employees, that are following the path to have a stable work career but are being affected by the rapid change in the way we live, work and play.
Life expectancy is growing at a rapid rate with health and technological advances. For the boomers and many in the X-generation, the path forward was having one career, in a specific function or company which was very linear. However, the work environment and how individuals think have changed the trajectory of what a career looks like. As a leader, you adapt to change through your own motivations and drive to sustain and move your company forward. This mindset is not shared by most of your employees or staff. They are there for a stable JOB to support their families and lifestyles. As a leader, as change happens and employees no longer have the skill(s) set to run your company, you displace them. The impact on these individuals is devastating, emotionally and financially. These employees were taught to do good work and stay in one place to provide continuity for their companies and stability for themselves.
These employees have developed a loyalty to your company, as each year goes by. They also get comfortable with the status quo and are probably the least adaptable to change. Their engagement is high if you don’t make massive changes but they are also the biggest dissenters as they feel the pressure of their little world crumbling away. However, leaders need to think about keeping them and engaging them as they move forward. Loyalty is something you can’t buy through a paycheck. It happens over time through years of working, in a company, that supports the employee’s motivations for working. Relationships solidify the loyalty through understanding the individual and stability over the years. As we know, in today’s day and age, the younger generation does not stay in one company or job very long and they are in fact, guided to have multiple experiences, so they are well rounded. The boomers and X-generations were always taught to be in one place otherwise you don’t have the ability to follow through and be a good worker. So, they put their heads down and stuck around and in turn became complacent. However, many of them are still great workers but don’t have the motivation or understanding of how to change to keep up with the times. They are soft wired in how they think and you have the ability to impact their mindset.
In high school and college, we had school counselors who helped us navigate our skill sets, likes and subjects. We would take tests to understand what we were good at and what subjects we would need to take to have certain types of jobs. This counselor was separate from the person in the main office that would deal with school issues, attendance, etc. Their sole purpose was to help guide us as we took a step forward on our path (not all of them were good!) As we adapt to the future of work, we need to look at the structure of our companies and make some drastic changes. Now, everything to deal with an employee sits in HR. However, HR has become a very process driven organization versus a human driven organization. Due to the nature of laws, there are so many policies in place that everyone becomes a box and can’t bring their entire self to the organization. (This is a whole other topic for another day.) There is no one in HR or a company, that truly works with individual employees to look at the future of their career in a company and helps them adapt.
Companies should be creating a new department with work counselors. Their sole purpose is to work with employees as movement happens in the market and therefore inside the company. The counselors work with individual employees to understand what skill sets they currently have and match them to future roles. In the meantime, as new roles are being created these employees are trained by the company with the support of keeping their job if they can adapt, to their new stability. This allows the loyal and experienced employee to continually be engaged with the company and not miss a beat. This creates a deeper sense of purpose for the individual and provides the benefit of prior knowledge and a cost savings to the company. Instead of spending the money looking externally for the skill set you build the skill set in house with the right employees that you can train to do new and different jobs based on their prior skill set and personality. Employees want their employers to support this on their journey versus going about it alone. As business leaders, we know the change is coming and need to bring the human element to our employees. Employees are beginning to understand their own paths and if a company can support them in their journey they will benefit. Take advantage of loyalty, experience, cost savings and a powerhouse of knowledge right in your backyard to move your company forward as the future of work manifests for each of us.
What programs and processes do you have in place to help support navigating your employees to the future?
Eve of Disruption – A weekly series depicting what the future fabric of our society could look like and ideas that could propel your company forward. There is a changing paradigm in how we live, work and play. Are you and your organization moving with the times and adapting to the massive and rapid changes happening right now? The Eve of Disruption looks at ideas that could be 5 – 10 years in the future but most likely will happen in the blink of an eye.
Contact Urvi for a free 30 minute consultation to see how she could infuse the innovation mindset into your organization and help you move to the future.