The classical model of business included the hierarchical top-down approach to Management. Sometimes paternalistic, often autocratic, this procedure involved a strongly hierarchical organization, clear downward flows of tasks and information, a lack of engagement and empowerment at the employee level, and a culture very often built on fear, rather than motivation and involvement.
Luckily this model is now a distant memory for most thriving organizations. The developing world, new technology, evolving legislation and different expectations of a greater flexible and skilled workforce mean that employers are obliged to create more dynamic management structures.
Employee Engagement as a route to business growth
Modern firms focus very much on employee engagement: the structures and tools that assist employees to buy-in to their jobs, are excited and keen to succeed, and offer extra optional effort and commitment to their company. Employers now understand that loyalty is a two-way street. By encouraging and being flexible with staff, productivity and confidence are boosted, sick holidays reduce, staff turnover reduces, and the organization becomes more successful and productive.
Leading the way
Google is a classic example of a company at the leading edge of creative and flexible workspaces, under the able leadership of Sundar Pichai. It ranks as one of the most sought-after businesses in the world in which to work. Staff work in remarkably creative spaces, with slides, toys, canteens, multi-media spaces, and vast amounts of flexibility regarding how they work, with the freedom to choose their own holidays, working hours, and breaks.
Dress Codes and Uniforms are dead ends, and staff is encouraged to express themselves and bring their enthusiasm and passions into their jobs, rather than leaving it at the door! There is an incredible range of perks such as concierge, free haircuts, lifestyle services, a gym and swimming pool on-site, and possibly the most unusual of staff bonuses- staff are permitted to carry their dogs into work with them! Many critics raised their eyebrows at the enormous sums of money and resource Google appeared to be spending on staff ‘extras’, but its breathtaking results and successes have spoken for themselves.
For today’s organizations
Of course, not all companies have the resources or money to spend on their employees in such a way, even if they recognize the possible benefits. Evolution is a slow business, and various leadership models will work for different types of business. A large public sector firm, for instance, will always need to do in a more traditional and structured way than, say, a small creative or digital agency.
But growing employers will need to bow to demand from their mobile and increasingly savvy staff – low-cost options for raising morale include allowing flexible working, removing office dress codes, and flexible benefits packages. One thing is for sure, the next-gen workers will only expect more of this dynamic and flexible approach, and the working world in the next 50 years is likely to be vague to the one we know today.