The future of work and the psychological contract
The world of work is changing, and with it, the expectations of employers and employees. The psychological contract is defined as “an individual's beliefs concerning the obligations that exists between the employee and the organization”. Outside of your role definitions and contract - what do you expect from your employer and what do they expect from you? This is a key challenge for the leaders of today and also affects employees’ approach to work.
Once upon a time you had a job for life, now you’re likely to have multiple jobs with role security decreasing with the outcome being a growth in the gig economy and contract roles. The psychological contract or expectations of an employees used to be – career growth, competitive salaries and job stability. The employers expected in return – loyalty and hard work. With the trend towards people being employed for a specific reason, achieving that task or project and then leaving – the old rules are thrown out the window.
So, what does this mean for employees? Evidence shows there is now a trend towards self – actualisation. Creating their own opportunities through networking, personal growth, doing meaningful work and developing a more extensive skill set that is transferrable.
For employers – the challenge is retaining high performing staff and attracting candidates who will have a positive impact on their business. They need to invest more in their people and their growth, and this starts with the recruitment and onboarding process, creating the culture and expectations from the start.
No doubt the psychological contract will continue to evolve as the emergence of robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning impact the future of work. The human element and building relationships therefore need to be the focus. As an employee – what do you need to be happy and fulfilled, and as an employer – what do you need to create for your people to attract them and keep them engaged?