Wanted: employee 4.0

Wanted: employee 4.0

How does one find employee 4.0? What can be expected of him/her? Does he or she even exist? How do you keep him/her happy?

Wanted: employee 4.0

Employee 4.0. What does he/she look like? Every app has constant updates and new versions; only the human remains the same. Human. Not perfect, but with charm. And constantly racing against the craze for speed. Every day, new concepts and technologies sweep over us. At the same time, humans are in a way creatures of habit. We love rituals and familiar procedures, with a sprinkling of adventures, new challenges and ideas.

But what happens when the routine factor is completely sidelined? When adventure and challenge become the new routine? Do we still keep up? Or does a time come when we reach for the off or standby button in desperation?

So what specifically can HR do to keep employees happy, to “guarantee” a continuous flow, and to avoid challenges being to small or too great?

Let’s take a closer look at the recruiting process. The newcomer arrives in the team full of vigour, learns diligently, becomes an integral part of the team after a few months, after 2–3 years is one of the seniors and benefits from rich experience – routine sets in.

Stop. That was yesterday. Wrong film…

The newcomer arrives in the team full of vigour, becomes an integral part of the team, becomes an integral part of the team, becomes an integral part of the team… an endless loop? Software from the cloud develops and changes so dynamically that knowledge has to be practically reworked every 6 months. Permanent learning becomes an absolute must.

But how does that work in the everyday life of a project? Customers rightly expect consultants to have experience and to have already successfully introduced things at other customers.

The answer lies in knowledge management, learning, and particularly in social learning.  

Distributing knowledge, making it accessible, and making learning a fluid process that the individual does not even perceive to be “learning”. Getting new employees actively on board from the outset; forums, wikis and “how-to”s to promote the exchange of knowledge and the creation of new knowledge. Creation of knowledge networks. SuccessFactors Jam can provide a social media platform within for the company.

But even the best tools are useless if the wrong people are on board. Here, the task of recruiting is to track down people who are not overwhelmed by speed and permanent change. People with bite and endurance. Mental athletes. Fighters. Discoverers. Obviously, this also requires a rethinking of the recruiting process.

Let's suppose we have found our employees 4.0, they are busy learning around the clock and are undergoing an almost permanent auto-update process. But the challenge continues. How can their burnout be avoided? How can a comfort zone be created for each individual? Should they be kept going with benefits? In areas where normal business already resembles survival training, that would certainly not be helpful. This is why the corporate culture also needs an overhaul. Employee 4.0 is not looking for a mediocre benefit system and steep hierarchies. In a rapidly changing environment, a familiar, authentic, flexible working environment with flat hierarchies is required. Individuality instead of conformity. People instead of puppets. Courage instead of security. Collaboration instead of backbiting. Loyalty instead of opportunism. In short, a corporate culture that stands for values. A culture with a heart.

Published: 12. May 2017

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