Monday, March 5, 2012

Do your job define who you are?

“If you are unhappy in your work, you are unhappy in your life.”  - Rodney Lowman, 1996 (author of The Clinical Practice of Career Assessment)

The way people live and interact with society and their material world is structured around work. In a truly globalised market-place, work opportunities are too diverse, too numerous and shifting too fast to be bundled neatly into career packages with precise focus. Labour experts predict that five to ten careers during one’s working life will become the norm. This implies adaptation to new working environments and continual skill and knowledge building for individuals. The responsibility for developing and managing his or her career to maintain employability and attain satisfaction and enjoyment will rest on the individual.

With the steady move away from secure employment it has become increasingly important that individuals and organisations find ways of getting the best from each other without the traditional or guaranteed employment relationship.

The job-loss trend is continuing, even within large organisations that have traditionally stood for job stability. Yet individuals are still looking for secure jobs, and employers continue looking for ways to retain employees, despite the fact they cannot provide any guarantees of ongoing employment.

Many people occupy jobs they don’t like, and organisations spend millions training and motivating staff they already have, in the hope of generating committed, hardworking and collaborative employees.

Employers still want motivated and focused employees who can make a real contribution. They need employees who know what they want, are doing jobs they are good at, will fit into the organisation, who will take responsibility for their own development and contribution and for the feedback required to manage it. They also want employees who will display high levels of emotional intelligence evidenced by interdependence, self-control, persistence and the ability to motivate themselves. Despite the inability of corporations to provide job security, they still want committed and loyal workers (Bramley, 2001).

Employees increasingly want to make a significant contribution. They too see the changes in the workplace, the need to be employable rather than employed, to be a vendor of their services, and to develop resilience in the face of change and challenge. They want to do what they love doing in fields that interest them, be recognised for their abilities, and to be joint partners in productivity. Employees increasingly want a better life balance, and want to enjoy what they do.

It is obvious that results are the bottom line in business. It is often said that people are the greatest asset in achieving the required results. The answer has to be to get workers at all levels to do things that excite them and then use them optimally to the benefit of the organisation. Much natural challenge has been stifled in the formal workplace, and many employees have been lulled into a sense of dependency (Bramley, 2001).

Career and life/work planning asks three basic questions:

  •   Who are you?
  •   Why do you exist? 
  •   Where are you going?

Organisations and senior management need to be aware of the evolving realities of the world of work. By keeping abreast of developments they can maintain the competitive advantage and proactively plan to draw in the required human capital. People management professionals must focus on career planning for individuals and ensure the employability of their clients. They must work closely with senior management to align the people management strategy with the business strategy of the organisation. In short, people management must redefine its role in the evolving relationships around work where the motives of the employer must be spelt out clearly and where employees need to identify with their work.

Source: Bramley, A. 2000. New tools in the workplace. Presentations at the University of Stellenbosch Graduate School of Business during a lecture on the People Management module of the MBA programme.

No comments:

Post a Comment