Leading the 3.0 Workplace

The 3.0 WorkplaceWe are quickly moving into a new world of work. Review the Fortune 100 Best Place to Work and you will find companies who care deeply about attracting the best talent and engaging them in meaningful work. Many of these companies are on the cutting edge of the trend toward the 3.0 Workplace.

Even during difficult economic circumstances over the past few years, most of these companies refused to pull their funding and focus away from being a great place to work. Why? Because they know the profound affect being a great place to work has on their business, their people, their customers, and their communities. Case in point, a research study conducted by Deloitte in 2007 showed the 100 best companies to work for outperformed the S&P 500 in total shareholder value return over a 10-year period, 18.9 percent to 8.4 percent.

These companies are ushering in a new world of work.

The 3.0 Workplace.

Let’s look at the original workplace. Some companies are still providing a 1.0 work environment for their employees. This workplace usually has a great deal of hierarchy, bureaucracy and is authority driven. Leaders expect people to do what they are told and very little positive motivation occurs. Coercion and threats exist while people show up each day just to get a paycheck. There is little passion on the part of the employees and sparse care or concern toward employees by leaders. It’s a classic profits before people environment.

Today many companies have progressed to a 2.0 workplaces. The trend began in the 1990’s to create flatter organizations, develop greater team collaboration, and provide competitive compensation and benefits packages. Management and leadership development are valued and these companies understand they need to provide a good workplace to compete for and retain talent. 2.0 companies also understand the value of excellent customer service.

Only a few companies have transitioned to the 3.0 workplace. This workplace is characterized by a high level of autonomy, virtual collaboration, diversity, and mobility. These companies recruit the best talent and are admired. Currently, 3.0 workplace companies utilize their culture as a competitive advantage.

What makes this type of workplace so advanced and attractive? Here are a few characteristic of the 3.0 Workplace.

Employee Experience Focused – The evidence is clear, customer experience drives business profitability. Many 2.0 companies understand this and have shifted to a customer-focused business. The 3.0 company, in contrast, understands that “employee experience” drives good customer service that then drives profitability. To have a great customer experience, companies must first focus on a great employee experience.

Results-Oriented – Employees are not evaluated on how much time they spend in the office, but instead what results they have created. It’s not a “time-punch” or “be seen” workplace.

Mobile – Your office can be anywhere. Home, car, drop-in office, coffee shop among many other places. 3.0 companies are saving millions of dollars on building leases, utilities, liability insurance, and expensive building maintenance by allowing part-time or full-time telecommuting and focusing on open, drop-in work-spaces. These companies discourage the consumption of fuel energy to commute to a work cubicle or office.  Meetings and effective collaboration are achieved via visual technologies such as tablet based video conferences and Telepresence.

Global-Competitive Jobs – Anyone who has the knowledge or skill to do the job has a shot to get the open position. It doesn’t matter where anyone lives in the new, open, global, mobile workplace.

Life-Flexible – Employees are given flexibility to attend to life priorities at anytime. They are encouraged to make significant contributions to the world through work and outside of work through family, community, faith, and personal development.

Free Agent Workforce – People are seen as professionals with valuable skills not as company assets. The employee/employer work agreement is much like a professional athlete’s contract with a sports franchise. This includes performance-based pay, incentives, and benefits that are customized to the person’s desires. People view their career and work for a company as their own business.

Diversity Driven – Diversity programs have been successful yet are no longer needed. Diversity of thought and perspective is the focus and exists because company leaders believe and practice equal opportunity.

A look at the 3.0 workplace begs an important question for leaders. Are you ready to be a 3.0 leader? 3.0 workplaces only exist when leaders choose to learn, adapt, and evolve. What are you doing to evolve your leadership and move your team, organization, or business forward?

Photo above courtesy of arztsamui via freedigitalphotos.net