In the 1950s, management expert Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker,” defined as: those utilizing a high degree of human intellect, creativity, and analytic skills, applying such prowess towards innovative solutions and business strategies. Drucker introduced the term at a time when we were on the cusp of a societal shift from manual labor to “knowledge work.” He predicted that by 2020 a new world would exist. One where success was generated more from the mind than with muscle; a world virtually unrecognizable to our grandparents.
Just four years away from 2020, it appears that Peter Drucker’s prediction is indeed becoming a reality. Accordingly, many professional leaders have embraced this new mindset, incorporating progressive business tools, strategies, and metrics into their definition of what generates success and a productive workplace. Others are still struggling with the concept, failing to alter their managerial approach to keep up with these dynamic times.
Is your enterprise prepared for the “future” workplace that is upon us? What key strategies have you implemented to attract and retain the brightest talent? The following are 6 practices leading companies are doing to attract and motivate today’s top talent.
Create a Blueprint for Your Vision
The knowledge worker thrives on information. They need to know “why” as much as they need to know “what.” This insight leads to a deeper connectivity, increasing motivation and making them more likely to offer innovative and insightful solutions. Such enthusiasm will transfer to the rest of the team, ensuring each employee is on the same page and motivated to try harder than the day before.
Get to know your employees as individuals and really gain an understanding of their unique interests, goals, and skills. Align the knowledge worker’s projects with these skills to ensure both individual and organizational success. Which leads me to my next point.
Understand & Align Motivation
It’s important for enterprise leaders to understand what it is that keeps their top talent engaged. This means knowing what their employees want next out of their career, determining where individual goals connect with organizational objectives, and communicating this structure of success to their employees. This all comes back to the “blueprint”, and ensures everyone is doing what is best for both themselves and the organization.
The driving force behind many employees leaving their current employment is lack of engagement. In a recent study conducted by pwc, more than two in five of those questioned felt held back by outdated and rigid work styles, stifling their ability to grow as a worker. Consistent reevaluation of workplace processes is necessary, not only to keep your company fresh and innovative, but for your employees as well.
Build Your Community
For the knowledge worker, work isn’t just about earning a paycheck or climbing the corporate ladder. They want to know they are a part of something important; that they have left their mark on the enterprise. What if employees knew that their contributions could impact not just their company, but the entire industry? With the right support and a collaborative, community-like culture, each individual has the power to influence progress for years to come.
Empower your workforce to flourish by sharing knowledge and skills with colleagues across multiple projects and platforms within the company. Avoid limiting them to jobs that fall strictly under their “title” or they will feel stifled, and opportunities will be lost, both for the individual and the enterprise. Instead, encourage your workforce to branch out and continue to educate themselves within the realm of what they are doing and where they want to go.
Merge Technology with Knowledge Workers
Technology has prospered considerably over the last decade, opening new doors and offering access to a wealth of information. It is critical that your workforce, particularly the knowledge worker, has access to technology. With the right tools in place, they are able to track information needed for performance, as well as collaborate with colleagues without the boundaries of location and time.
It is not enough, however, to simply implement technology; you must make sure they know the tool’s value within the workplace and that they know how to use it properly. Depending upon the individual, this may take a little coaxing.
Optimize the Workspace, Everywhere
Mobile technology has spurred changes in how we socialize, interact, play, and work. It has opened up new doors and changed the mindset of both consumers and our workforce, forcing us to reevaluate how we conduct business and how the workplace of the future will look.
The knowledge worker wants to know they can access critical information, without boundaries, and that their workspace can go virtually everywhere with them. They crave a healthy balance between work and home life, and are willing to put in the extra time to be successful at both. It is critical that enterprises wishing to attract and retain the industry’s top talent consider this when reevaluating their workplace culture. Office locations must be configured for maximized productivity, and flexibility regarding remote work should be considered.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Therefore, if you are an innovative and progressive organization, your reputation alone will help attract top talent. Approximately 48 million of the more than 137 million U.S. workers are knowledge workers and that number is growing exponentially. This means the average worker will more than likely be employed at a more technologically efficient and overall cerebral position in the future. Consider this dynamic as you continue to grow your current workforce, as well as for the future.