After two extraordinary years, we wait for 2022 with some anxiety and a lot of hope. We know that big change is round the corner. By now we have read, heard, and scrolled ten thousand LinkedIn posts about it. Yet, we are unclear on how we should prepare for 2022.
Let us take a tentative peep round the corner and identify what 2022 is about to bring and what it is leaving behind.
What is in? What is out?
In: Upfront cash.
Out: Complex, long term retention schemes.
In a sellers’ market, attraction takes priority over retention. It is simple. You cannot retain people that you don’t have. Bringing people into the door is top priority. Of course, attracting people is an outcome of many factors. But don’t overcomplicate it. The world is changing fast. Everyone knows it. Maximizing the value now is top of mind. People are betting on their future more than the future of the companies they join.
We were already clear that hierarchy and position are not viable levers for real leadership. We were learning to lead through expertise and knowledge. Sadly, that is not going to work anymore. When your job is to lead cloud experts, ML gurus, data scientists and git hub geeks, there is no way you can ‘out-knowledge’ or ‘out-expert’ them. They are themselves trying to either stay updated or create knowledge. And, they don’t have the time and patience to work with leaders that require time and effort to manage. Leaders that have a character that evokes trust, courage and curiosity are the ones that experts want to work with.
Out: Work-Life Balance
The hottest subject, for the longest time, on planet corporate, was ‘work-life balance.’ Life and work were perceived to be segregated and mutually exclusive. It was a zero-sum game. To have more life, you need to have less work. We actively disintegrated life into ‘life’ and ‘work.’ When you ‘went’ to work, you dressed ‘professionally’ — you became a different self. In your ‘hours of work,’ it was ‘unprofessional’ to do ‘personal’ stuff.
During the last two years, we realized that life was not meant to be that way. We realized that a disintegrated life was the source of stress and a problem for mental health. Life was meant to have a purpose as a whole. Baking cookies is as much as a purposeful part of our lives as is attending meetings. We had purpose statements for companies we worked in, but not for ourselves.
We are now ready to integrate work into our lives and not balance it separate from our lives. An integrated life — a source of mental health — includes purposeful work, relationships, curiosity, learning, sport and more.
“I want to be a leader of teams.” This desire has burned in the hearts of so many corporate aspirants. The visualization of leadership has mostly existed on dimensions of size. Volume. Bigger budget. More geography. More people. This is an outcome of decades of ‘management’ thinking. If you are a manager, you need to manage. And if you become senior, you need to manage more.
Creation is more valuable now than management. Building teams that create is more valuable than managing teams. People join companies where the nature of work is uplifting, smart and market leading.
What you do is more important than how much you do. Staying current, preferably ahead is more important than sitting on the top of a hierarchy.
In: Designing Experiences
Out: Measuring Engagement
Think about retiring the phrase, “Hire to retire.” Think about “Attract” to “Alumni.”
In the journey from ‘Attract to Alumni,’ thoughtfully designing employee experience in ‘moments that matter’ is in sync with the notion that the employee is as much a consumer as a resource.
Traditional methods of measuring engagement are too employer and manager centric. They are predicated on the idea that the employee is a managed resource: the belief that an engaged employee will provide more ‘discretionary effort.’
A creative, 360 re-design of employee experience in crucial moments will uplift HR and the employee.