Diversity, Wellbeing, Mental Health, Mental Difference

The New World of Work – The End of Employment Discrimination?

As I continually immerse myself deeper and deeper into raising the awareness of mental difference capability (www.mentalhealthinbusiness.com), whilst simultaneously strengthening my day job activities (www.bigideatalent.com) with my learning and experiences, it occurred to me that employment discrimination could be a thing of the past sooner rather than later.

If you think about it laterally, and gen up on what millennials are expecting from employers and how they want to work, regardless of whether or not they are being realistic right now, you just know they will ultimately be dominant because their percentage makeup of the available talent out there will keep scaling.

The same with the next generation, whose name is being debated at present and is a toss-up between Gen Z, iGen and Centennials. For the record my money is on Gen Z because, for me, iGen sounds like an emerging energy conference, and Centennials could very well crop up as the bad guys and gals in an Avengers movie or a remake of the Matrix trilogy!

Technology is changing the world faster than before and anyone can imagine. I strongly believe that the minute I leave my house in the morning I become a fraction out of date and lose a small amount of currency, therefore, I have to keep up and evolve my thinking, and myself, to stay ahead.

This continually changing world is all that emerging talent knows and the snowball effect of more and more people having a new world perspective on life, and work, will eventually swamp old world views and practices. Emerging talent wants to earn money or reward doing the things they enjoy and are good at, whenever they want to, and if you watch Simon Sinek’s fascinating take on the generation, they believe this is how it should be!

So, businesses are going to have to keep up, react, change and accept that their future workforce could well be calling the shots. Especially those employers on the Klondike rush for digital talent!!!

These businesses will be looking at their purpose, what their shareholders, customers and employees expect and what tasks they then need to deliver, within what timescales, to achieve their objectives. This will put even more emphasis on recruiting for skills and capabilities, and the availability of these, in a more and real-time, task by task orientation, not whether or not they need a permanent employee, an interim or a contractor for a predetermined period of time to perform an extended role. They will be bringing people in to complete a task then expect them to move on to a new task internally or externally. In my opinion!

In my view the lines of contractual ways of working are therefore blurring and on a practical level we already know the recruitment process and channels to attract permanent, interim and contingent workers are the same, just with geographical, cultural and domain knowledge nuances, so it’s important we stop getting hung up on if someone may, or may not, be a good contractor because they haven’t been a contractor before! Do they have the skills and capability to do the task in the timescale required? Yes. Great consider them!

So, if we agree (for the benefit of this post) this is the way the world of work and recruitment is going, and recruiters and employers are going to be looking for people to complete a task, or some tasks, rather than a predominant focus on long term reciprocal working relationships, I personally believe there will be less focus on what the person looks and behaves like and what personal and professional background they have. There shouldn’t be a focus on this anyway, and many companies are already brilliant at diversity and inclusion, but the recent press about sexual discrimination in the workplace shows we are not universally there.

Just to evidence my thinking a little, on a panel discussion recently someone said they were on a company site and a chap walked passed in a wizard suit. When questioned the client contact said, oh that’s (his name) and he wears a wizard suit to work. That was it! It was just matter of fact. I took from this that (his name) was probably awesome at what he does, and he does it best in his wizard suit!

Some might react and say this is strange! Well with what I know from my own personal experience, and am learning and doing in the mental difference capability space, I have a different view. If (his name) works best in a wizard suit, why not offer to buy him five wizard suits so he can have a different one each working day!!! Targeted employee engagement and performance maximisation. A trend for 2018 maybe???

Another example of mine this time, is an old supplier who did an amazing job for me. He very rarely wore a suit, and more often than not he wore shorts and flip flops to meetings. I didn’t care because he was so amazingly capable and delivered expertly for me. More traditionalists in business however might have looked at him differently and judged him on appearance over capability.

And from a personal perspective, I have spent more than half of my life privately panicking about things that many people would probably find strange, and some may have labelled me accordingly. Well I take comfort that it hasn’t stopped me achieving in every role I have held, and it has given me a different skill set and capability to many others.

In summary, everyone has something about them or going on in their life that others might judge them on, so if we can just accept and look beyond this, then focus purely on what someone can bring to the party and match them to roles that need those skills and capabilities, surely businesses would be better places to work and much much more productive!

Maybe some people can’t, or worse still won’t! In years to come it may not matter though because they may just end up forming the minority!