Why Employee Engagement Cannot Catch Up To Change
In creating highly engaged work environments I have learned the reason that we have such a disengaged workforce is that we have not taught our workers how to change.
For many years, we were taught that predictability and survival is more valuable than loving our work. In our one-minded pursuit of this goal, many of us forgot that loving our work has to include making a good living. How, we find ourselves in a world that swept away predictability and survival, a world where work as we knew it can change in a nanosecond.
A few examples:
Elizabeth Holmes, a 19-year-old sophomore at Stanford dropped out to launch the most disruptive company in medical testing. Previously, blood testing usually involved multiple vials painfully drawn from patients in clinics. Theranos allows us to go to our pharmacy where we experience a tiny pinprick on our thumb. Tests are finished at the pharmacy in four hours. Multiple tests can be taken from one minute sample. The innovation turned Elizabeth into our country’s youngest female billionaire. It also spells the ends of thousands of jobs and perhaps even the end to a couple of dominant diagnostic companies.
Today, a smart phone can monitor a patient’s health, predict heart attacks and directly notify their physicians. The technology blasts thousands of jobs into the past.
I-Phone cameras are now so sophisticated and produce such superior photographs that an entire class of photographers have become obsolete.
In just a few years, technological advancement eliminates virtually every cashier working on toll roads.
The last time I used a travel agent was in 1998.
The rate-of-change produced such a need for coaching that an entire industry sprung up over night and disrupted the therapeutic profession.
They tell potential consumers,
“If you’re nuts, see a therapist. But, if you’re healthy, I will help you become more successful without the stigma of working with a psychologist.”
In ten years, many new cars will be able to drive themselves.
Where one college degree sufficed, now we have pipelines of information at our fingertips. We can now continually educate and reinvent ourselves in a matter of weeks. In fact, it is necessary so why not learn to love the process?
As Alvin Toffler predicted in 1970, many of us are paralyzed by the shock of change.
Baby booming rock icon Ronnie Raitt sings,
“You were wrapped up,
In your daily grind,
The cost of living,
It didn’t even cross your mind,
Now you’re mystified,
Standing with the rest of us,
Who used to rule the world.”
And yet, behind that veil of fear, is a new world where learning and growing
If this is how many people feel, how are they going to act at work?
Yes, many of our employees, workers, friends and family members who used to rule the world now wonder what happened. If we are to live in a civilized world, we will tell them, we will show them the way towards a world of abundant change, no longer afraid of our torpid obsolescence.
Never, in the history of humankind, have we been given more tools to change and grow and to move beyond the boredom of sameness as well as the numbness of a culture that thirsts for predictability and survival.
How do I know this? For years, I have observed participants in our programs change their work lives in two days. I have watched people take charge of the careers, start new businesses, create new jobs, change their attitudeS and transform the role that work plays within their households. I have become a world-class optimist in the power all of us have in changing our lives.
Industries rise and fall. Information lives at our fingertips offering indicators of where to jump next and enjoy a ride unlike anything we did in the last century or perhaps even, last week.
Mediocre employers will lose their grip.
The best will harness the energy of our best and brightest.
For some of us, change will be ruthless.
Others will find an entirely new definition of abundance.