Monday, October 14, 2013

Transit Card? Yes Please!

I have just finished a series of Ted Talks all based on the idea of the workplace; where are employees the most productive? How can businesses be good at solving social problems? What makes you feel good about your work? With the inevitable and seemingly prolonged return back to the States I can’t help but, as any good OCD job-seeker may be, start thinking about how the workplace has changed since I left it over a year ago and what I can do to be better prepared to reenter it. Though the following topics may seem obvious to some of you it is important that we take time to remember what makes our employees happy since they are the ones that make a successful business.

The office is changing. This is something that you read in those articles that feature the top employers of the year that just leaves you wishing you worked for that company and in turn only points out how your employer is in fact nothing like any on the featured list. Like former Apple mogul taught us, if you need to have a meeting go for a walk. Nothing quite like a walk stimulates blood flow resulting in more creative thinking leading to innovative ideas and you can’t help but think you couldn’t come up with these same ideas in a more typical office setting. Are you more productive in the early morning before the office is full of all those people who bounce from cubicle to cubicle set out to ruin your train of thought? Great! Come in at six and you can leave by 3pm.  These are just simple, conceivable, examples of the changing office setting into less micro-managed spaces having more faith in the employee.

Businesses are working for social change; not merely a kindhearted task anymore but sort of an expected responsibility. More and more conversations are being geared towards nonprofits alone not having enough resources to make a large impact on social matters and these responsibilities shifting to be shared with the for-profit community. Non-profits are tied down by donors with restrictions on what they can use funds for, often excluding administrative costs, when in fact administration costs are inevitable and necessary with any successful business be it for-profit or not. So not only do we see these 501(c)(3) organizations adapting but also we are seeing the private sector stepping up and making a big difference in big social problems.

As expected, employers are requiring new skills from its employees resulting with the millennial generation being more tech savvy and adaptable than any of its previous generations. You are no longer considered a notable candidate for a position if you merely have Microsoft Office listed as a skill on a resume. HTML is being taught as early as middle school and writing code will be the new skill requested among employers to any given employee. As technology increases so must our knowledge of technology.

Typical day at the office! (After an agriculture training in village)
An interesting topic that I ran into was the idea of benefits. People are no longer, and I am not even sure they ever were, motivated purely by salary. People like to feel appreciated, acknowledged and respected. There was as study that had various people building works of art with Lego’s and after something was built they were asked if they wanted to build another work. Individuals were more willing to build again after their first piece of work was acknowledged versus just torn down immediately. Would you want to build another dinosaur if the one you just built was torn apart before you were even acknowledged for what you had done? The same goes for work. I am not saying that managers need to praise us every step of the way but gratitude and appreciation can go further than financial rewards. This idea also stretches into the form of benefits where employers are compensating employees in more ways than just financial compensation; in the form of flexible working hours, daycare vouchers, cell phone plans, transportation vouchers or gym memberships.

So what is the new employee look like to fit this new working environment? They share the passion of the company they work for. They want to feel like they are making a difference and feel appreciated even if they are working for a for-profit giant. They are motivated by more than mere salary since, after all, money doesn’t buy happiness. They are forever seeking higher education be it with a formal education or weekend Ted Talks. They are evolving for the better, just like businesses today.

And remember employee of the future, it is not a mutually exclusive choice to do good for yourself or do good for the world. Both are possible.



A French Connection Copyright © 2011 -- Template created by O Pregador -- Powered by Blogger