The 21st Century Employee in the Age of Empathy

Bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan. Image Credit: Nicole Radziwill

Bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan. Image Credit: Nicole Radziwill

Last year, I explained that I see a revolutionary role for quality as we collectively shift from thinking about organizations not as machines or information flows, but as structures for creating complete and meaningful experiences for everyone involved.

To adapt during this shift, we’ll need new models for human resources management. In fact, we need to blow that whole label to bits! “Human resources” implies that there are people from whom value can be extracted, and “management” implies that there are people in authority or power who (to realize this goal) set up structures that other people must operate within. If the organization of the new era exists to create complete and meaningful experiences, those experiences are not reserved exclusively for the customer, but should also include and engage the employees! As a result, employees or members of an organization should be empowered to create their own experiences with the organization, with the customers, and with each other.

In a post from May 2015, Ayelet Baron starts the process of creating these new models by defining “The 21st Century Employee.” She suggests that as leaders, we should begin the process of creating environments where this emergent type of employee can thrive… and it will require us to embrace the natural abundance we can experience by working together, rather than the scarcity that becomes evident when we compete with one another.

According to Ayelet, the 21st Century Employee will have all of these characteristics:

In my opinion, The 21st Century Organization will naturally provide the complete and meaningful experiences that makes it possible for this 21st Century Employee to exist. The management challenge remains: How should we establish the structures that will support participation, radical inclusion, and radical self-expression (among other things)?

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