ReCognizing our Relationship with Work

In the US, we have had a customary 9-5 model for the way we “do work” and we’ve been in a protracted relationship with “climbing the corporate ladder” but it is time to “break -up”. This relationship has run its course, and we want more than what we have grown accustomed to over time. Employers and organizations of all sizes and types, should be engaged in self study and benchmarking in order to address the three major recent concerns of employees:

  • remote work schedules
  • health & safety in the return to the office and
  • the ever elusive idea of work-life balance

After almost two years of the world working remotely (and enjoying it to some degree) we are seeing office environments shrinking, a higher demand for flexibility in work schedules and remote work options and record shifts in people quitting or opting for early retirement. Just as with most social ills, we must first admit we have a problem (RECOGNIZE) in order to address it and provide solutions (RE-COGNIZE). Our need as a country to re-think our relationship with work is also the culprit of continued DEI disparities, such as the wealth gap, gender parity and bias in recruitment, hiring and promotion processes (to name a few).

The Great Resignation

(only the beginning)

We have all seen the pandemic cause us to think, re-organize the ways we work. Beyond companies moving to remote work, and now hybrid models, the workforce saw the COVID pandemic as a time to re-prioritize work in our lives (no time like a global pandemic to get you thinking about your priorities, right?) With this also came a great deal of contemplation about the WHO, WHAT and WHY of our work. LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky in a recent interview with TIME called this last year The Re-Shuffle. The LinkedIn team tracked the percentage of LinkedIn members (roughly 800 million) who changed jobs and they found that job transitions have increased by 54% year-over-year and younger workers are leading the way. I am one of the multitudes of people who made the leap, deciding early during the pandemic to step away from what was my norm (higher ed) and to make space for myself in the marketplace with A2H and/or find more meaningful, challenging yet flexible work in another industry/sector. Even though our government leaders and most organizations seem to be returning to business as usual, employees, especially Millennials and Gen-Z folx, are leading what I think is a not just a Re-Shuffle, but the zeitgeist of 2020 and beyond.

Don’t forget about your commitments to equity & inclusion

I heard a diversity leader say recently that “top-talent are ALWAYS employed”; so organizations look for the leaders in other organizations. I emphatically disagree with this. Using this as a method/model for recruiting will NOT yield diverse & equitable outcomes. This strikes me as bias in the recruitment process or (at minimum) a flawed talent pipeline and this line of thinking perpetuates the existing propensity of organizations to recruit and hire from the same places. This ultimately produces homogeneity in our organizations and more specifically in the leadership and C-suite level positions. Now consider that, with the juxtaposition of the old addage: “talent is universal but opportunity isn’t“. It appears in the US we are talking out of both sides of our neck on this. In one breath we challenge ourselves to find talent in new ways, but our practices have yet to truly change. Further demonstrating our urgent need to RECOGNIZE our opportunities and challenges and to RE-Cognize what work looks like.

Talent is universal (everywhere),

opportunity is NOT.

Author Unknown

The Aspire2Higher Perspective

Recalling when I heard the CEO of a company that specializes in DEI work, state that top talent is always employed, I recognized why he and many other would think that way. It disheartened me though because as the Founder of the Aspire2Higher Movement, I have come to know many people not employed in the old customary ways we think about work. What does that way of thinking say about creatives, who are self employed and working from project to project, or freelancers, or the workers in our gig-economy? Are they not worthy of the opportunity that is so plentiful? If so, how are organization leaders shopping their opportunities to this audience? (I’ll wait… insert proverbial crickets) This is why I created Aspire2Higher; to teach people how to de-program themselves from these old customary ways of seeing the world of work! This movement is about RE-COGNIZING our approach to all of this.

The goal of the Aspire2Higher Movement is to infiltrate society with the Elements of Success! That simply means, we’d like to see the US culture shift to one where people use the Elements A2H as an internal compass for success. Using Aspire2Higher’s unique approach to professional development, talent management, recruitment and retention can help minimize the impacts of economic shifts or disruptions in employee productivity as well as shifts in workplace cultures. We’d like to see organizational leaders utilize the Elements of Success as part of their employee engagement programs, in their diversity, equity & inclusion work, their professional development and talent management initiatives. We have a 7 Step Model for improving workforce and workplace cultures that addresses all of what we’ve mentioned here. We look forward to rolling out this 7 step model in the new year, but you can get in on the ground floor, by participating in A2H courses, attending upcoming seminars and being an active member of the A2H community!

Published by aspire2higher

I am a single mother with drive, ambition and over 12 years experience in career development and higher education. During my "wonderful" twenties, I ventured out of the world of academia and entered the sales profession. I served as a Territory Sales Manager for Philip Morris, USA. I later returned to the college campus as the Assistant Director of the Co-operative Education and Career Services and since moved on to become Director of Student Diversity at a small private college. I am also currently completing my first book, which is self-help/personal development.

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