I'm a big fan of audio learning programs. I recently listened to an interview with Vic Conant of Nightingale-Conant talking about the shift in their program sales. In the 80s and 90s, program sales were dominated by corporate names like Tom Peters and Warren Bennis. Since the early 2000s, there's been a significant shift to programs for those wanting to be entrepreneurs and in charge of their own destiny. This whole trend of "Brand You" has been going on for more than a decade now, posing a significant challenge for today's companies. With the aging and shrinking workforce, we're going to have less available talent. Given future economic uncertainty, more and more of the remaining available talent will opt to work for themselves. The question becomes this: What can we offer the best and brightest that will convince them it's in their best interest to work for us rather than for themselves?
Here are some of the reasons why many of the best want to work for themselves:
• The perception of greater financial security. This holds true even though most start-up businesses fail.
• Control over where their career is going.
• The ability to create a flexible work experience.
• Working only with people they choose to.
• The potential for full creativity.
• A lack of office politics, nepotism, or complaints about the expense report.
• Access to Internet, franchising, network marketing, and software tools that make it easier to work for yourself than ever before.
In a sense, these workers are willing to swap the security of a paycheck for the lure of personal and financial freedom.
To help the employer's cause, I'd recommend these guidelines:
• Open your books. Treat employees like owners. Look at The Great Game of Business.
• Work with them to map out their careers.
• Provide flexibility: Flexible hours, reduced hours, job sharing, telecommuting, etc.
• Let them provide input on who comes on the team. HR That Works users should see the Co-Employee Applicant Appraisal Form.
• Give them permission to be creative. In fact, require them to give monthly suggestions on how they can do their job better or differently. See the Employee Suggestion Form.
• Reduce the drama. No whiners, no jerks. Otherwise, all you end up with are drama kings and queens. Hire and promote based on competencies and don't put up with irresponsibility.
• Use today's technologies to help employees increase their productivity — and pay!