Prepare for the Future of Work: The demand for instant gratification
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
This is the third post of my series about preparing your organization for the future of work. In each post, we look at a data-based trend that is or will be disruptive to work as we know it. In the last post, we explored the impact of the gig economy. Today, we look into how our increasing expectations for “right now” information and experiences will impact work.
Future of Work trend #3: The increasing demand for instant gratification
Perhaps I’m getting old, but it doesn’t seem that long ago that I would sit with friends and argue over some insignificant point of trivia. We might go around and around for an hour debating over who was right and who was wrong.
No more. Now when the question comes up and we aren’t sure, no need for argument. We Google it. We have just-in-time access to a world of information through the supercomputer we carry in our pockets.
This always-ready, always-available access to information and resources is changing how we interact with the world. To get a sense for how, it can be informative to look at our internet search habits.
Think with Google is a great resource for data-based consumer behavior trends. It contains reports and analysis published by Google based on their hoards of data. In one recent report, there are some interesting insights into our growing impatience and desire for instant gratification. For example:
Search interest in the phrase “open now” has tripled in the past two years while searches for “store hours” has decreased. They interpret this to mean that we are increasingly loyal to our own needs over any particular place.
Mobile searches for “same-day shipping” have grown 120% in the past 3 years, peaking in volume early in the morning each day. The implication seems to be that our planning behavior is changing. Technology is enabling procrastination and last-minute planning more than ever before.
To further illustrate our growing impatience, the data shows that 53% of website visits are abandoned if the site takes more than 3 seconds to load. If a site doesn’t appear instantly, we bail out and go find another one.
What does the demand for instant gratification mean for organizations?
It seems like everything is “on demand” these days. TV and movie entertainment happens whenever and wherever we want it. Keurig brews our favorite coffee, one cup at a time in about a minute. And, the answer to nearly any question is one Google search away.
Even when we order products online, we expect them to arrive within days at most. And we’re told by Amazon that orders could arrive in hours in the near future, thanks to airborne drones.
Waiting is so last year. We don’t have to wait. When we have a need, the means and resources to solve it right now are literally at our fingertips.
Employees expect the same access to information and solutions to their work problems as they have to their personal problems. If we can go to Youtube to find free tutorial videos for how to fix a lawnmower or to play guitar, certainly we should be able to go online to easily find information that we need to do our job or use our company-sponsored benefits.
How can we prepare for the future of work now?
The expectation for instant gratification and “right now” access to resources is likely to become more and more the norm. As employers, to engage and retain your best people is going to require thinking differently about how you make information and opportunities accessible to them.
Here are a couple suggestions for how you might get started.
Make as much information as possible accessible and searchable to employees. HR, in particular, is the keeper of tremendous amounts of information that has high value to employees. Policies, handbooks, training and development content, employment history, benefits plans and resources—to name just a few. Is this information easily accessible and searchable for employees—particularly from their mobile device? If they are sitting in a Subway having lunch and wondering what policies exist that affect internal promotions, could they find it quickly and easily? If not, it’s time to start thinking differently about how you make information and resources more accessible to employees.
Encourage employees to create and share their own “how to” content internally. My 21 year old son has successfully completed some extensive mechanical repairs to his truck using only YouTube videos for instruction. My elementary school kids go to YouTube to learn from other kids how to play video games and make slime. I make videos and post them online to help managers improve their skills. This type of sharing has become more and more common. Given the opportunity and some encouragement, employees will do the same internally. And, by making it accessible and searchable to all employees, you enable on-demand learning and development.
As you consider how to create an employee experience to satisfy our growing impatience, the key is to put yourself in the shoes of your employees. What problems are they likely to face? What questions are they likely to have? And, most importantly, how are they going to want to be able to find the answers?
Then, get to work on providing both the information and the tools to ensure your employees can find what they need exactly when they need it.
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About Jason Lauritsen
Jason Lauritsen is a keynote speaker, author, and consultant. He is an employee engagement and workplace culture expert who will challenge you to think differently. A former corporate Human Resources executive, Jason has dedicated his career to helping leaders build organizations that are good for both people and profits. Most recently, he led the research team for Quantum Workplace’s Best Places to Work program where he has studied the employee experience at thousands of companies to understand what the best workplaces in the world do differently than the rest. Jason is the co-author of the book, Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships, and author of his new book, Unlocking High Performance, to be published by Kogan Page in October 2018.