We are living through a revolution. In years to come this period will be studied, picked apart, analysed, reviewed and commented upon in much the way that the Industrial Revolution is studied today. The old rule book is being ripped up. New rules are being written every day. Its exciting and scary and in no place is this more keenly felt than in the jobs market.
Jobs for life are a distant memory. There was a time when you left education, got a job and stayed with that employer until you retired. That is almost impossible to comprehend today. Research has suggested the latest wave of graduates will average between 3 and 5 career changes in their working lives. The British Government is to scrap the default retirement age in 2011. We are all living longer and working longer and working practices are changing rapidly.
I met with a client yesterday, an incredibly successful, dynamic, profitable, fast growing business. There are no fixed working hours. You can come and go as you please. I don’t think I have ever met a happier, more committed group of employees. Google has its 20% time. It has had it since the day it began. Each employee can dedicate one day per week to whatever project they want. This is where Google gets its innovation from. I know of employers who offer no fixed holidays. You have a set of objectives to deliver, how and when you deliver them is entirely at the discretion of the employee.
Freelance working is booming in the UK. A recent survey from http://www.PeoplePerHour.com evidenced more than half of small businesses interviewed used freelance workers at last once a month. The earnings of freelancers have grown tenfold in the last 12 months, with each freelancer averaging take home pay of £2000 per month. Home working is on the rise. People are demanding more flexibility from employers, they wish to be treated like adults. Our systems of work that are so dependent on the structures placed upon us by the education systems of generation Xers is being challenged by the expectations of generation Y. This disruptive challenge is creating innovation in employee engagement. Take Zappos, one of the most succesful retailers on the planet. Have a look at the core values frog to understand how to genuinely engage with your people and build a great company at the same time.
A conversation recently with a successful company owner highlighted the challenges employers are facing. He has had his company for 20 years. It has operated very successfully in this time but is now really struggling to attract the talent it needs to realise its future ambitions. This is a recent challenge, but they have not changed how they go about attracting and engaging with talent. They are doing the same things today as they did 20 years ago and are struggling to understand why they are unable to meet the talent needs the organisation requires. That adage if you always do what you always did you always get what you always got no longer applies. You need to really understand what your employer brand represents today and both what you want it to represent and what it needs to represent in the future.
The right people are your greatest asset. Think long and hard about how you attract, retain and engage with them. The rules have changed, the times have changed. Historically in a market with high unemployment the balance of power rests with the employer. This is no longer the case. If you want to attract the very best talent to your organisation think differently. Long live change.