The Age of the Employee - Understanding the Modern Concept
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Work culture in the present day has undergone a definitive shift. Traditionally, professional labour was understood as separate to one's passions or “hobbies” and certainly separate from one's personal life. The main objective of working was, to earn a healthy salary and account for long term security. That view, however, is now obsolete.
A good majority of people in the developed world today are constantly connected and can often work from anywhere. As a result, the separation between work and life has become increasingly narrow. Employees now view their careers as an investment of their time and effort and expect an environment where they can feel supported, their passions can be nurtured, and their contributions appreciated. They look for a workplace where the work they do, plays just as much of a role in their growth as it does in the growth of the company.
It is a fact knew that today’s employees face higher expenses, shorter tenures and less job stability. But an increasing number of them are willing to trade those in for factors to which they attach more value. They prefer flexible working hours; appreciate regular feedback from their leaders; enjoy collaborative work environments; gravitate towards opportunities that provide training and education, so they can expand and diversify their skills; look for engagements that afford clear paths for growth in their careers; and prefer to work on projects with definitive deadlines, over choosing daily jobs that may become monotonous. This shift wasn't random, it came about due to some very specific changes in our culturescape. The generation entering the workforce today experienced more flexibility, feedback and open conversation with their parents, and then transitioned into their work lives holding on to those as reasonable expectations. It’s not uncommon for employees today to take mental health days or paternity leave - concepts previously unheard of. But employers have started to make such necessary accommodations in order to stay relevant and continue to attract premium talent.
Creating a Modern Environment
Today’s An entrepreneur is working to create work environments that are engaging, nurturing, and stimulating for those they recruit. They are beginning to learn that if they equip their employees with the tools to enrich their lives, they will in turn readily contribute to the overall culture and success of the company. The workplace is more like a community working towards common goals and similar interests and aiding the individual chalk out their growth path.
Social media has also emerged to become a great tool in favour of new age employees Unlike the past blocked internet days and firewalls, companies now not only communicate, interact and highlight performance, but are ready to provide a forum where the employee can publicly speak out about their grievances, raise flags if necessary about workplace environments and issues, and hold their employers accountable. Employers are well aware of the damage that this could do and are willing to take the extra steps in ensuring that the needs of their employees are met.
Letting the Old Ways Come to an End
Some have even said goodbye to the classic appraisal method and adopting more modern methods of motivating, engaging and rewarding employees.
To keep up with the shift in employee expectations, it is imperative that employers create a space where their employees have more flexibility in structuring their workdays i.e. autonomy to function; Like we see a lot of companies doing away with the good old cabin culture, adopting more open, flexible and virtual working spaces, work from home options, national and global memberships of business centre memberships and the likes of that.
The next is to have more opportunity for exploration by creating a highly experiential platform with higher training budgets, creative incentive programs, and flexible individual learning wallets for self-development. This will propagate a culture where employees can excel and grow in their roles, through skills mastery - develop hard and soft skills to grow in their line of work, even learn a new language or sport, take self-defence lessons, or attend a leadership development program.
Creating an environment of involvement, encouragement, innovation, creativity, freedom to express, change management, empathy, and mindfulness will always translate to business and a strong brand in the market. One that is authentic and powerful.
Most importantly give them a reason to feel like the work they do is contributing to something bigger than just deadlines and the bottom line, i.e., meaning and purpose. Align their personal vision to one of the organisations’ and give them the emotional connect, maybe even their raison d'être.
None of these desires are necessarily new. What we’re seeing now are simply louder iterations of needs that are inherent to our very nature.