People are looking for different things from work
We spend a lot of time working, many of us define who we are by the work we do. So, if the unspoken contract with employers has gone, what do people get from work beyond their take home pay? If there is no ‘job for life and a decent pension’ guarantee, what’s the motivation.
Where is our why?
Research suggests people are seeking out new motivations from work, new whys and this can explain the rise in what people are saying they want from work today:
- Recognition not just reward
The tangible certainties of the past are being replaced by more intangible motivations.
This shift may also be a counter balance the pace of change across all aspects of society. In a world where we feel less secure, less certain and more transient; are we looking to our work give our lives for a sense of belonging and contributing to something that matters?
But why should business care, do they really need to indulge the needs of these people, can’t they just be dismissed as the unrealistic demands of needy millennials?
I believe people and relationships are at the heart of successful working, so these new motivations and expectations are important because;
If you want to attract and retain the best talent in an age of mobility and low loyalty then you need to meet the expectations of the new workforce, hence the rise in the idea of the ‘age of the employee’. Finding and keeping staff is always near the top in business surveys of big challenges, especially in high skill areas like tech.
If we believe what people say about what they are seeking from work today, then the salary package and a funky office will not be enough. Businesses really need to think about how it feels to work as part of their team, opportunities they offer for genuine collaboration and most importantly help their people understand the meaningful impact of what they do.
Businesses cannot afford to ignore how engaged their people are — key to gaining competitive advantage. There is a growing issue of presentism and ghosting draining productivity. The UK has a well documented productivity issue, higher engagement is one way of tackling this. The Gallop Global Workforce Survey has shown year in and year out how important engagement is in helping a business outperform its competitors.
We are in a period of massive change. This is a challenge to businesses. Tech, social and political turmoil, globalisation, market disruption makes business more unstable than ever. You need a workforce that can adapt and be flexible and resilient.
In the old world of work you could largely ignore levels of engagement, staff were primarily employed to perform tasks to a set pattern. People acquired and refined the skills needed to perform these tasks and with experience were able to do so with increasing ease. This model requires less engagement.
In a period of rapid change, market disruption, new technology and political turmoil, a business and its people need different mindsets in order to thrive.