How Cloud-Based Data Is Changing the Contract Between Companies and Workers
Haven’t had much time to sit down and write a grammatically-correct, well-structured blog post about the creative process lately. (1)
Between a big freelance project I started three weeks ago and the sometimes frustrating levels of fatigue that seem to be affecting so many of us during this Mars Retrograde, time for unpaid creative work has been in short supply. (Mars, the energy and drive planet, has been retro since March 25. He goes direct on June 29. We should see a noticeable bounce by early July.)
I can’t tell you too many details about the project I’ve been working on. It involves a couple of mega-corporations in which people are using technology to change the way people work. (I’ll share the video once it comes out.)
In fact, there’s a common thread that runs through every writing project I’ve been offered in 2016: technology – specifically, access to the data generated by hundreds of millions of connected mobile device users – is changing the way businesses relate to customers and how customers relate to businesses.
That’s pretty cool. The other thing I’m really excited to share with you is my own realization of just how fast some of the big, Capricornian structures in the world are transforming – and the extent to which this transformation is being driven by money.
The reason I’m excited about the money part is that, for the most part, businesses exist to make money. I’ve been saying for years that the most graceful path through this transitional period to a new Creative Age is the path on which we creatives, visionaries and healers are working hand-in-hand with the corporate world. Because that’s where the money is. Big business has the resources – and the reach – to effect change much faster and on a much bigger scale than we could accomplish on our own.
The fact that corporations are now realizing that changing the way they relate to their employees is essential to their bottom line is, in my book, cause for much rejoicing.
Think about it in individual terms. People may start meditating, going to yoga class, adding organic food to their diet, or reducing their environmental impact because they feel guilty or because they want to be or appear more spiritual. But the avoidance of guilt isn’t a strong enough motivator for most people to make these lifestyle changes permanent. We all want to feel good. But it’s only when realize that the pleasure we get from meditating every day (I’m less anxious and now my relationships are better) or eating organic food (I have more energy and my food tastes so good!) is worth the price we pay that these choices turn into sustainable, long-term changes.
The project I’ve been working on is chock full of Aquarian Age themes: technology, synergy, a focus on putting people in positions where they can do more of what they enjoy and less of what they don’t, and a recognition that people have radically different rhythms of accomplishment.
In case you didn’t know, corporations are having something of a “come to Jesus” moment around the idea of culture. From Deloitte’s 2016 report on Global Human Capital Trends:
Few factors contribute more to business success than culture—the system of values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape how real work gets done within an organization. Its close connection to performance is not lost on HR and business executives: Nearly nine in ten (87 percent) of our survey respondents say that culture is important, and 54 percent rate it as very important, nine percentage points more than last year.
Of course, most people tend to do their best work when they’re happy on the job and feel that management is accommodating their their individual needs and helping them move towards more and more satisfying work (and pay). That’s not news. But why, all of a sudden, are corporations so zealous about giving employees what they’ve wanted for decades?
One major factor in this cultural shift is the ability to collect and analyze billions of data points in the cloud – yielding statistically-significant correlations between employee satisfaction and customer loyalty, for example. Another is the transparency of the social media sphere. Want to know how a company’s employees feel about working there? Just go to LinkedIn or Glassdoor.com.
In an interconnected global environment, companies that treat their employees like expendable “human resources” – or that pretend to care about the environment and corporate social responsibility but really only care about profit – have no place to hide.
In this more transparent environment, the evolving values of the workforce are exerting a direct impact on where corporations focus their resources and on what corporations value.
This seismic shift is still in its beginning phases and, as you might expect, the companies who are making the biggest shifts tend to be based on the coasts and in more ‘progressive’ cities like Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colorado. (My wife works for a company with roots in the Midwest that still sees company-sponsored picnics and “casual dress Fridays” as the answer to its employee-retention problem.)
But, as the “millennials” – a generation that cares as much about meaning and purpose as it does about compensation – become the majority of the workforce in the coming years, the shift that is happening right now promises to revolutionize our experience of what “work” means.
1 – I do post my less-structured musings on my Patreon site as they happen. If you’re willing to cough up $1 per month to be one of my patrons, you can have access to all of my unfettered ramblings, and some musical da-da too.