Global workers, tele-commuters, immigrants, part timers, flexi-timers, home workers, the list goes on… In many countries the working population is ageing too but is often being complemented by younger immigrants. In summary, most workplaces are generally becoming more diverse and I think this increased complexity is making it increasingly difficult to segment the workforce and to compare these segments in traditional ways.
Firstly, we should always recognise that the differences between different groups are almost always less than the differences within groups. Americans may be generally more individualistic than Brits, but the difference between a higher and a lower individualism American or a Brit will be greater than the difference between the averages for the two countries.
But secondly, we can’t really just compare one single difference anymore. What are the differences between a male German Christian full-time graduate from a lower socio-economic group with 5 years experience and a female Indian Hind part-time school leaver from a high caste with 10 years tenure likely to be? No idea? - me neither. So increasingly we just need to accept that everyone is different to everyone else and treat each person working for us separately.
I think Accenture’s workforce of one and Deloitte’s mass career customisation provide some good examples for how you can do this, and I’ll be providing more guidance here as well.