The Economics of Compassion in the New Economy
This article is less about agile techniques and more about the people-related challenges of today’s agile projects. As work switches from industrial work to knowledge work, companies face a perfect storm of employee engagement and retention issues. On the one hand, the time taken to learn a job is increasing as domains become more complex and new tools add layers of abstraction and integration problems. On the other hand, the average time spent in a job is decreasing. Frequent job changes are now the norm, and long-term workers are a rarity. Two years is the new five years for average tenure, and six months is the new two years of average placement of young workers. It may seem just as people become productive, they leave and the training process has to repeat.
An additional problem is that it’s often the best people who move on. They are sought after by more organizations, and there is now less stigma with short work assignments. Companies not paying attention to their workforce or offering appealing work environments find themselves subject to an involuntary “sedimentation effect” as the best float to the top and depart, leaving less capable people behind. The process has been accelerated by social media and online job sites that make finding good places to work and connecting strong candidates to great companies easier than ever.
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