Staggering numbers of people around the world are quitting their jobs in search of more meaning from their work. In 2020 the pandemic disrupted industries and ways of working but in 2021 has led to a massive reset in formal employment. What’s driving this? On one hand, working from home saves time which managers expect to increase productivity. However, employees feel that blurred boundaries mean they have more to deal with and expect higher levels of trust from their employers.
This is leading to widespread breakdown in the traditional employment model. Most employment contracts don’t cater for new ways of working, compounded by these increased expectations on the relationship. And the data is clearly showing that employees are voting with their feet. A hundred year event in the history of employment is becoming a flood of attrition – and traditionally minded organisations might not recover.
By contrast, progressive employers have quickly adapted, taking advantage of the disruption to lead from the front. Most of the newly unemployed are turning up at the doorsteps of these forward thinking firms. Once seen as unnecessarily radical just a decade ago, today they are harvesting the cream of the Great Resignation. They are focused on providing meaningful work environments instead of getting their lawyers to add extra clauses in employment contracts.
Modern enterprise is credited with much of much of the world’s economic success in the last hundred years, and management’s “hierachy, control and primacy of shareholder interests” is what drove that success.
But ironically, this is exactly what might lead to the undoing of modern enterprise in an increasingly complex and volatile world – which has only been accelerated by COVID. Progressive management gurus like Gary Hamel have long called for organisations to “reinvent the means of control and reduce fear and trust.”
So what can be done? What are progressive organisations doing to build the bridge across the COVID-increased expectations between employer and employee? One thing is empower workers with increased access to world class content that helps them learn new skills and solve problems. Create a learning culture in your organisation where employees are encouraged to gain new skills and be empowered to help drive and co-create much needed change.
Udemy is the world’s biggest online learning platform and offers top rated courses on a wide range of topics. Employees from over 9,000 enterprise customers can access a subset of these courses through a subscription model that their employers pay for. According to CEO Greg Coccario, Udemy Business is seeing “increasing demand for upskilling and reskilling in workplaces around the world … and Udemy is well-positioned to provide the critical skills people need to succeed in today’s workplace. Having recently listed on the Nasdaq, Udemy’s results are now public and they recently reported 84% year on year revenue growth in the business segment of their market.
This is evidence that employers are taking action to put empowerment back in employment. Instead of doubling down on clock-watching, email-monitoring and micro-management they are driving meaning, learning and trust. They should be the ones to succeed.