DEEP Insight

Choosing a Better Path Premium

Today there are many more directions your career can go. This dossier is your map for the journey.

This executive dossier includes the following articles:

Helping Employees Realize Their Dreams Premium

The Search for Meaning

Hall, Douglas Tim; Feldman, Elana R.

The social unrest witnessed around the world during 2011 expresses the frustration of many people whose dreams have been shattered. A dream is a possibility that a person imagines for his or her work or non-work life, which ideally should generate excitement, but for many represents an ever more distant reality. Rather than eroding people’s dreams any further through more short-term cutbacks, a better strategy would be to help individuals reclaim their lost dreams and take steps to fulfill them. As the authors’ research shows, companies that help employees pursue their dreams and find meaning in their personal and professional lives end up with a far more engaged and productive workforce, and tend to be more successful at holding on to their most talented employees and managers, generating innovation and growth in the process. For companies operating across borders, special attention must be paid to culture-specific dreams and aspirations, in order to inspire a global workforce anew.

Multiple Stories to Career Building Premium

Professional Elevation

Las Heras, Mireia

Career success used to be defined in terms of climbing the corporate ladder and moving up the salary scale, often sacrificing other personal aspirations along the way. Yet socioeconomic changes have altered not only the nature of competition, but also people's priorities and their conception of professional development. Rather than a steady ascent to the summit, careers are regarded as winding paths shaped according to various stages and cycles of a person's lifetime. The author analyzes this shift and describes four ways in which companies can drive personal and professional development among their workforce, based on feasible flexibility, development-oriented relationships, visibility and transparency, and diversity management.

Flexicurity: Riding Into the Future Premium

Dynamic Employment Model

Wilthagen, Ton

One of the most urgent problems confronting European governments today is high unemployment. At the same time, global companies are finding it harder to find experienced and qualified professionals who can help them compete in a global business environment. The creative and collaborative approach to employment known as flexicurity seemingly offers a solution to both these problems by emphasizing flexible work arrangements and comprehensive lifelong learning schemes, helping firms and employees to thrive in volatile business contexts. In this article, the author highlights two areas of flexicurity that stand out for reaping immediate benefits and unleashing powerful societal effects: more diverse contractual arrangements, and lifelong learning for all categories of workers. But flexicurity involves more than formulating policies; it’s an entirely new conception of work. It needs to be understood as a dynamic phenomenon and monitored through a careful examination of the different conditions of each unique labor market and culture.

Rebounding After a Career Disaster Premium

Back on Track

Sonnenfeld, Jeffrey

Suffering from a career setback can be one of life’s most traumatic events. In an economic climate where unemployment is growing, many will be feeling this particular pain. For many, after years of economic stability and success, this may be their first taste of failure. While adversity can devastate the toughest human beings, it can also inspire them to greater things. This article, based on research and interviews with CEOs, offers a guide to rebounding from career setbacks. Citing numerous examples of great leaders who have suffered from being ousted or let go, or who have had their reputations tarnished in some way, the author considers the societal, institutional and psychological barriers to recovery. He then shares some key strategies, using reputation management and support networks, to regain control and rediscover a new heroic mission.

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