Article

Workers pick employer more than ever

The employers don't hand out the jobs anymore. The workers tout their talents. It was the technological revolution that helped cause the turnaround, as well as a different mindset in the younger generations, who value employability over loyalty. The ParkLane Insight group felt what was coming intuitively when it set up shop in 2002. It was resolute in modelling its operations on those changes, a model that resonates in the academic literature.

The world is changing at lightning speed, and organisations are forced to keep pace if they want to survive. The role of the employee is decisive in this, given that (prospective) employees ask why would I want to work for that employer? The individual has become the ‘disruptive’ force.

SELF-MANAGEMENT AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT

A little over two decades ago job-hoppers got a negative press. Today that has changed, and career self-management is easier. Word-of-mouth recommendations and the ‘old boys’ network’ were how vacancies were once advertised. These days information on job offers is widely available, and they circulate freely. The individual moves through the world independently. Employees are no longer dependent on authorities and organisations. And career self-management goes hand in hand with self-development, the starting point.

We are lived-experience experts with academic approval. Professor Ans De Vos (Antwerp Management School and University of Antwerp) states in her book, Careers in Movement - 10 Pointers for a Sustainable Career Policy, that the group addresses self development at the point of recruitment and in the context of cooperation. “Employees are very much at the helm of their own careers, and are actually given all the support they need through coaching, mentoring, training and tools.”

OFF THE LEASH: the Me inc.®’er (ME INCORPORATED)

It says in the introduction to the TriFinance interview book, How to Make a Career in Finance - The CFOs Explain, that the digital revolution has ‘unleashed’ the employee. TriFinance, a sister company of TriHD, has recognised the existence of the ‘new employee’ since its formation in 2002. It came up with the name: Me inc.® (me incorporated). The name stands for the person who trades on their own talents, skills, knowledge and career. A Me inc.®’er is always working on self-development and unfazed by virgin territory. He is intelligent, pragmatic and open to collaboration and knowledge sharing. A Me inc.®’er trusts his own knowledge and talents, and is ready to make his own decisions. He grasps opportunities as they arise, or creates them himself.

It is striking that conditioning can be more persistent than people's wishes and ambitions.

Pieter Smit, of the ParkLane Insight Leadership Team

The enterprising Me inc.®’er steers clear of overly hierarchical models of organisation and roles that threaten to enmesh him. This is why the ParkLane Insight group is set up as a flat-network organisation, with knowledge sharing as the rule. We are not a career-policy organisation, but we do create attractive prospects and suggest routes towards set goals, which can change more than once in a career.

Self-realisation is not something that an individual can do alone. Learning actually takes place through interaction with others and collaboration. Individuals are always a part of something bigger than themselves. We go by the motto: ‘There’s no me without we’. It's partly a matter of collaborating well, in a reciprocal manner. That means taking all of the participants’ viewpoints into consideration. This sort of thing works best when the right person in the right place automatically takes responsibility when needed. You can't encapsulate everything in structures and in guidelines.

JOB LANDSCAPE

It is not always easy to offer attractive prospects by matching the employee’s wishes and ideas with the challenges posed by the clients and the objectives set by the organisation. We get our fair share of frictional unemployment too, and we keep unearthing new ideas about how people can be offered longer prospects. Those progressive ideas give rise to new concepts, such as the recent ‘Job Landscape’, which gives Me inc.®’ers insight about present and future opportunities.

There are big differences between the generations in organisations, and it is striking that conditioning can be more persistent than people’s wishes and ambitions. We see this in young people too, a few of whom assume that the organisation they work for will promptly address their concerns. They move easily and quickly, and they expect their employer to do the same. Only that is not always the case, and the young employee may lack patience on occasion. Employees, the owners of their careers, used to be less conscious in their decision making. A person would spend an entire career with the same employer.

Only, loyalty to the employer is no longer a guarantee of job security. In our times Me inc.®’ers make conscious decisions and their careers move faster. That means that the old adage: ‘last in, first out’, no longer applies. In the place of loyalty, employability is the guarantee of job security. Employability drives value creation.