Traditionalists vs. Contemporaries

Tim Leberecht at Matter/Anti-Matter points to an Economist article:

A survey by the Centre for Work-Life Policy, an American consultancy, found that between June 2007 and December 2008 the proportion of employees who professed loyalty to their employers slumped from 95% to 39%; the number voicing trust in them fell from 79% to 22%. A more recent survey by DDI, another American consultancy, found that more than half of respondents described their job as “stagnant”, meaning that they had nothing interesting to do and little hope of promotion. Half of these “stagnators” planned to look for another job as soon as the economy improved. People are both clinging on to their current jobs, however much they dislike them, and dreaming of moving when the economy improves. This is taking a toll on both short-term productivity and long-term competitiveness: the people most likely to move when things look up are high-flyers who feel that their talents are being ignored.

A drastic fall.  It’s only going to get worse for organizations as traditionalist leaders meet contemporary workers. Leberecht writes:

These are all measures that will very likely deter Generation Y workers, the digital natives who have grown up with the Internet and expect organizations to provide them with much more ambiguity and empowerment than these (companies) were willing to give to their parents. For the Gen Y’ers, Work is no longer just what you do; Work is another way of Life – a meaningful life. It implies a Work-Life package that reconciles passion and profession, meaning and earning, impact and income. A good job is what you believe in – as long as you can abandon it at will. Sure, Work has become invasive, but so has Life, as work performance is being constantly disrupted by the micro-events in one’s digital life feed (email, Twitter, blogging, social networks, etc.). Companies need to learn to convert this distraction into productivity. In fact, this might be the biggest management challenge for the next ten years: Learning how to leverage the tools of distraction to increase productivity – and happiness.

Making an organization the best place to work (really making it the best place to work…) is no small task, but one that will be rewarded.  Figuring out how to integrate social media tools is but one important step.  Work for so long has crept into life, it’s good to see life creeping back into work.

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