Businesses across the globe face problems when seeking to fill key positions. For many, the solution lies in changing their set of rules they abide by in order to make them more “human.” Let’s reflect on what this might mean.
The aftermath of the events that impacted our businesses during the last three years is one of the situations that most surprises me. The change in paradigm accelerated by the pandemic caused layoffs and resignations of millions across the world. Only in the U.S., the market of reference for many, 28% of the workforce admits to having been laid off at least once during the last two years, according to a poll by CNBC from June 2022. Meanwhile, over 57 million people quit their jobs between January 2021 and February 2022, according to statistics released by the The U.S. Department of Labor, leading it to be considered “The Great Resignation.” Though less drastically, these numbers have also increased in Europe and most of the developed working markets. Simultaneously, airports in Europe and the U.S. are in desperate need for passenger assistants and baggage handlers. Restaurants are desperately seeking waiters or waitresses. The industry is suffering from lack of technical personnel such as turners, welders and haulers.
A new demand is arising in the market due to these changes. “We need to humanize our businesses.” After the events we’ve been through as a society, I couldn’t agree more. However, I believe it’s necessary to clarify what this entails. Data clearly proves that humanizing our companies goes beyond discussing “hybrid”, “flexible” or “integrated” business models. Join me in rethinking what “humanizing” businesses really means.
Our intrinsic motivation
The first concept I’d like to highlight is the importance of understanding the various motivations that drive a person to work. Today, we’re reminded that people are no longer exclusively motivated by their salary. The intrinsic motivation of our work life is far more diverse than ever before.
Olivia’s experience in helping transform businesses across the world has shown that these different desires can be divided under three main profiles. Though other forms of differentiating groups that coexist within businesses may exist, these three categories allow us to organize and reflect on the main motivations that inspire people to carry out their job.
- Explorers: people aiming to learn. This group is not necessarily searching for a higher position or superior salary. Their main interest is to enrich their professional experience and, in many cases, prepare themselves for the upcoming step. This means their main motivation lies in making their professional profile more valuable. Their main demand for their employer is a chance for opportunities of growth and for these to be fulfilled.
- Providers: people whose priority is the security received from their employer that they require in order to provide for their family or themselves. Their main priority is for their job to endure through time. This group is more willing to adapt to any model of business in order to assure their position in the future. Their main demand for their employer is transparency regarding their position’s safety.
- Believers: people whose motivation to work lies in their faith in the company’s purpose, the reason behind their actions and what they represent. Their main demand for their employer is for the organization to live by the purpose they preach, regardless of the circumstances. This group’s motivation is based on their employer’s consistency throughout present and future stages.
The root of this classification can be found in The Industrial Revolution, which determined that a person’s main inspiration behind work is their salary. As the productivity model shifted, diverse profiles emerged. Today, various motives drive people to work.
It’s important to remember that these motives coexist in our business and, together, add value to it. This value is about the motivation behind each group—not age, life experience or a specific social group.
Certain motivations will prevail among the objectives within each business. The US Marines is an example of this, with a larger percentage of “believers” than a chain of supermarkets, for example. However, the Marines also have their share of “providers” and “explorers” throughout all age groups.
By Alberto Bethke, Associate Founder of OLIVIA