As we look to the future of work, corporate culture is starting to take center stage. Employees are prioritizing values alignment, inclusive work environments, personal growth, authenticity, and a sense of purpose in their careers. Ignited by the pandemic, we find ourselves amidst a revolution that ceases to compartmentalize work and life, and demands from our employers more than just a pay check.
One size fits all is no longer viable
Personalization, flexibility and choice are becoming non-negotiable in retaining valuable employees. Companies need to understand people on an individual level. Corporate culture is transforming from a rigid concept into a dynamic, ever-evolving experience that adapts to the diverse values, preferences, and life priorities of employees.
We commonly acknowledge the differences among generations. Those Tik Tok videos come to mind where Millennials watch Gen Z’s in awe for leaving jobs because “the vibe was off”). However, it is essential to recognize that even within a peer group of the same age, individuals possess distinct needs, values, and expectations from their jobs. (If you have children, you’re well aware of how quickly your priorities can shift. Heck, I’ve seen people whose entire lives changed after getting a dog. I am one of those people.
Our age and other demographic factors do not define us; instead, it is our individuality that drives our motivations and influences what we seek in our careers. Understanding and embracing this diversity is crucial for employers and organizations. It goes beyond simply categorizing individuals or assuming commonalities among them based on external factors. By recognizing individuality and our values, employers of the future will develop a more nuanced understanding of their employees and tailor their approaches to meet their diverse needs effectively.
Here is just one stat on the importance of flexibility: according to a recent report, a lack of flexibility is one of the top reasons why women are leaving their jobs, with many saying that it’s more about when they work rather than where. Sixty-seven percent of women in highly flexible work arrangements say they plan to stay at their company for more than three years, versus just 19% of women who have no flexibility.
The need for upskilling the right skills
With the rapid advancement of AI, it is imperative to shift our focus towards nurturing and emphasizing what makes us uniquely human, rather than deriving our value solely from productivity and output. As AI technology continues to gain prominence, the concept of pinpointing our value becomes increasingly crucial. By embracing and developing our inherent human qualities, we can position ourselves in roles that complement AI rather than competing against it.
During his Gloat Live 2022 keynote, Al Gore spotlighted upskilling and reskilling as key pillars to creating a more sustainable future of work. “On one hand, millions of people are unemployed, but on the other, there are rapidly evolving skill needs that remain unfilled. The missing link is a clear pathway to reskilling, upskilling, and an understanding of where skills lie.”
90% of leaders are actively experimenting with skills-based strategies. Creative thinking, user-centric design, analytical thinking, curiosity, resilience, motivation, and self-awareness are poised to take center stage in the eyes of forward-thinking employers. These strengths will allow employees to adapt to a rapidly evolving landscape of emerging technologies and new trends, enabling organizations to stay agile and responsive.
The desire to bring our Best Self to work
More than 1 in 2 employees think their current role doesn’t make good use of their skills. This observation has fuelled a growing movement that prioritizes mental and emotional hygiene, specifically in the workplace. It’s understandable considering the significant space our jobs take up in our lives. No longer wanting to compartmentalize work and life, we look for the conditions that allow our best self to show up in the workplace too.
We yearn to unleash our full potential and make a profound impact with our individual talents and gifts that are unique to ourselves. It’s a quest that goes beyond career redefinition; it’s about redefining how we show up in the world. Yet, often, we are denied the space to explore and discover ourselves. Time constraints, external pressures, lack of resources, and self-doubt hold us back.
Nevertheless, a powerful desire to stop compromising drives us forward. Our pursuit extends beyond financial gain. With a clearer understanding of our individual strengths, talents and skills, we can articulate the conditions we require to thrive and show up authentically. Feeling valued and accepted for who we are and the contributions we bring becomes non-negotiable on our journey of self-realization. As such, we will look for employers to want the same for us.