Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Mass Career Customization

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mass Career Customization

Cathy Benko and Anne Weisberg are the authors of Mass Career Customization: Aligning the Workplace with Today's Nontraditional Workforce, that will be published by Harvard Business School Press this fall. Cathy and Anne led an initiative at Deloitte, currently in a pilot program, to address changing availability of the labor pool for knowledge workers (particularly in the US), changing family structure, and changing job expectations. In entering into this project, they found that these issues were no longer limited to "women's issues", rather they extend across many new families, lives and the younger generations.

They argue that with these changes, the workplace needs to change to match the new workforce in order to attract and retain talent. Careers used to be "climb the corporate ladder"; rather they are that careers now often follow a lattice. In fact, careers go through ebbs and flows particularly in relationship to the speed of advancement, the workload demands, location and schedule flexibility, and nature of the work (management / individual contributor).

Deloitte is implementing systems that allow people the fluidity to manage their careers with respect their personal needs. What is interesting in listening to the results at Deloitte, rather than encountering a situation where a difficult percentage of the organization wanted to dial back. Rather, people were pleased to know that the option was available to them as needed in the future. In fact, evaluating work against these dimensions allowed people to highlight their interest in dialing up, rather than dialing down.

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