What Companies Need to Know About the Rise of the ‘Comprehensivist’September 19, 2017 - By: Matt Thomas
The concept of the ‘workplace’ is one that is constantly evolving, heavily influenced by changes in technology which give people more and more individual freedoms. For example, the existence of the internet and WiFi capabilities from just about anywhere has led to the remote work debate – how much time should employees be allowed to work remotely versus in the office with their coworkers and higher-ups? Available technologies that speed up certain workplace processes have paved the way for what once required a team of specialists to be replaced by a multi-disciplinary “comprehensivist” – essentially the opposite of a specialist. In turn, this coincides with the evolution of the gig economy, characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.
What does all of this mean for companies? As the comprehensivist approach to work becomes more and more prevalent among potential new hires, companies will need to shift some of their structural mindsets to accommodate. There are three areas to tackle to make working for your company more inviting for the comprehensivist: the work environment, type of work and social benefits your company offers.
Autonomous work environment
Typically, comprehensivists opt for freelance or independent contracting work. Why? They have a unique skill set with which they market themselves versus working on a team in an office. Someone who opts for freelance work over working in an office likely values autonomy. To maintain a competitive edge among prospective new hires in the market, you’ll need to shift your work environment to one that promotes and facilitates autonomy. Employees are attracted to the possibility of working from multiple locations around the office, as well as remote work options and flexible work hours.
More project-based work
A comprehensivist is someone who thrives on project-based work versus ongoing, open-ended tasks. Build in opportunities for employees to experience project-based tasks in addition to the more open-ended work. Giving employees work within the enclosed parameters of a project allows them to hone a craft and shows you value their independent input. It’s something they can own.
Highlight the social benefits
One major aspect of office life that a free-lance comprehensivist lacks is the built-in social interaction. Make this part of your company as appealing as possible with regular opportunities for staff to get together, whether it’s office celebrations, volunteering opportunities or happy hour after work. Make sure to facilitate genuine social gatherings versus making it feel forced. Your employees will be able to tell if an office outing feels more like an obligation than an enjoyable social experience.
In our current digitally-charged world, it’s all about fast-paced solutions, convenience and happiness. When these same values are applied to the workplace, companies need to be aware of the changes they need to make in order to keep up. With the average employee who is in the job hunt marketplace shifting more toward the comprehensivist mindset, be sure your organization is taking appropriate steps to make your company stand out.
For more tips on strengthening employee retention rates, see our latest blog on ways to increase employee engagement through company culture.