An important study on the Future of Work

by Michael Haberman on October 27, 2015 · 0 comments


The future of work is a wirearchy instead of a hierarchy.

The future of work is a wirearchy instead of a hierarchy.

I am away this week at an IBM #NewWaytoWork conference as an invited “Influencer” for my work writing about the future. For this week I am going to highlight a view posts that discuss some of the issues of mobility that we will be discussing at the conference.

This post appeared in February of 2015. I thought it was an important piece of work.

Rather than offering my opinion on some aspect of the Future of Work I wanted to make you aware of a 2014 report that I find fascinating. I think it is a study that each of you should read, and re-read, and re-read until its main points sink in. It will make you think. It will point out things that need to change. It will excite you yet disturb you. Or at least it should.

The study

The study was conducted by Bill Jensen of The Jensen Group. It is entitled Search for a Simpler Way: Future of Work Study © 2014. It involved a survey over a million people utilizing a team of consultants and futurists. From that work they developed three major points.

Point 1- Leadership

Leadership is responsible for holding back the future.  As they say “Too many leaders are willing to be out of sync with the needs of the workforce because embracing the future of work, including changing how companies are run, means higher risks, uncertainty and (perceived) loss of control of outcomes.” There needs to be an overhaul of business and work design. Unfortunately leaders and investors lack the courage to do so.

Point 2- Engagement

We totally have the wrong view of engagement. The study says “Engagement — and how we approach employees’ relationship with a company — is so horribly incomplete that it is dangerous to leaders who rely on it.” The traditional and current view of engagement is focused on what engagement does for the company and not on what it does for the employee. Employees say engagement should be where “They see companies as vehicles to achieve their goals and dreams —vehicles that can amplify their passions, achievements and community relationships beyond what they could have done on their own or elsewhere.” Currently 70% of employees say they are happy at this moment, and 69% believe in their own ability to achieve their dreams and 72% feel hopeful and optimistic about the future. But, and this is a big BUT, only 29% of employees feel they can achieve their dreams at their current workplace.

Point 3- Personal

According to the respondents of the study the hardest part of work of the future is in all the decisions that have to be made. The key to this is being able to make these decisions and having more courage and less fear, more authenticity and more self-awareness.

Jensen says to get started we just need to get started. Lead from where you are. He says “Have new and difficult conversations necessary to creating the future of work…”

We are encouraged to share this study. I encourage you to read it and like I said earlier, re-read it. Then live it. This is where the future of work is.


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