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New worker phenomenon presents challenges

Whether people personally lost a job or not, the downsizing of the ’80s and ’90s has created a paradigm shift in the way people view their work life and manage their careers.

These days, most workers aren’t looking for thirty years of job security with one organisation – they are instead taking responsibility for their own careers and focusing on opportunities for personal development to ensure they achieve career security.

This liberated workforce has created a host of new employment opportunities for itself including flexi-time, contract and consulting job alternatives and even the existence of a ‘virtual office.’

A new worker is emerging – one who has redefined traditional concepts of loyalty, job satisfaction and career advancement.

In many ways the result of downsizing and an upsurge of outsourcing, this ‘emergent’ worker spans all age groups and industries.

‘Emergent workers’ are more concerned with gaining a variety of new employment experiences and opportunities for mentoring and growth.

Visibly responsible for their own careers, emergent workers have more positive views about job change and are more confident about their marketability.

According to the Saratoga Institute, the world’s leading source of quantitative human performance data and assessment, a majority of today’s companies are still ‘traditional’.

In these traditional control and command organisations, employees must wait their turn to move up the career ladder and they are given only the amount of information needed to do their jobs.

While traditional employees enjoy the security and predictability of this environment, emergent employees feel understimulated.

The emergent worker who demands opportunities for personal growth, takes responsibility for his/her own career and is comfortable with change is sure to seek greener pastures in this scenario.

At first glance, one might surmise that emergent workers are potentially less loyal and more likely to ‘job hop’. The key to attracting and retaining emergent workers is recognising they are highly loyal.

However, the definition of loyalty has shifted from: ‘how long you stay with one employer’ to ‘what you accomplish while there’.

Emergent employees believe in being evaluated on their innovation and contribution to the company’s goals. In return they expect opportunities for personal growth, on-the-job training and mentoring.

According to a study undertaken by Interim Services in the US, emergent workers claim the following attributes make a job more attractive to them:

• An employer who hires and retains hard-working intelligent people and weeds out others

• A job that allows you to think creatively

• A job where the major part of your performance evaluation is based on the ability to think of new and better ways to do things

• An employer who sets clear and mutually agreed upon goals and evaluates them on a regular basis

• An environment where success is based on responsibilities and accomplishments.

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