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Motivating Workers in a World of Monetized Skills

Tim Houlne is CEO of Working Solutions and Terri Maxwell is CEO of Succeed on Purpose and Co-authors of The New World of Work

Today’s workers are increasingly loyal to the skills they can monetize, not the companies they work for. Let that sink in for a moment. We know that the days of gold watch retirements are long gone, but what does this lack of company loyalty realistically mean for the future?

Presently, most professionals know that — for better or worse — permanent job security is a thing of the past. It is, in part, the absence of security that has shifted workers’ mindsets over the last decade. This resulted in our economic preferences changing from work for the security a corporation could provide, to work on our own terms.

This fundamental shift, which we call the New World of Work, changes the way people work in such a disruptive manner that it will alter the way businesses actually operate. The New World of Work is based on three key trends that have transformed the way work is done today:

  • Work has been fractionalized.
  • Careers have been virtualized.
  • Talent has been globalized.

Each of these trends works together to create a new environment that promotes workers monetizing their skills through fractionalized work. From an organizational perspective, the talent pool runs deep. Now finding the best talent happens through global channels rather than interviews of people in your own backyard.

The Shift Shapers

The recent economic downturn left many displaced and trying to figure out the next step. There seemed to be a serious shortage of jobs — but was there really? Truth be told, American companies are the largest employer of global talent through fractionalization of work product. Companies such as eLance and oDesk have seen rapid growth by connecting talented individuals to companies desiring highly skilled workers – most of these companies are U.S. based and many of the workers are located outside the country.

Technology has empowered the global talent pool to work from home, or the location of their choice, creating a different level of motivation — quality of life. Now workers are able to set their own schedules, choose the type of work they desire, and work from anywhere at any time. This shift goes well beyond the belief that companies cannot provide stability and into state of empowerment that as a talented worker, these people have a large number of opportunities.

Finally, with our do more with less company environments, the market has created a demand for these types of workers. The desire to create optimum efficiency drives the use of this new talent pool that can enable companies to more efficiently compete. As a result, there is a growing market demand for higher quality and specialized skill sets found in the virtual talent marketplace.

Motivation Means New Models

It’s not just the unavailability of employment that is creating the New World of Work. Worker motivation has changed and more profession­als are choosing to take control of their destinies. Freedom is the new currency for this workforce, while the old world clings to deceptively “secure” wages and benefits. This new focus means that companies must revisit their existing modes of motivating workers.

The old carrot-and-stick model of motivation — promising reward and threatening punishment — was never that effective. However, in the New World of Work, this type of model will be completely unsuccessful. The idea that you must see a worker in order for him to be productive is completely outmoded. Managers must change how they approach the virtual talent available in order to maximize their talents and create the competitive advantage desired.

To embrace the empowered workforce, focus more on the passions of the worker, rather than the management of the work. This requires a shift in thinking. Do not worry about how much time was spent doing the work. Spend time concerned with managing and rewarding the results, production and outcomes.

Making this shift may be uncomfortable for some managers, but remember — these empowered workers are the people you have been looking for. They are:

  • Self-starting: They have the ability to self-motivate and accomplish the task or achieve the objective.
  • Educated: They’ve gained critical knowledge, in either school, trade or by developing street smarts.
  • Technologically Savvy: They have the ability to navigate through today’s connected world.
  • Committed: They are survivors who will not stop until they achieve success.
  • Connected: They are part of a team or network, or willing to join one.

In the New World of Work, the bar has been raised. Skilled help no longer needs to live within a fifty-mile radius of your company, which means companies have the nation or the world as their recruiting pool. To the smart corporation, that translates into an ability to attract and retain the best talent from around the globe.

But even with no boundaries, there will be a shortage of skilled, knowledgeable prospects and the best talent will go not only to the highest bidder, but to the best platforms for empowered work. These will be organizations that truly understand this new fractionalized, virtualized workforce and focus on inspiring and motivating, rather than managing and legislating.

The number of skilled performance-based workers will grow at an unprecedented rate because of the globalization and fractionalization of work.

Remember, it is not only about compensation; other intangible benefits are at play. More importantly, educating managers to identify talent and embrace the virtual workforce is a requirement for managing the new talent pool of empowered workers.

Freedom is what drives and motivates the new, global workforce with no boundaries. To capitalize on this talented group, your organization must be equipped to provide the right combination — compensation, inspirational work environment and embracing freedom as the norm.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessNewsDaily.

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