Are we still living in the information age? Maybe not. Here’s an interesting article from Harvard Business Review on the Human Economy, from November 2014. Societies have evolved from agrarian economies to industrial economies to service economies to knowledge economies. At this point, there’s such a glut of food and goods and services and information, the next bottleneck is humans. Businesses that do well in this new era will be those with a greater sense of humanity. Those that have a poor sense of humanity shall be sunk!
“In the human economy, the most valuable workers will be hired hearts.” It is what makes us different from robots and artificial intelligence (i.e. emotions) that will make us special as employees. Many of the examples in the article are from the perspective of a customer whose heart was won over. Noticeably there’s always and employee whose empathy and enthusiasm closed the deal (so to speak). The article cites several studies where CEOs place a higher priority on social skills than analytics.
This is what it feels like at my desk. I spend half of my time getting the formulas right, and the rest of the time helping people become happy about the numbers. They can’t use workforce analytics unless they trust us. The analytics influence the decision making. Clients get better because we help them develop patience. They come back for more the data is addictive. We persevere through inevitable errors and mistakes, being honest about having made best efforts.
Beyond customer engagement, employee engagement is increasingly recognized as having a major impact on productivity behind closed doors. People are not monkeys at a keyboard sending customer service complaints in circles. Or rather, sometimes it seems that way but it sure looks bad in the news.
At their best, people are the embodiment of the discretionary effort that dictates if a service or product gets to market, and they make every capital investment matter (or not).