Creating Social Value Blog / Corporate Social Relevance

Reimagining the Workforce of Tomorrow

Two weeks ago I had the honor to be at the Harris Manchester College, Oxford University for a working session on reimagining the workforce of the future. Co-chaired by long-time friend and collaborator Elizabeth Isele, CEO of the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship (GIEE), and Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), the workshop framed the specific demographic challenges of an aging workforce through an Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® solutions lens.

This, of course, is the cornerstone of any type of social innovation; re-framing a challenge as an opportunity. So rather than seeing this growing population as a burden on societal systems, what if we looked at, in Elizabeth Isele’s words, how to “unleash the power of experience?” Around the world there’s a whole host of people leaving the workforce at age 50 or above, and where is all this experience and good judgment going? Inside organizations, the challenge is not just about how to on-board new people and do a knowledge transfer; it is about finding ways to enable both judgment and experience transfers. Outside of companies, the challenge is to shift how we look at all aspects of a person’s aging and staging in life. So often when people are laid off, retire, or lose their jobs, they actually don’t realize how much value they intrinsically bring and can offer to other environments. If we can find ways to help connect them with that value, the opportunities are endless.

As Elizabeth so eloquently says, “Rarely, if ever, have people thought of “Aging” as a time of “Opportunity” but, with the advent of 20-30 additional years of life, today’s seniors are determined to add meaningful life to those years, to remain self-reliant, and to give back to their work, communities, and their world.” Fellow participant Peter Nicholson, VP of Business Development and Strategy at Nestlé Skin Health digs deeper into ideas for transforming work policy and the concept of retirement in this great post: Work Reimagined for the 21st Century – the Age of 65, 100 Years Later.

Once again, as I travel the world sharing the Babson mindset of ET&A® as a powerful tool for transformation, it has become even more clear to me the role ET&A® needs to play in the reimagining of the workforce of the future. To really harness this Experience Economy, we’re going to have to come up with new models, policies, and frameworks for what the various stages of life look like. This is an incredible new concept with potential for major social and economic impact, both inside and outside of companies. I’m so excited for Babson to be a part of this movement and to see what the future holds.