I have a theory that I’ve been testing with many people, and I have yet to find one who faults my logic. Here’s how it goes:
Right now, employees in most large companies are holding on for dear life. They’re hoping they can survive through the remainder of the recession.
But they’re also feeling quite abused by the way they’ve been treated by their current employer. Stresses have increased dramatically, benefits have been axed, and in general work is a lot more WORK than it used to be.
I can’t count the number of people I’ve talked to who are riding this out, but have a strong desire to move on once the job market opens up. So I’m predicting that we’ll start to see the trend in 2010 of employees seeking out alternative employment, and by 2011 we should be seeing serious turnover in a number of large companies.
The employers have a number of alternatives:
- Those companies which are perceived as The Great Place To Work will be absolutely flooded and have their pick of top-notch candidates.
- Those companies which try to be conservative and continue to act as they did in 2008 and 2009 will start to see the stampede out the door. Many employees may indeed be replaced by others running away from other companies in the same industry, so we’ll see a lot of churn.
- Some smart employers will see the increasing turnover problem and start to address it by reinstating benefits, and creating a new culture where employees can feel valued, challenged, and productive.
A bit of this turnover may indeed be healthy, but at some point it will start causing deep damage to companies. What happens when 90% of your organizational memory walks out the door, and the remaining 10% isn’t particularly motivated to do their best work?
I’m predicting that in 2010 we will see significant growth in organizational coaching, fueled by companies who recognize the fundamental impact that great management and organizational culture have on employee retention. This will include leadership skill development, team coaching, and even some re-design of company culture.
Through every great economic crisis, you see a new set of winners and losers. This time, coaching will probably be a significant factor in the emerging winners.
The rest, well, would YOU want to work there?
The universe is a wonderful and mysterious place! Just this morning, I ran across this very appropriate presentation by Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation. It’s an interesting 18-minute video.
Speaking of employee retention and motivation, I just posted a blog post on how Open Source can be a compelling strategy for organizations looking to develop interdependent capability. In this post, I touch on how this helps employees build both their personal brands and their employer’s brand simultaneously, while both brands increase in affinity with each other. If 2010 will be a good year for leadership skill development, then I think it will be a good year for open source (and more broadly, open ways of working) as well.
Thanks for giving us that pointer, Kartik!
Open Source is a powerful concept and is changing LOTS of things, but we’re going to have to come up with a better name for when it’s applied outside the IT space. I see a lot of people who get confused when you try to describe some other kind of group effort as “open source”.