A Generation Y pipedream or the shape of things to come? 

What does New Work actually mean? According to the expert Markus Väth:

“New Work is … a new way of thinking about work, about addressing the search for personal meaning and organising work in a way that is modern and people friendly.”

This definitely does not sound like nonsense, does it?  So, let’s take a closer look: 

What really matters in the management of an organisation? 

The success of a company depends on a sufficient number of customers using its products and services. For this to work, it is important for the company to know what needs and requirements (potential) customers might have, both now and in the future.

Once-proven approaches are now only of limited use. Which means that a few bright minds willing to depart from well-trodden paths would come in very useful here. A company needs committed employees if new products are to be created and marketed. It is therefore of utmost importance to find and foster the right people.

 

Why do we need a new definition of work?

Demographic change means that more and more people can choose to work in a company that shares their vision of purpose and matches their career goals. This also means that it is easier for us to switch employers if the working conditions or the corporate culture do not fit in with our personal narrative. The magazine Human Resources Manager puts it like this:

“Through our extensive education we have arrived at a point where there is no longer a rational reason to submit to an infantile dependency on an employer.”

Carried over to our six mindset model, this means that it makes sense for the corporate culture and management to cater more to employees who inhabit mindsets between the rationalistic-functional and the systemic-autonomous. 

Translated to the organisational level, this launches a process we call values development. 

(WH)Y is more than the question of one generation

There are thus more “adult” people with more mature mindsets who are striving to find purpose in their work. In addition, a potential employee can and will also choose an employer whose “why” corresponds with his or her own life values and sense of purpose.

New Work thus has less to do with so-called “Generation Y” than with the stage at which we now find ourselves in the developing world of work. In other words, even if a company neglects to include purported members of Generation Y when recruiting staff, it should nevertheless think about how it can best address the sense of purpose and belonging. For example, a recent study by Marburg professor Dr. Martin Schröder shows that the idea of a generation gap is vastly overblown.

Essentially: employees like to do work that plays to both their strengths and needs, that also has greater significance, and takes place in a personally appropriate environment. To put it bluntly, it seems increasingly reckless to continue to rely on finding enough employees whose existential fears are greater than their need to do a job that aligns with their values.

How does a clear corporate vision impact employees, recruits and employer branding? How do people who find personal meaning in their daily work think and act? Some inspiration comes from Bettina Gallus from betterplace.org, who was a guest on our Podcast ICH–WIR-ALLE.

Where do we stand and how do we get to the future?

In Human Resources Manager, Jan Pechmann, managing partner of the strategy agency diffferent, describes the situation of digitalisation in the workplace as follows:

“Every company is suddenly ‘technically ready’ but as a person you are hopelessly overstretched.”

Maike Kueper, Consultant at Detecon International GmbH, appeals here for a “revolution in small steps”. She wants to “encourage every employee and employer to start small, beginning with the interpersonal domain, because that`s what it’s really all about.”Her 12 revealing questions prompt self-reflection and encourage homegrown innovation.

Notice anything? There hasn’t been a single mention of benefits. Because no benefit in the world can compensate for a job without purpose or a boss whose mindset is firmly stuck in the last century.

Benefits can, however, be valuable and useful.   According to Andreas Weck from t3n, the 5 most popular benefits are:

  1. Free lunch
  2. Childcare
  3. Remote working
  4. Office dog
  5. Flexible hours

Why?

“People want time for the things that mean something to them. Or reprieve; from the stresses and pressures of everyday life.”

It´s as simple as that – and it applies to every generation. Another point: Only 2 of the 5 benefits require direct or indirect input of money. The other 3 can be taken care of by clarifying when the work has to done by and the days the dog can be brought in. Management are thus faced with the task of juggling greater freedoms with making sure everybody gets along.

What is needed for successful change?

Digitalisation creates new technological opportunities, but what do we need for successful work results? Essentially, increased employee freedom requires two things:

  1. A compass, so that everybody sails in the same direction – irrespective of speed.
  2. Preferably mature personalities who maintain good contact with each other. This is an absolute must if any further steps towards change are to take place on solid ground.

One such compass is shared values. This does not mean the endless list of noble values that are proclaimed by management but remain invisible in real life, but rather the collective quest for and focus on 3 core values that are actually cultivated and lived out. These values can then not only be used in employer branding, they also help cement brand positioning.

The individual maturity of the employees can be seen in their mindset. The mindset adopted at work can differ from the one in private life. And to make matters more confusing, mindsets can even change throughout the day, depending on the situation.

Mindsets build on each other. It’s easy to adopt the ones you already know, but the more mature ones first have to be learnt and practised. It’s like with unfamiliar yoga positions – you go from “I’ll never be able to do that” to “Oh, look, it goes better than I thought”.

What contribution does our six mindset model make to the development of personal maturity? 

  1. It identifies your own mindset and locates it on the spectrum of possible mindsets, thus revealing the potential for development.
  2. It helps you visualise the mindset you and your colleagues are acting from in a given situation. You then have to decide what is more beneficial to the shared goal: whether to challenge your counterpart’s mindset or to respectfully work on enticing them towards the mindset that builds on their present one.

Mindset matters for the success of New Work

You will find more on our mindset model in the blog articles “Personalities shape corporate culture” and “How can I influence the leadership culture in my organisation”. And of course in our new book “MINDSET MATTERS” (coming soon).