The Boom-X Paradigm
There is a paradigm shift upon us. It’s been creeping into many industries about ten years. In this past year, it seems to have reached its’ own critical mass, and those who don’t fully embrace it are being left behind in the labour market. It’s a transformational metamorphosis of our labour force, being driven by unexpected agents of change. Not by the economy. But by the Millennials, thankfully.
If the terms ‘gig economy’, ‘boomerang employees’ and ‘Tours of duty’ are unfamiliar, it’s time for you to ‘get with the NEW paradigm’ which is now upon us. I’ve created a new thought-leader term for it: The ‘Boom-X Paradigm’*. I’ve named it that, because it applies to the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers who make up the majority of employers at this present time. Let me explain….
For example, in the landscape industry recruiting and job hunting has been turned upside down. If you’re an employer, I’d dare to wager that you had at least one ‘no show’ for interviews this past year. Finding a job or a ‘better’ job these days for the tech savvy, is like finding a new pair of jeans – just search, click, pick and get what you want when you want it. There’s lots to choose from. That’s why many don’t show up for scheduled interviews. They browsed your job posting like a store in a mall. And they see so many, they forget which ones were keeping something on hold for them. They just buy the most convenient one, or the best deal when they’re ready to. The impact of technology on recruiting and job hunting.
For several years now, I’ve been reading, observing, listening and brainstorming on the subject of ‘employee attitudes’, I’m now absolutely convinced that our biggest labour challenge is rooted in how employers think about the structure of their business and the people who work there. Using the jean analogy, selling ahead of the competition is more about convenience, simplicity and appeal to the buyer. Jobs are now the item ‘for sale’, Millennials are the consumers. And God Bless them, because they are forcing old stale habits to reinvent.
I believe that contracting industries aren’t unappealing because of what we do, but because of how we think. In fact, what we do in the landscape industry for example, is totally aligned with Millennials’ desire to contribute to the good of the climate, communities and the environment. We need to adopt transformational thinking in order to solve our labour crises our employer market needs to navigate the Boom-X Paradigm Shift. And FAST.
This paradigm shift is buried deep in the subconscious of our key demographic group of potential team players and future managers. In an industry that includes physical fitness as a common factor for suitability in matching candidates to jobs, many employers are thinking still about filling seats in trucks and haven’t yet brought their recruiting and hiring criteria up to match the mindset of those they seek to bring on board.
Gone are the days of hiring ‘labourers’ - and treating them as such. No self-respecting Millennial is going to be treated as a labourer. This wonderful creative generation is looking for more. Not more money (well, ok, maybe more money than you think you can afford). They are looking for more opportunity. They want to bring meaning to their day by making purposeful contributions to the big picture, to be a part of the solutions and success. They want to be included. And, fyi, they’re not lazy. If you engage them, you’ll not be able to keep up with them. What this generational attitude shift represents to employers is the need to completely change their thinking about why they’re hiring and what happens when they do.
Historically, business successes across many industries have been achieved by focusing on efficiency, in a stable and highly predictable environment – where generations of workers chose a trade and stuck with one career – often one company – for life.
It was an era when people were managed as a commodity to produce profit. I’ll paraphrase Simon Sinek’s formula:
People + Productivity = Profit.
Today we face a different reality which is unstable and highly unpredictable. This new reality is made up of changing attitudes toward work and a rapidly changing marketplace. Recent statistics indicate that 80% of employees (under the age of 35, across all industries) will change jobs every three to five years. The reasons for job change vary but include ‘lousy boss’ as the highest ranked and better pay as one of the lowest ranked reasons for leaving their job.
I have come to believe that what has made our industry successful in the past (People + Productivity = Profit) is a big part of what’s holding us back from success now and will in the future. The NEW Boom-X Paradigm* is shifting to both a focus on effectiveness and engagement in a way never thought of before now. Profit now must be managed as a commodity used to grow and nurture the people. This new reality demands a new formula for success:
People + Purpose = Performance.
I’ve spent the last year developing ways to help employers deploy fresh thinking to solve stale problems. As an industry, I believe that we need to engage, equip and empower our teams, challenge status quo thinking, and ignite our leadership teams with hope and new knowledge. The Boom-X Paradigm* is here to stay.
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