A desperate shortage of qualified employees Employees’ reluctance to return to physical premises More than 40% of employees thinking of quitting A general disillusionment with, and distrust of, big government and Corporations. In the preface of my recent book, The Bellwether Effect, I have written:
Nearly one in two employees is unhappy with their job, and the latest global Edelman Trust Barometer reveals the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media, and NGOs, with CEO credibility having dropped 12 points globally to an all-time low of 37 percent. We have lost our passion for corporate life. During my presentations to audiences, I often ask them this question: “What percentage of the population do you think would leave the corporate world and pursue different interests if they had a completely free hand?” Like an auction, I start at 50 percent and the audience will typically raise the offer until we settle at an estimate of something more than 80 percent. Why is this a tragedy? Because, apart from the human anguish and suffering that such a chronic state of discontent causes, we live in a capitalist society, one of whose main engines (besides the church and government) is commerce, and if we botch this critical source of livelihood and exchange, we risk losing everything. So, reclaiming our passion for corporate life, and reinfusing work with inspiration, is not an inconsequential issue.
The personal freedom initiated by Covid, amplified by both technology and “working from home”, has brought about a sense of liberation for employees who are questioning their roles and the purpose and the integration of their lives. The World Economic Forum has dubbed this, “The Great Reset”. This disillusionment comes from what I have named, “Exploitative Capitalism”, in which greed, unbridled growth, shareholder demands, marketing deceptions, environmental ruthlessness, rapacious growth and employee burnout (take this burnout test) have been the accepted norm. But, Exploitative Capitalism has hit a wall. Capitalism has always depended on the goodwill of labor. Sometimes this has been freely given and sometimes it has been coerced. But the balance has never been even—managerial policy and labor law have always favored corporations. Until now. The mistakes of leaders are often born by employees. In just one example, GE fired 20,000 employees in 2020 as a result of management’s disastrous mistakes over many years, while, at the same time, the CEO of GE was expected to earn $230 million in compensation. Too often, taxpayer’s money is used to repair the damage from managerial decisions that result in environmental disasters. Shareholders enjoy the rewards of corporate success; and employees and taxpayers pick up the tab for management’s failures. A new era is beckoning. I call the alternative, “Servant Capitalism” because it seeks to serve employees, customers, the environment and society. In other words, the true purpose of Servant Capitalism is to recognize that there are stakeholders beyond shareholders and to serve all of their interests—including shareholders—but not at the expense of any other single stakeholder. We can reverse this by doing two simple (but not always easy) things:
- Being an inspiring leader who provides hope, vision and love (yes, I intentionally use that word) for employees, creating a culture of inspiration in which organizations pursue a dream (a much higher concept than the popular “purpose” movement) and where employees are proud of their organization, their colleagues and the products or services they provide, and,
- Honoring the sacredness of people (employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders) and the environment
Following just these two steps would change everything and make people fall in love with capitalism again. Will you take the lead? Here is how you can begin:
Together, we can change the world. Are you ready? . “More Than Half of US Workers are Satisfied with Their Jobs, ”The Conference Board: https://www.conference-board.org/press/pressdetail.cfm?pressid=7184  2017 Edelman Trust Barometer: https://www.edelman.com/news/2017-edelman-trust-barometer-reveals-global-implosion/