I will be speaking at a number of events in the next 12 weeks and last week I was a guest on a show that covered the “workplace landscape” of the next decade. I’m sure most of you are in the midst of planning for 2010 budgets and are wrestling with what is critical, what is outdated, what is relevant, what is new/old, etc. It is my perspective that there are four major macro-level trends that are shaping some of the best thinking and planning for human capital professionals, especially in the context of professional development and talent management. In the next four weeks, I will discuss each one. The first one is what I am calling Recession Recovery.
This is not entirely new. I’ve talked about it before. The notion is that the economy that we have experienced in the last 12+ months has had a fundamental and paradigm-shifting impact on not just the working professional, but also on the organization. Most of us have been unfavorably hurt in some form or another. Whether it was watching our savings literally disappear, or losing jobs, or being overworked, or reducing our habitual consumption … in some way, we’ve all been impacted by this recession. The impact has not just been a financial or vocational one – in fact, it has been a profoundly emotional one. A peer of mine compared it to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the emotional stress that survivors of wars or other traumatic experiences go through. The trust in employers, in institutions, in government, in leaders, and in some basic truths about workplace behavior has eroded. The survival mode behavior has indeed taken its toll.
So as we begin to exit the recession, and there are finally signs of it, organizations and leaders have to be emotionally prepared to deal with this apathetic and fatigued workforce that is the aftermath. And the singular competency that can help both employees and employers get out of the funk faster is, arguably, emotional intelligence. The ability to recognize emotions, to regulate them, to maximize the desired ones, and to harness them for high performance will be paramount. I submit that EQ has never been more relevant in the workplace than now, and will be so for at least the next few years. Those of us brave enough to espouse this to our executives and make this a formal part of their 2010 Plans are going to have a significant advantage over those that do not.