The convergence that puts people first
Over the last years, different trends and events have converged in a way that make it clear that people are the lifeblood of a business and should be valued as such. Unprecedented events like the Covid 19 pandemic that brought big changes overall, the Digital Revolution and, generational values, all lead to prioritizing people at work.
We have come a long way since people took a job “for life” for the basic need of security. With the Digital Revolution, what we are looking for in our jobs has shifted immensely. The Digital Revolution equipped us with the power to learn almost any skill online at a residual cost, for companies to recruit and work with people abroad and lowered the barrier of entry for entrepreneurs. This made us dream bigger: when we can learn almost any skill on YouTube, work from a beach café in Costa Rica and there is a rainbow of job opportunities, the sky is the limit. As a result, we have become more demanding of the work we dedicate to a third of our lives. We have put into perspective the concept of work and why we do it. It is no longer for survival, nor standard of living but to achieve quality of life.
You can no longer expect employees to be loyal to your company just because you offer a good salary, a good title, let alone merely a job. As a wellness coach, I work with many clients, often in prestigious companies, looking for a career change themselves. The mains reasons are: lack of purpose, they are burned out and want a better quality of life, toxic company culture and because they feel they are not learning anymore. The pandemic came and reinforced this trend as it reminded people of the importance of work-life balance. Many were confronted with the interconnectedness of the different areas of their life. They felt first-hand how anxiety or lack of connection at work could actually impact their health, joy or family life at home and vice versa. The Great Resignation is proof that employees are now willing to resign in search of a job that offers more meaning, flexibility, opportunities for growth that are aligned with their interests and wellbeing. As a result, the job market has reversed: it is no longer companies that chose talent but talent that chooses them. And this is why, if companies want to attract and retain top talent, they need to adapt to what people are looking for and focus on augmenting human intelligence rather than replacing it.
No matter how intelligent technology becomes it will always just do what you set it up for. Without humans technology cannot function. More importantly, we should not forget that technology is limited when it comes to taking big decisions, thinking creatively and expressing empathy. Three major factors for the success and differentiation of any business. Also, there are countless studies already that show the positive impact of employee happiness on staff costs, productivity, culture and sales. It is therefore vital for businesses to start focusing on this asset and to actively tackle problems such as quiet quitting, presenteeism, backbiting or mental health issues that have significant repercussions (both direct and indirect) on the business and company culture.
Happily, businesses are “waking up” to this issue. As a result, you see it at the heart of many discussions and conferences such as the recent Web Summit. It seems the future of work is finally becoming more focused on the human aspects namely: purpose, productivity, values, belonging, autonomy and more. It has become clear that companies who offer better working conditions but who also get down to seriously understanding and leveraging each of their employees’ unique individual talents, will be setting themselves up for success. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done and it remains to be seen whether companies at-scale will be able to do this.