REIMAGINE YOUR TOMORROW WITH LIFE-WORK INTEGRATION

The job market continues to shift as recent labor market reports show an historic increase in the number of voluntary quits across multiple industries. In-person and manual jobs now have a quit rate above 4%, which represents an incredible change compared to the 2% quit rate that existed just months earlier. Blue-collar, white-collar, and government positions are also experiencing a drastic uptick in voluntary resignations, meaning the “Great Resignation” still has more surprises up its sleeve. This week we’re joined by Keith Campagna—the former Geeks Geezers Googlization co-host himself and now founder of Lifework Integration, LLC and Chief Sales Officer of The ROI Shop. Ready to dive in and discuss the value and need for life-work integration?

Decentralization Nation

In addition to pulling back the curtain and revealing how the pace of change was accelerating, the pandemic laid bare all the corporate vulnerabilities previously pushed aside and ignored. From the moment lockdowns began, employees found their voice. They started speaking out, catching most employers by surprise. While many businesses talked about the importance of “employee engagement” and how their employees were their most valuable asset, Campagna says most just paid lip-service. Because of the abrupt shift to remote work, workers and consumers decentralized. Businesses were vastly unprepared to function without in-person, face-to-person interaction. For corporations, this decentralization left workers detached, without functional technology, and ill-prepared to work from home.  Support for customers, marketing and sales faltered. 

The resulting chaos left remote employees feeling lost and invisible, with many working extra hours every week without a clear divide between work and life activities. A recent McKinsey report found that life-work integration is many employees’ biggest goal and fear, which marks a pointed shift in modern generations’ reason for work. Where Baby Boomers lived to work and Generation X worked to live, Millennials and Generation Z want both. But in order for that to happen, employers need to provide the necessary resources to make their employees as successful as possible.

The Fault in a Default Future

One of the ugly concerns Campagna runs into frequently with both employers and employees is their resignation to an unhappy future, or what he calls a “default” future. Ironically, this is the same future many people arrive at when asked what their future would look like if everything could stay the same. If what you’re doing now is going to lead to this unhappy future, why not change it?

Campagna blames stress and there is an abundant supply of that these days. Stress kills creativity, leaving people stuck in the present. This prevents those resigned to a default future from creating a better future for themselves, whether they are CEOs or front line workers. This is a difficult rut to escape. Oftentimes, even a week’s vacation isn’t enough to recharge your creativity. Campagna offers an alternative: improve your behavior 1% a day, similar to the approach we learned in another Geeks Geezers Googlization episode with Jacob Morgan. For employers, Campagna recommends involving employees in more day-to-day company activities and conversations, creating an inclusive environment that makes company restructuring less intimidating, even when working remote.

The DELTAS of an Ideal Job Candidate

In addition to becoming more inclusive, Campagna asks: What if employers actually gave their employees what they needed to succeed in jobs outside the business? This includes not only the information and tutorials many employees are lacking for remote positions, but also the professional skills many companies look for in a job candidate. Why not prepare them to succeed in their career and life, not just the job they are doing today? 

For example, another recent McKinsey study found that the top six qualities predictive of future employability included:

  1.     Adaptability
  2.     Coping with uncertainty
  3.     Synthesizing messages
  4.     Achievement orientation
  5.     Fostering inclusiveness
  6.     Energy, passion, and optimism

Of course, people still need digital and computer skills, the ability to use services like Microsoft Office, and technical skills to do certain jobs. But acquiring these skills are different from the skills required to navigate perpetual change. While computer programs and industry expertise are obtained in classrooms and training sessions, the six skills listed above aren’t currently taught in schools or, according to Campagna, in many companies. Without these skills, employees struggle to adapt to this era of never-normal, to juggle the uncertainty of life and requirements of work.  Frustration builds and leaves employees feeling overworked and invisible.

With employers consumed by daily chores and tasks, it often takes an outside perspective to point out the problems many companies are experiencing. And while some are taking the initiative to focus on the well-being and emotional health of their employees, others ignore the sirens signaling a wakeup call.

QUOTES

“Take care of your people. Don’t just say it. Literally understand what your people need to be happier people at home so they can take that happiness and bring it into the workplace. And that’s what life-work integration is all about.” (12:58)

“Turn stress into a competitive advantage through life-work integration.” (13:59)

“Default futures and the myth of life/work balance.” (15:03)

 “There is no rest for the weary when you’re trying to create a life you love.” (28:22)

“Too many organizations are still operating the same way as they did in the industrial age when it comes to work.” (33:44)

“Turns out, business is an ongoing game, and if you’re nice to people, you can keep winning.” (39:02)

 “That’s one of my favorite questions: ‘What don’t I know that I should?’” (44:07)

“The truth is that if you change the way you think just enough, you can see the problem differently and that opens up solutions.” (45:32)

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