Mobile is an activity, not a technology. We hear much that the average worker will have numerous jobs in his/her life. The number varies depending on the estimator but nobody seems surprised anymore that the number is not 2. Some employees are flying out the door because working in their current company is a fate worse than death but others move on because of a lack of opportunity or bad fit of skills to organization need – not always a harsh criticism of the organization then. The bottom line is that 2 years not 20 is the new normal.
As employees continue to pass through like vapor, employers must shift thinking from retention strategies alone to ones that embraces expected attrition. Workers are fluid like the knowledge they consume and expel. You won’t hold them for long but what organizations need to do is hang on to their residue. This residue being the rich artifacts of their time in the organization. I am not talking work product so much as work process; the wiki’s they contributed to, the blog posts and comments they made, the quick collaborations and Q&As in micro-blog tools, and the bookmarked (tagged) content.
As they exit, others enter and the give-n-take cycle begins again. This is where the energy and time should be put. T&D needs to beat their swords (of classes and courses) into ploughshares (for carving out rows and rows of connections). T&D needs to show workers how to plant the seeds and reap the fruits that fuel their labor. HR needs to orient and on-board by introducing employees to a rich culture that invites their contribution.
T&D should be modeling, encouraging, and sharing Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) approaches with employees and demonstrating the value of narrating one’s work. PKM should be the default approach for all but especially the increasing transient workforce we see today; Make it unavoidable and easy.
Organizations can’t stop the transition of employees any more than mankind can stop the sun from rising or the wind from blowing. Mankind has transitioned to embrace and leverage this continual motion. It’s a shift for organizations like the shift in energy policy we see today, as nations turn to solar and wind. This type of force strikes and continues on; unconstrained, it briefly turns the blade or fills the cell. The energy though is captured with ample, efficient, and strategically placed tools. This energy is used and then replenished again and again through movement. Organizations too must focus on capturing for brief moments the force of people, as they and their knowledge is in constant motion.