I was seated alongside a young girl during my recent business travel. Our conversation commenced on the deteriorating quality of service in airlines and moved on to the aspirations of the contemporary generation. She was a final year student of a prominent management school in the country; I was more than inclined to understand her aspirations and views of her generation about employment.
While I had some questions, she retorted with more incisive queries in reaction. She asked me about my first promotion; when I conveyed that it happened four years after I had joined the job, she was taken aback. “FOUR YEARS? And then, a promotion!”
“And by the way, when was the next promotion after that?”
I gathered some strength to say, “Four Years”
The response was instant, “Oh my God! I cannot wait that long. That’s half of our lifetime. I would change 2-3 jobs by that time.”
I had lips under my teeth. Thankfully, she did not know that I had been wedded to a single organization for almost two decades now.
Timely arrival of the air hostess brought some relief for me, as I asked for coffee.
During my training, Employee Lifetime Value was injected into our blood and soul. Ages seemed to had passed after that. The hitherto sought-after loyalty and the lifetime had squeezed in timescale, perhaps.
In Scent of a Woman, the Academy Award winner for best acting Al Pacino, portraying as a blind retired Army officer invites Donna, a young woman waiting for her date for a dance. Upon her reply that her date would be arriving in few minutes, the Colonel asserts, famously now, “Life can be lived in an instant”. A spectacular tango followed thereafter on the dance floor.
The floors are now everywhere. Instant gratification has become the new ‘life’ and being explored every instant. The new age workforce is seeking sooner rewards and fuller life, resulting in newer models of boundaryless work. Organizations - of all capacities and capabilities - would have a mixed workforce that would comprise regulars, contingent workers, crowd, machines and the gig workers. The messiahs and the masses equally would have to device inclusive strategies to have share of the pie – that is, the loyalty of the workforce. With battles aplenty, the war is on. Loyalty, now, is being lived (or leveraged) every instant!
Randstad Insights, 2018 say that the gig economy is becoming an attractive alternative. As per an estimate by Mckinsey, the US and Europe have a population of over 160 million gig workers; and the number is increasing.
Exclusivity of talent could soon become redundant as we visualize a consistent flow of quality workers willing to move across organizations. With opportunities galore, the span of loyalty - the act of binding oneself intellectually or emotionally to a course of action – has evolved for the quality workers. High fidelity (Hi-fi) is now being overtaken by Wireless fidelity (Wi-fi). With no strings attached, we are apparently graduating to a newer environment where the permanence in any affair is going to be history. Shorter tenures in a dynamic work landscape is going to be the reality for talent.
The girl sitting next to me aspired to be one such talent. She soon took out her cellphone and asked for my contact coordinates. I asked her what would she do with that. She was honest (or do I say, loyal) enough to state that she would share it with a friend who was looking for a long-term job opportunity.
It was a happy feeling to note that such souls existed. My previous thoughts on quality versus loyalty were perhaps flimsy. I was smiling at heart to know that quality workers still exhibited loyalty in the Modern Times.
I reaffirmed from her that her friend was in the same B school, she was again prompt to inform me, “Yes, she is; but she does not score well and barely manages to pass; hence, she is looking for a long-term employment. Hope you can help.”
It was a painful prick that I swallowed along with the bun. She had blown the clarion for me to revisit my confounded belief in the not just volatile but Disruptive Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous (DUCA) world. Any accompanists?