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work is human


Staff member
Feb 16, 2024
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Is there a talent shortage today, or merely ineffective hiring practices?

While employers lament a talent shortage, they are scrambling to increase talent attraction and retention. They offer new incentives and promises of increased flexibility and an inclusive company culture. However, most of these efforts ignore one key factor that could make a significant difference–including talent across the age spectrum.

Instead, talent management processes such as recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining tend to exclude individuals under 24 or over 40. The result is a 16-year criterion for talent. —Forbes 2023-03-12

Is ageism a primary factor influencing the retention of skilled and experienced workers?

Due largely to early retirements and a caustic mix of ageism and cost-cutting measures, businesses let too many older workers go during the pandemic — and when they left, so did a lot of institutional memory, expertise, and loyalty. With fewer younger workers entering the labor market for at least a generation, employers that don’t think beyond today’s working-age population will likely struggle to build a reliable workforce that can maintain operational efficiency and effectiveness. —HBR 2023-01-05

Perhaps the taste of working from anywhere has accelerated the departure of older workers.

Dennis C. would rather retire than return to the office full time — and that’s exactly what he did.

The Alabama-based 65-year-old, who verified his last name, former employment, and salary range with Insider, but asked that they be withheld to protect his privacy, got a taste of working from home years ago. In 2018, higher-ups at his job handed a day of remote work out as a reward. By 2019, he was working two days remotely, and three days in the office. He said that schedule was “fantastic,” and he thought he’d never retire: “This is perfect, this is heaven.”

But as 2020 rolled in and sent everyone home, he discovered he loved full-time remote work even more.

“We went to five days a week and it was like, ‘Oh, I thought two was good, five is the sweet spot,'” Dennis said. “There’s no reason to go back to the office.” —Business Insider 2023-05-29

But it’s not just older workers who want a more flexible structure that allows work from anywhere. Many women and marginalized genders also want it.

Ninety percent of women want the ability to work remotely, including fully remote or hybrid-work options, and with it have experienced an increased sense of belonging, greater psychological safety, and, thanks to less unstructured time with colleagues, fewer microaggressions. This is even more pronounced for women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities. Support for flexibility and the ability to work remotely is inextricably tied to gender equality and benefits us all: women, men, and marginalized genders. —Fortune 2023-05-14

Other than demographic challenges, the rise of the use of GPT & LLM tools is automating many work tasks, often not for better quality work but for cost savings. For example, a copywriter with years of experience lost 10 clients to ChatGPT and is now changing his vocation to HVAC technician.

Eric Fein ran his content-writing business for 10 years, charging $60 an hour to write everything from 150-word descriptions of bath mats to website copy for cannabis companies. The 34-year-old from Bloomingdale, Ill., built a steady business with 10 ongoing contracts, which made up half of his annual income and provided a comfortable life for his wife and 2-year-old son.
But in March, Fein received a note from his largest client: His services would no longer be needed because the company would be transitioning to ChatGPT. One by one, Fein’s nine other contracts were canceled for the same reason. His entire copywriting business was gone nearly overnight. —WaPo 2023-06-02

Perhaps the optimal workplace is one where knowledge artisans of all ages and genders are supported, because the act of creation is human. Work is human. Workers are human.

Knowledge intensive workplaces demand cooperative learning in addition to collaborative work. This will require structural changes in the hierarchy and control systems. It also means changing the employment relationship where becoming a successful knowledge artisan will take a lot more than just being a good employee. A gig mindset is a change in the status quo.

Principle of Network Management — It is only through innovative and contextual methods, the self-selection of the most appropriate tools and work conditions and willing cooperation that more productive work can be assured. The duty of being transparent in our work and sharing our knowledge rests with all workers, especially management.
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