The cover story on the February issues of Fast Company Magazine discusses Generation Flux and addresses the changing work model; specifically to be successful we must learn to thrive in chaos. They describe Generation Flux as “… less a demographic designation than a psychographic one…a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates–and even enjoys–recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions.“ One of my favorite quotes in the article comes from the CMO at GE, Beth Comstock, who says “our traditional teams are too slow. We’re not innovating fast enough. We need to systematize change.” This is validated by the success that small nimble companies are having in the area of Social Media and Mobile App Development. I hear terms like lean start-up, pivot, and crowd sourcing associated with new companies, not the Fortune 1000. This got me to thinking. Is the traditional, large corporate model losing its footing as “the way to do business” or “the ideal kind of company to work for.”? Below I have identified a find few other trends and shifts in business and employment models. I welcome your observations and comments.
Trend #1 – If you are over 45, someone can do your job cheaper. Since wisdom and experience do not show up on the corporate balance sheet, it’s easy to look at this group as an unnecessary expense; their salary and benefit packages cost too much. Many in this group have been laid off and will not find the same job in another company. They will be forced to learn new skills and work for an SMB – Small Medium Business as the large corporate structures retool and redefine themselves with a younger workforce. (See “Age Discrimination”)
Trend #2 – The 24 hour work day. With proliferation of technology and low cost global communication it is getting easier for people to do their critical work duties far beyond 8:00am Eastern time to 5:00pm Pacific time. As a result, business culture will shift from rewarding those who put in extra hours for the “team” to those that can get better results in less time. When it is easy for anyone to work 12+ hour days I hope we quit wearing it like a badge of honor. The badge of honor goes to the people who get more results with less time. Besides, putting in long hours is an idea associated with the industrial era, not the knowledge era. (See “Sleepless in Silicon Valley”)
Trend #3 – Value for multiple jobs on your resume. Do you recall being warned not to “job hop?” This has changed to where employers look for skill building that may take the form of several different companies on your work history. According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, “the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.4 in January 2010.”
With this trend, I hope we see a change in employer language and expectations about “permanent positions.” What is a permanent position in today’s climate; 3 to 5 years? Who are we kidding? How can an employer say “we’re looking for someone for the long hall” when they know they need someone now and have no idea what the future holds.
Trend #4 –Become a Linchpin. In his book Lynchpin, Seth Godin describes changes in the corporate business model as the industrial age gives way to the digital age. He tells us that the person that is most employable is either an artist (creative), innovative, a connector of people or a combination of the three. With these skills you are often the key person (linchpin) on projects as you are indispensible. Leadership comes to you for the big important projects because you are very valuable (and you get results).
Trend #5 – I am responsible. For my healthcare, retirement, career path, and continuing education. How will we prepare the workforce for this? Some will take to it, but many others will need help. What kind of new business model will spring up? Or, do we have an existing model to fill the gap? I see staffing firms as a part of the solution. These firms can help many of us get the next project as our current project winds down. They can also be a source of benefits such as healthcare, retirement, paid vacation and continuing education. If we are not associated with a staffing firm then we must think like a contractor and always be looking for our next project within the company.
Events worth Attending
3/2/12 Social Media & Leadership
3/6/12 HBO Premier “Game Change”
3/8/12 Angel Investing Trends
3/9-3/12 South by Southwest Interactive
3/11-6/17 The Age of Impressionism
3/13/12 The Rivalry between Biz & Gov
3/20/12 Career Pathing in ’12 & Beyond
3/21/12 Membership in the Digital Age
3/21/12 SXSW Recap @DigitalDallas
3/22/12 Creatives in DFW Event
3/27/12 Mobile Apps, the Next Big Wave
3/27/12 Last Tuesday @ The Ritz
3/31/12 Membership in the Digital Age