Would you like to take a look at one company’s bold and effective response to employees’ changing needs for flexibility over the course of a working lifetime? I have a fascinating book to recommend: Mass Career Customization, by Cathleen Benko and Anne Weisberg.
Benko and Weisberg write about how their company, Deloitte, has implemented a very new approach to flex.
Deloitte has long been a standout leader in creating policies and practices that accommodate people’s needs for myriad forms of flexible work. They started down this path many years ago as a means of stemming their costly turnover rates, particularly for their most talented women. They were losing highly talented women from the partnership track at an alarming rate, mostly during the years when these women had young children. Deloitte became the poster child company for family-friendly policies, and they reaped phenomenal savings in dollars and morale by dramatically increasing retention across the board.
Now they’re taking it to the next level by implementing a broad system of customizing employees’ schedules and workloads a year at a time, based on the employee’s needs. They call this dynamic “mass career customization” (MCC) , and this is the book that tells the story.
Deloitte is normalizing the need for flexibility: it’s no longer seen as an accommodation or a one-time need that will evaporate at some point (and the sooner the better!). Rather, Deloitte is acting as if anyone could need an unconventional schedule or workload during any or all of their working years, so better to be nimble enough to roll with these needs rather than lose the employee. The result is a robust and committed workforce with extraordinary capacity. Because the company benefits, I think we’ll see a lot more of this in the future.
According the Professor Myra Hart of Harvard Business School, “With an MCC approach, corporations are not saying, ‘I want only your good years or the years in which you can make a maximum contribution.’ Instead, corporations are saying to employees, ‘We really want a lifetime contract with you.’ This is a very new approach to employee retention.”
Shelly Lazarus, Chairman & CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, writes, “Finally, a book recognizing that the needs of today’s knowledge workers are far from a women-only issue. Mass Career Customization provides an incisive analysis of what’s really happening on the talent front and a comprehensive approach of what to do about it.”
I can’t say it reads as fast as fiction, but it’s a great read. You may think you’re reading fiction when you see what’s going on at Deloitte. Check it out.