Employees will hate where the world is going.
Hire Stakeholders (they’ll love it)
We’ve talked a lot about the cultural damage of the Industrial Age. New studies are jumping on board suggesting that the workplace is headed in directions that will make “employees” and Industrial Age companies very unhappy.
The Evolving Workplace: Expert Insights is one such study. It has a technology bent to it, but does a great job of identifying where “work” and the “workplace” are headed. Some thoughts from, and about, the study:
Trend #1: Crowdsourcing and Crowdsource service – people will work from all over and some will never meet. Just-in-time labor will reduce the number of permanent employees. Productivity will become more important than hanging around the boss. 30% of Japan’s workforce is already crowd-sourced. The big elephant in the room is that kissing up to cover up for lousy productivity will be much harder for employees to do. The lazy guy w/ a great personality might actually have to start working.
Trend #2: Productivity measured in outputs, not hours – we call this a Results-based culture vs. Time-based culture. In our company we have no office hours, and no vacation or sick time. We expect people to produce, and then go play with their dog (or vice versa). This study says the whole world is moving in that direction. We believe it is because the Industrial Age taught us to trade time for money, but that in the post-modern economy, time is the new money. People want freedom from the 9-5 and will produce more if treated like adults who are in charge of their productivity.
Trend #5: Values versus rules – this trend highlights the importance of hiring people who reflect your values and who you can trust (since you’re no longer measuring time, but results). Stephen Covey conducted research which showed that employer/employee trust is one of the most valuable factors in someone being productive. Values, which guide and encourage personal initiative, will be more prevalent than Rules, which box people in, dull their thinking and keep them from innovating.
Trend #7: Employee-led innovation – when we lead with values and not rules, we turn employees (children who need to be told what to do, when, and where) into Stakeholders (adults). Stakeholders will take responsiblity for their time and will produce results without being monitored, and more importantly, will take responsibility for helping the company improve. They will come up with great ideas on how to move the company forward. Management won’t be telling employees what to do, the Stakeholders will be the innovators that move the company forward.
My favorite funny line from the report: “Strong resistance is expected from many parts of the labor force [to measuring output instead of hours]…. The gap will widen between the best workers and the worst in terms of opportunities and earnings, contributing to greater income inequality and therefore potential social unrest.”
In other words, a time-based culture lets people appear productive by simply having a car in the parking lot, and they will protest having been exposed as a drain on the company.
Going to work vs. working; Time-based vs. Results-based
The future doesn’t bode well for Industrial Age employees who don’t mind going to work (time-based), but don’t want to actually work while they are there (results-based). But it looks very bright for Stakeholders who want to “make meaning”, not just money, to take ownership, and get a life at the same time.
The world continues to shift in favor of those who want to do something, contribute, create, innovate, make meaning not money, and own their lives. It will encourage all of us to move from being employees to Stakeholders.