Grey Workers: A Hot New Management Trend coming soon to your workplace
Following from our Review/Context post of The Four Hour Work Week…
In those two posts we put The Four Hour Work Week into a contemporary context.
The way we see it is that the global perception and practice of work has undergone a seismic shift.
Here’s a further observation we’ve noticed recently that supports this view…
One of the ways that global work is changing is the fast moving talent pool.
People join organisations, build up some working knowledge and leave.
Traditionally, employees stayed for a lifetime or at least a decade.
Today, it’s more likely they’ll stay 2-3 years.
Career advisors today even advocate to enhance your career prospects you’re better to move often to multiple organisations to broaden your experience.
This is a major expense for organisations.
The cost of employing people, training them and getting them up to speed can be an additional 20-30% of the employees salary in the first year.
That typically translates into $10,000 to $30,000 in the first year.
To see that investment walk out the door when the talent leaves is to see money walk out the door too.
What’s even worse, when the talent leaves for better pastures, the knowledge they gained whilst working in your organisation walks out too.
This can be a disaster!
A few years back I did a contracting role where in the first week my boss quit so I replaced them. Then, a week later the next boss quit so I replaced them too. Within 2 weeks I was leading a project I had no history in and knew very little about – all that experience lost! Three months later the project was complete and I was the expert in the organisation in that specific area. And, my contract finished. I accepted another opportunity and walked out the door without even a debrief! Talk about an organization failing to learn!
Anyhow, what’s the solution?
I’ve been blogging about The Four Hour Work Week.
It points to the breakdown in the traditional 9-5 working week.
And, a quest from employees to work in new ways:
- flexible hours,
- shorter weeks,
- working remotely, etc.
Knowledge will continue to walk out the door because employers continue to straight jacket their employees lifestyles.
A better balance is required.
A response suited to the time is required.
Extending Four Hour Work Thinking, organizations need to think about their employees as consultants and manage their input and their physical presence differently.
We need ‘grey employees’ rather than ‘black and white’ employees.
Rather than ‘you either work here or you don’t’, a blend of how you work here will alter the problem of lost knowledge over time.
This is part of the Four Hour Work Week trend.
It’s not that everyone will want a four hour work week in the way that Tim Ferris proposes.
And, it is likely they will want to manage their working lives in more flexible ways.
My sense of it is that Australian managers in particular have not grasped this concept of managing out-of-sight team members.
With the rise of outsourcing, contracting, mini-retirements, tele-conferences, webinars and career changes this will become more of an issue.
Stay tuned at your workplace for more flexible roles with more flexible time expectations and more flexible location requirements.
If it’s not coming to your workplace soon, I suggest you consider voting with your feet!
Get the complete Book Rapper issue The Four Hour JOLT! derived from Timothy Ferris’ The Four Hour Work Week.