Post-Recession Workplace

Fast Company: Why I’m (Starting) to Trust the Government’s Work+Life Bully Pulpit

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Periodically, I contextualize my opinions with “Maybe it’s my background as a banker and an MBA but…” because as much as I’m open-minded to and appreciate different perspectives, I’m still a businessperson at heart.  It’s important for me to acknowledge that fact, because it’s from this perspective that I’ve historically maintained a wary, arm’s length relationship with public policy solutions to work+life challenges.

My wariness stems from the 15 years I’ve worked with real companies, managers and employees developing and implementing work+life strategies.  I’ve learned that flexibility in how, when and where work is done and life is managed is the flagship solution that everyone needs.  It’s part of and enabled by a package of other direct supports such as paid time off, leaves, dependent care, etc .  This experience has shown me, time and again, that the best work+life strategies have the following characteristics:

  • They are NOT one-size-fits-all. They are tailored to the unique realities of the business and the people who work there.  Those (sometimes tough) business realities must be acknowledged for the solutions proposed to have credibility and staying power.
  • They are process, not policy-based which makes them flexible enough to adapt and evolve with the changing realities of the business and the people who work there.
  • They are built on a strong employee-employer partnership, not from the top-down. The employer/manager creates the space within which innovative work+life solutions are crafted as part of the day-to-day operating model.  And employees are prepared and know what they need to do to meet the company halfway.
  • They achieve both business and personal work+life fit objectives. The employer understands how to apply the same flexibility that helps individual employees manage their work+life fit to achieve other business objectives such as resource cost management (eg. labor, real estate, technology, and health care), global client service, sustainability, disaster preparedness, working better and smarter, etc.

For quite some time, these characteristics of success struck me as antithetical to mandate-based approach of public policy. Therefore, I tended not to look to the public sector for the leadership to promote and advance truly effective work+life strategies.  That is until the Obama candidacy and then presidency.

Listening to the administration’s statements and watching its actions, I began to think maybe the public sector could provide that extra “oomph” of support to move the work+life agenda forward.  They seemed interested in building upon the success within the private sector, while creating a legislative environment that reflects the reality of a 21st Century global economy.

To date, my new found faith has been consistently rewarded…(Click here for more)

Fast Company: The 3 Business Truths That Give Work+Life Flex Credibility in Today’s Economic Reality

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Maybe it’s the seven years I spent as a banker in New York City working with business owners before b-school, but I believe that the only way to drive real and meaningful change related to work+life fit and flexibility is to consider the realities of the business.

That’s not always easy when you believe passionately that a new approach is the right thing to do to help people. Sometimes it’s hard to identify and address business conditions. At a human level, it shouldn’t be necessary.

House built on sand vs. an earthquake-proof building

Unfortunately, when you don’t make the case for work+life flexibility based on business realities, it’s like a house built on sand. The first storm, it’s gone. Perhaps not in name, but in practice. When business considerations are part of the process, however, it’s like an earthquake resistant building. As the tremors hit, the building moves and shifts, but continues to stand.

I’ve been thinking about this recently for a couple of reasons…

First, I’ve been following the issue of work+life supports for hourly workers. And, while the business benefits have been part of the discussion, more often than not the focus is on the needs of the individuals. This is wonderful (and right), but again, from my experience unless the realities of the businesses that employ low wage workers are front and center (eg. low margins and an excess of cheap labor domestically and abroad available to do the work) you may get compliance but not real buy-in and change.

Second, I just spent the weekend at my business school reunion. The two days convinced me that, more than ever, work+life flexibility is a strategic imperative if individuals and organizations are going to tackle 21st Century challenges and opportunities. However, I’m also equally convinced that the ability to make the case based on “the right thing to do” is over. As a senior Fortune 500 HR executive who shared a panel with me said, “We went from too much capital and not enough workers, to too many workers and not enough capital. And that is going to continue for some time.”

Therefore, for work+life flexibility to have credibility with leaders today, the following business realities need to be in the forefront: (Click here for more)

“Mind in the Making” by Ellen Galinsky–Giving Your Child the Skills to Succeed in Any Era

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It’s no accident that I wrote about Ellen Galinsky’s excellent new book, Mind in The Making (HarperStudio, 2010) on the same day that I blogged about the skills needed to succeed professionally in the new economic era.

They directly relate, and that’s what makes Galinsky’s book so important. This is especially true for busy parents who may wonder, “Where should I put my limited resources to prepare my child for life in a world I’m still trying to understand?”  Mind in the Making will tell you where and how.

The book opens with a great quote about how the world has changed profoundly since many parents were children:

“Think about some words that describe what life is like today.  What words come to mind?

Did your words reflect the challenges of living in a complicated, distracting world?  Did you think of words that describe feelings of being rushed, time starved, of having too much to do and not enough time to do it?…

Life today is all of these things—complex, distracting, multitasking, 24/7, stressful and focused on immediate gratification and test scores.  It is also joyful and full of exciting possibilities.  We know that if it is this way for us, it is only going to be more so for our children.  We all want the best for our children, but how do we help them not only survive but thrive, today and in the future?”

The book clearly outlines “The Seven Essential Skills Every Child Needs.”  And, most importantly, Galinsky shares numerous concrete steps to build each of those skills from which busy parents, teachers and caregivers can choose.  The “Seven Skills” include:

  1. Focus and Self Control—achieving goals in a world full of distractions.
  2. Perspective Taking—figuring out how others think and feel.
  3. Communicating—determining what to communicate and being understood.
  4. Making Connections—figuring out what’s the same, what’s different and sorting things into categories.
  5. Critical Thinking—searching for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions and actions.
  6. Taking on Challenges—taking on rather than simply avoiding or coping with challenges.
  7. Self-directed, Engaged Learning—realizing our potential through ongoing learning.

To understand how important the information in Mind in the Making is to laying the foundation for a child’s future success, consider what CEOs said were their top concerns in the coming year.  According to the Conference Board’s 2010 CEO Challenge Survey, senior leaders will be focused on growth, innovation, creativity, quality reputation, and customer service.  A child who has the “Seven Skills” would be ready to execute that vision, and succeed.

Contrast that readiness to the way current employees, their parents, are feeling in this new post-Recession era.  According to the 2010 Towers Watson Global Employment Survey of 20,000 workers across the global, they are afraid, insecure, and distrustful.  They are lacking the resilience to rise to the challenges of a global, 24/7 economy in which rapid change is the norm and self-direction of your work, life and career is required.

By following the steps outlined in Mind in the Making, children will have the skills they need to succeed.  And maybe their parents will learn something in the process as well!

To learn more about and follow Mind in the Making and author, Ellen Galinsky, here are some important links:

Fast Company: Squaring the Circle…in 5 Minutes! Expected Innovation/Quality vs. Employee Fear/Distrust

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For the last few days, I’ve been prepping for an upcoming panel at Columbia Business School entitled, The Post-Recession Workplace.   My message is going to be simple—the world has changed; therefore, we need to change.  I will explain the new work+life flex normal, and what individuals and organizations need to do differently to succeed.

Here’s my challenge: There’s a canyon-sized chasm between how we need to manage our work, lives, careers and businesses in a post-Recession era, and where we are.  How do you square the circle…in 5 minutes, which is the length of my introduction?

First how big is the chasm? Big. You need to look no further than The Conference Board’s 2010 CEO Survey and the 2010 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study to realize it’s huge.

On one side: Leaders want, growth, innovation, quality and customers (Conference Board)

Every year The Conference Board asks hundreds of executives, “to identify and rate their most pressing concerns.”  In 2010, executives said they were primarily focused on:

  • Sustained and steady top-line growth
  • Customer loyalty and retention
  • Profit growth
  • Corporate reputation for quality products and services
  • Stimulating innovation and creativity and enabling entrepreneurship.

On the other side: Employees are afraid, insecure, distrusting and want stability (Towers Watson)

But what about the employees who need to execute this vision of growth, customer service, innovation, and quality?  Are they ready?  How do they feel? According to the 2010 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study of over 20,000 full-time employees in 22 global markets, they are afraid, insecure, and distrustful:

  • “(The) desire for security and stability trumps everything else right now, in part because employees see security as a fast-disappearing part of the deal.”
  • “Employees understand they are solely and chiefly responsible for ensuring their long-term financial and physical health and well-being, as well as career and performance—but have serious doubts about their ability to take on these roles.
  • “Mobility is at a decade-long low point—with significant numbers of employees sacrificing the prospect of career growth for a secure job right now.”
  • “Confidence in leaders and managers is disturbingly low—particularly in terms of the interpersonal aspects of their respective roles.”

Uh, oh. Houston, we have a problem…Not a recipe for the risk and creativity necessary for innovation.  And, fear, insecurity and distrust don’t usually lead to growth and quality.

How do you bridge this gap between what employers expect and what employees are prepared to deliver? (Click here for more)

Fast Company: We’re “Flex-Friendly and You Can Be Too

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I’m proud to announce that Work+Life Fit, Inc. is part of the first class of employers to be certified as Flex-Friendly!  If you visit my Work+Life Fit blog you will see this cool Flex-Friendly 2010 emblem.   So, what is the Flex-Friendly certification and why does it matter?  

Launched earlier this year, Flex-Friendly is a workplace flexibility directory of companies actively open to flexible ways of working.  Flex-Friendly, “celebrates organizations that meet the needs of our changing workforce.” And your organization can be part of this exciting effort.

First, I’ll share why the Flex-Friendly credential means so much to Work+Life Fit as an employer, and then the founders of Flex-Friendly, Jane Seibel, CEO, and Dr. Ann Farnsworth, CSO, will share why they created the Flex-Friendly directory and certification process, and what their goal are for the process.

For Work+Life Fit, it’s proof that we walk our Flex talk

At Work+Life Fit, Inc. and now with our new parent company, the Flex+Strategy Group, flexibility is not only what we do, it is who we are as an organization.  It’s how we operate.

But would our model withstand the outside scrutiny of a flexibility certification process?  Do we really walk our talk?

Not only did the verdict come back, “Yes, you are indeed Flex-Friendly,” but it was rewarding to join other forward-thinking organizations both large—Accenture, Sara Lee and American Express—and small that feel it was important to reaffirm that flexibility is a powerful, valueable strategic lever.

How does flexibility in how, when and where work is done and life is managed help Work+Life Fit achieve it’s strategic business objectives? Here are just a few of the impacts: (Click here for more)

Fast Company: Post-White House Forum: Where Does Flexibility Go From Here…

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There’s no doubt in my mind that the universe has a sense of humor.  A couple of months ago, I solemnly swore that I would 100% disconnect from work when we went on vacation during my children’s Spring Break.  No email (if at all possible), no twitter, no blogging—nothing but focused time with my family.

Then, as if to test the limits of my resolve, The White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility was scheduled smack dab in the middle of my vacation last week!   Let’s just say that last Wednesday, it was all I could do not to sneak a glimpse at the live feed on The White House website.  But I resisted and am now catching up on all that transpired at this remarkable event.

I’ve read the Council of Economic Advisers “Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility” report as well as a number of blog posts about the forum written by participants, many of whom are colleagues I greatly admire.  Here are links to some of my favorites:

My takeaways are as follows…

Thank you to the First Family and The White House for an important symbolic boost for flexibility. I agree with Wharton’s Stew Friedman when he says this is a, “Symbolic moment that signified, at last, a new era in which we are really talking and thinking differently about work and the relationship with the rest of our lives.”  Symbolism is a powerful driver of any broad change initiative.  And it spoke volumes to have the leader of the free world stand up, with his professional wife, in The White House and say, “this is important.”

Job well done, my esteemed work+life industry colleagues.  Job well done. Unless you’ve been in the work+life field from more than a decade, and had an opportunity to meet and talk with some of the pioneers who started this movement from scratch, you might not appreciate what a full circle moment this event was for many of the participants in the Forum.  Trust me, none of them would have imagined that someday they would be at The White House.  But everyday, day-in-and-day-out they forged ahead.  Let me take this opportunity to applaud them all and to acknowledge how very much they all deserve this victory.

Now, where do we go from here with flexibility? No doubt the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility was a mountain top moment that deserves one more, “Hooray!” and a little victory dance.  But everyone will agree that there’s still a great deal of work to do before flexibility in how, when and where work is done and life is managed is an integral part of every business’ operating model, and every employee’s day-to-day reality. Here are some next steps that I’d like to see: (Click here for more)

Fast Company: Why Every CEO Regrets Not Attending the Psychologically Healthy Workplaces Conference

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I recently attended and spoke at the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Conference.  The goal of the conference as outlined by the APA’s visionary Assistant Executive Director, Dr. David Ballard (who also happens to have an MBA) was to celebrate and learn from,

“Employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance strive to maintain a work environment characterized by openness, fairness, trust and respect, even when difficult actions were required.  These employers are positioned for success in the economic recovery and will have a distinct competitive advantage in their ability to attract and retain the very best employees.”

The conference was organized around the core elements of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Model:

Over the past few days, other speakers and attendees have shared their insightful overviews of the conference in the following posts:

My main takeaway from the two days was simply that…every CEO should regret not attending, both professionally and personally.

Had they participated, they would have learned about strategies to resolve many of their organization’s most vexing bottom line challenges—employee stress, lack of employee engagement, high cost of health care, truly leveraging diversity, etc—issues that directly impact growth and profitability.

CEOs would have heard the former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Alexis M. Herman, in her introduction of the winners of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award point out the three main challenges facing companies as we move into a “do more with less” era:

  • More role ambiguity as everyone takes on more roles and responsibilities which increases the level of job stress.
  • Increased inter-generational worker tension as Boomers work longer, but graduates can’t find work.
  • Increased worker polarization and isolation as workers who lose jobs can’t find work at the same level of income or status.

But perhaps most importantly, CEOs would have seen how they benefit personally from strategies that create a psychologically healthier workplace.  They would realize that they’re not alone in the isolation of overwhelming work+life challenges and stress which are outcomes of a work+life fit model that no longer suits even for those at senior levels.

A recent article, “Why Being a CEO Should Come with a Health Warning,” highlights the research conducted by Steve Tappin for his book, The Secrets of CEOs. From his interviews with 150 CEOs, Tappin learned that: (click here for more)

Why NPR’s Segment Is Really About “Employers Make Room for Strategic Flexibility” (Not Work-Life Balance)

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Like many, I let out a little cheer whenever a mainstream media outlet discusses the realities of managing work and life in our new work+life flex normal.   But I am consistently amazed how the real story is often lost behind the traditional language and mindset that’s not kept pace with reality.  The first segment of NPRs three part series, “More Employers Make Room for Work-Life Balance,” is an interesting case in point.

First let me join the chorus of those high fiving NPR for covering the topic!  It’s important.  But it’s also another missed opportunity to update the way we think about work and life, and position flexibility as a strategic imperative for employers and individuals.

Let’s deconstruct, update and reframe the important themes from the first segment…

Theme #1:  It’s About Strategic Flexibility

While the employer interviewed at the beginning of the NPR segment sounds like a very nice person, her real motivation for offering flexibility is that, “People who have lives are much better workers.”   Her focus wasn’t on her employees’ individual work+life fit realities (that’s not her concern), it was on the outcomes—more productivity and retention.  And those outcomes are achieved by offering flexibility, not a particular work-life “balance.”

Why it matters: Our employers can’t give us work-life balance.  All they can do is create a flexible culture and operating model that lets us manage our unique work+life fit in a way that meets our needs and the needs of the business.  No matter how nice an employer might be, there must be a strategic business imperative behind any flexibility or it will be unsustainable.

Also, the business impacts should be as broad and deep as possible up front and go beyond individual work+life fit.  Same flexibility, multiple business and individual benefits that can include working smarter, servicing clients better, managing global teams, disaster preparedness, controlling operating costs, etc.

Theme #2: It’s a Process That Considers the Unique Realities of the Individual, Job and Business

The flexibility discussed in the segment and in the accompanying SHRM study is referred to as a “policy,” or a “benefit.”  But really it’s a process that flexibly adjusts how, when and where work is done.

Every person interviewed in the segment had a different work+life fit that they achieved for distinct reasons.  And their jobs uniquely supported the type of flexibility they pursued.  The only way to determine what type of flexibility is going to work for a particular person and a specific job is through a process that supports the analysis.  Not a check-the-box benefit.

People say, “But what about consistency?”  Consistency comes from having access to the same process to analyze your unique realities and come up with a plan that’s going to work for you and your job.  A good analogy is the compensation.  Same process.  Different inputs.  Unique raises and bonuses.

Guaranteeing the same type of flexibility for everyone with a one-size-fits all policy sounds fair, but doesn’t work.   As the NRP segment notes:  Not every person wants every type of flexibility.  Not every job supports all types of flexibility.  And not every type of flexibility fits neatly into the standard, rigid flexible work options.  What about the person who telecommutes once a week and shifts his or her hours?  Is that two different options or one tailored flexible plan?

Additionally, not every business can accommodate a results-only work environment where there are no hours, and no set meetings.  Again, focusing on results and not face-time is a very important objective, but how an organization gets there in terms of strategic flexibility will look different for each business.

Why it matters: The NPR segment accurately noted, “Experts caution that many flex-work programs appear more generous on paper than in practice.”  I agree.  As long as flexibility is a benefit or policy, it will continue to sit on a website outside of the day-to-day operations.  It will look nice and sound good, but will have limited impact.

The only way flexibility will ever become a real, meaningful part of every employer’s operating model is if it is a tailored, process-based strategy that is developed by the employees and leaders of a particular business.

Theme #3:  It’s a Work+Life Flexibility Revolution

I agree with Phyllis Moen, the highly regarded sociologist quoted in the segment, “We are in the middle of something like an industrial revolution.”  But it’s not a “work-time revolution.”  It’s a work+life flexibility revolution.

Why it matters: We need to shift our mindset and language to acknowledge that work and life are one in the same.   We can’t talk about a revolution in work-time without acknowledging a related and reciprocal revolution in how we manage our time outside of work.   And it’s not just about time.  Yes, there’s an increased need for flexibility in the hours that we work, but there also needs to be flexibility in how we work, and where we work.  Taken together it’s a work+life flexibility revolution.

The deconstructed, updated and reframed takeaways from the first segment of NPR’s three part series are: It’s about strategic flexibility based on a tailored process that considers the needs of the individual, job and business.  And it’s part of a work+life flexibility revolution. Now, let’s see if the remaining segments hit these points more directly.  Here’s hoping!

One last interesting point.  NPR uses the SHRM study of “Flexible Working Benefits Offered By Some U.S. Companies” as supporting data.   However…

  1. Missing from the SHRM study’s list are reduced schedules and day-to-day flexibility.  These are two important types of flexibility that should be part of any organization’s strategy, and
  2. Considering the fact that work+life flexibility is essentially missing from SHRM national conference agenda, how can its research offer a path to a more strategic, forward-thinking conversation about flexibility?  Just a question.

What do you think?  Why don’t we update our language and approach to work and life and flexibility to be more strategic?  Do you think it matters?  Why?

Join me! I will appear live on Friday, March 19th at 4:00 pm ET/ 1:00 pm PST on Maggie Mistal’s radio show on the Martha Stewart Radio Network Sirius 112/ XM 157.  Topic:  How to Manage Your Work+Life Fit Heading Back to Work After a Layoff. Click here to sign up for a free 7 day trial of Sirius/XM and listen.

Work-Sharing Policy as Flex Alternative to Layoffs Gains Steam, BUT Implement Strategically

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As long time readers know, I’ve been a loud proponent of using flexibility in the form of reduced schedules, furloughs, telecommuting, job sharing and flex scheduling to minimize layoffs since the beginning of the recession.  And since the recession started two years ago, some innovative employers have indeed incorporated this more flexible approach to managing costs and resources into their downsizing strategy.

But more employers haven’t followed their lead because there wasn’t the incentive to move beyond the knee-jerk “cut” response that is rewarded, at least in the short-term, by the market (here and here).

As the internationally recognized management expert, Jeffrey Pfeffer, pointed out in a recent Newsweek cover story, “The Case Against Layoffs,” unless your industry is disappearing, layoffs do much more harm than good.   Thankfully it looks like an incentive to seek an alternative to layoffs has arrived, and not a moment too soon as early indications are that mass layoffs may be inching up again after a brief hiatus.

According to an article in today’s USA Today entitled, “Work-share program that cuts hours vs. jobs could grow,” work-sharing legislation may expand to more than half the states by year-end and provide employers the incentive they need to think differently and more flexibly:

“Seventeen states already have programs in which employers can cut the hours of all or most employees in lieu of layoffs. The workers get jobless benefits to recover part of their lost wages.

Work-sharing lets employers avoid the costs of severance and of training new hires when the economy rebounds. For workers, it eliminates the trauma of layoffs and helps preserve morale.

The number of employers in the programs soared last year as the recession deepened and the jobless rate climbed to 10%. A record 166,000 jobs were saved in the 17 states that offer the option vs. 58,000 in 2008, according to the National Association of State Workforce Agencies…

The Gear Works of Seattle, which makes gears for wind turbines, sliced workers’ hours 20%, skirting layoffs for about 15 of 93 employees, says executive Mike Robison. Machinist Robert Foster, 38, who worked four-day weeks for 10 months, says, ‘I like it vs. the alternative.’”

And our research has confirmed that employees do prefer flexible downsizing to the alternative.  Most respondents to our nationally-representative 2009 Work+Life Fit Reality Check study said they would accept a change or reduction in schedule, or take a cut in pay to save their jobs.

Work-share legislation can provide the much-needed incentive, but for flexible downsizing to succeed it can’t be a one-off  “program.” To be a strategic lever for managing through the recession, it must be implemented, reviewed and revised as operating realities change.  Here are some important insights and resources to help the strategic implementation process taken from previous blog posts I’ve written on the subject:

As Recovery Simmers, Limit Lagging Layoffs with Flexible Downsizing (Not Just Furloughs)

One Year Later–Flexible Downsizing and Hard Choices Post-Recession, Pre-Recovery

Get Started Tips to Navigate Post-Recession, Pre-Recovery Flexible Downsizing.  Highlights of the advice include:

  1. Go back and assess where you are.  Know where you stand in the business.
  2. Once you have the facts on paper, reset the organization’s flexible response to match today’s realities.
  3. Reframe and communicate the business case behind either the continuation or discontinuation of any type of flexible downsizing in the post-recession, pre-recovery era.

Finally, to help leaders work through a cost-benefit analysis of layoffs versus a more flexible approach to downsizing, I joined with a team of work+life experts to develop a tool  entitled  “Flexible Rightsizing as a Cost-Effective Alternative to Layoffs.”

Today’s news that work-share legislation is gaining steam across the country is very welcome.  However, for organizations, leaders and employees to truly benefit from the more flexible approach to managing costs and resources it must be implemented, review and revised thoughtfully and strategically.

What do you think?  How important is this legislative incentive to encourage a more flexible alternative to job cuts?

(@fastcompany) Taking Bets: Will Real Reason for Health Care Reform–Uncoupling Work and Coverage–Come Up at Tomorrow’s Summit? (Poll)

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Leading up to tomorrow’s Health Care Summit, I’ve been trying to follow each political party’s public positioning as to why their approach is preferable.

You hear a lot about the current health care reality:

  • 40+ million people uninsured, and growing.
  • Unaffordable premiums.
  • Inability to get coverage for pre-existing conditions.

You’re also presented with two very different solutions, one is more government regulated and the other driven more by the private market.  But, what you don’t hear is “why?”  Why do we need to undertake this massive, structural reordering of a system that’s worked and continues to work for many for decades?

The reason is simple and powerful:  We must uncouple work and health care coverage, because the nature of “work” has radically changed over the last decade. And, since the recession began two years ago, the shift in what it means to “work” has accelerated even more rapidly.  And it’s never going back to the way it was.

That fact needs to be much more front and center in the debate than it has been.  Basically, it’s missing.   For example, in this morning’s New York Times there’s a two page spread of articles discussing tomorrow’s Health Care Summit.  Guess how many times the changing nature of work is explicitly mentioned as one of the key drivers behind the need for reform?  Zero.

It’s not the 1950’s. You don’t get a job with General Motors at 18 years old, keep it for 40 years, and retire with a pension and company provided health care benefits.  But, listening to the politicians from both parties I seriously wonder if they get it.  Do they understand that in today’s economic reality an individual will have any combination of full-time, part-time, contract-based, entrepreneurial employment over the course of a career?  In only one of those four scenarios is there a chance for employer-sponsored health care.  One.  And increasingly having a full-time job doesn’t guarantee  coverage.

Imagine how different the conversation might be…if President Obama kicked off tomorrow’s summit by saying, “We remember a day when we could rely on our job to provide most of us with good, fair coverage for a lifetime.  That day has passed.  We live in a new global economic reality in which most of us will find ourselves, either voluntarily or involuntarily, in a position where affordable employer-sponsored care is not an option.   We must adapt our system to this new existence.”  With that fact as the back drop, it’s much harder to defend the status quo of an antiquated system.

Over the past couple of months, my readers have commented thoughtfully on the need to reform health care primarily due to the changing nature of work: (Click here for more–read comments, and take poll!)