“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.” — John Ruskin
The College Night speaker last week at my son’s high school advocated choosing a college based not just on obtaining a degree, but on the experience you want to gain there. Want to conduct research alongside a professor? How about study abroad? Look for a college that will provide the experiences you seek, she advised.
Increasingly, that’s becoming the focus of job candidates – and for companies looking to retain their talent. In a post on his blog, HR pro Tim Sackett points out some of the things people spend their free time and money on, including Navy Seal-inspired bootcamp and survival vacations — experiences that challenge their mental and physical limits. He writes:
You could go out and buy yourself a new Rolex for $5,000 or you could backpack across the desert over two weeks in brutal conditions. Which one would you remember most? Which one would you talk about more? Which one would make you most proud of yourself? Experiences are the new luxury goods.
He says challenging employees doesn’t have to be expensive or crazy, but “[unique experiences] challenge people to sharpen their saw, to get out of their comfort zone and stay engaged with your business.”
While bringing in beer kegs or planning company parties to the beach can’t hurt, it might be simply giving an employee tasks outside their normal routine.
In a somewhat related vein, Forrester’s TJ Keitt writes that the CIO is key to engaging worker experiences throughout the company. Says Keitt:
Regardless of the talent retention and management strategy, technology will be necessary to help unlock the potential within the workforce.
However, it shouldn’t be solely about managing technology he says.
IT leaders will never be able to expand the conversation about how technology can enable employees or redefine the relationship between IT and employees if the focus is on provisioning and managing technology. The conversations CIOs should be driving is how to design technology experiences which align technology with specific work tasks to drive actions that help employees achieve the outcomes they, and the business, desire.
Among the ways to make that happen, he says, is to seize upon the company’s vision, employing technology to bring it to life.