Mass Career Customization

I recently finished reading Mass Career Customization, the newly released book from Deloitte’s Cathleen Benko and Anne Weisberg (published by Harvard Business Press).

The Quick review: Great book with some excellent ideas.

The long review (well…not real long):

The authors do a very good job of outlining the issues and trends that are pressing employees today. The main issues, according to the authors, are:

  • Knowledge Worker Shortfall
  • Changing Family Structures
  • More & Better Educated Women
  • The changing expectations of Men
  • Generational Maturity (Gen X & Y)
  • Technology

These issues are definitely affecting organizations and employees and there has been little thought put into how to allow employees to structure their lives and careers to address these issues.

The authors provide a framework, which they’ve called “Mass Career Customization” (MCC) that allows employees and organizations to customize a career. This framework provides four dimensions that can be used to customize a career at any given point in time. These dimensions, Pace, Workload, Location/Schedule and Role, are well thought out and well crafted ways to customize a career. According to the authors, these dimensions are defined as (taken from page 84):

  • Pace – options relating to the rate of career progression
  • Workload – choices relating to the quanity of work output
  • Location/Schedule – Options for when and where work is performed
  • Role – Choices in position and responsibilities.

Let’s consider an example of how MCC works:

Assume you are a person just out of college. You take a job with a large company and want to get on ‘the fast track’ to career growth and experience. You, along with your manager, would use the MCC framework to increase the dimensions of Pace, Workload and possibly Location/Schedule so that you can gain as much experience in the business as you can. The Role dimension would be at its lowest level since your role would be as an individual contributor.

Now, assume you’ve worked for 3 years with this same MCC model and are getting tired of the pace of life and want to settle down a bit and go back to school for your MBA. At this time, you and your manager would sit down and develop another MCC model for your career to possibly reduce Pace and Workload while increasing your role to a position that moves you into a managerial role.

Further along in your career, you can use the MCC framework to structure your work-life balance in order to do what you need to do.

The overall goal of MCC is to provide a method for allowing employees and organizations to utilize the talent pool in a more effective manner. I can’t help but think of the books by Ricardo Semler (Maverick, Seven Day Weekend) which discuss the need to treat employees like adults and allow them to do their job in whatever way they feel most comfortable with. I think the Mass Career Customization framework is getting us closer to that type of organization.

This book is a very interesting book…I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the art/science of making organizations more effective and employee friendly.

NOTE: This book was provided by the publisher as an advanced review copy.

[tags] Mass Career Customization, books, culture, organization, Human Resources [/tags]

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