Can you pull off a workforce of one?
Karen Brennan-Holton is a partner at Accenture and a member of the Workforce Institute Advisory Board. She contributed an intriguing chapter to our recent book, Elements of Successful Organizations, based on the proposition that organizations can optimize performance by tailoring work assignments to the worker vs. expecting employees to conform to a fixed job description. At Accenture, they refer to this approach as a “workforce of one”.
According to Karen, this approach has been successfully applied in hourly environments as well as the salaried, laptop-carrying ranks. During our conversation last week, Karen remarked that “customization is coming out of the closet”. She went on to explain that in the past many organizations have customized work as an accommodation for a small number of high performing employees they want to retain, treating work customization as a one-off, not a matter of policy. She cites a growing number of examples, both hourly and salaried, of organizations using the “workforce of one” approach to develop, engage and retain employees and thereby drive better organizational results.
Could this work in your organization?