Why nomadism is good for human assets

Think:Act Magazine "Digital Darwinism"
Why nomadism is good for human assets

Portrait of Think:Act Magazine
Think:Act Magazine
ワルシャワオフィス, Central Europe
2019年12月3日

Gianpiero Petriglieri weighs in on work culture and the importance of leadership and portability

Interview

with Gianpiero Petriglieri
illustration by Sasan Saidi

Read more about the topic "Digital Darwinism"

Pioneering thinker Gianpiero Petriglieri is helping professionals and organizations reweigh the meaning of leadership and success. Here he answers three questions concerning the future of the talent market.

An associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, Gianpiero Petriglieri was ranked in the Thinkers50 in 2017.
An associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, Gianpiero Petriglieri was ranked in the Thinkers50 in 2017.

Nomadic professionalism. Doesn't that cause problems for holding onto talent in an organization?

"Talent magnets" make their talent feel portable. And the more portable you feel, the more likely you are to stay. You can leave an organization in one of two ways, thinking that the organization made it possible for you to move on to something interesting, or thinking that you are leaving because that organization made it impossible for you to have something interesting. In the former case, you will take the organization with you, and become an ambassador. In the latter, you will leave it behind, harming its reputation in the talent market.

The idea of joining a company and staying there until you retire is much less of a trend in 21st century business. What are your thoughts on that?

We are long past the time when people expected that kind of guarantee, and as a result many have embraced "nomadic professionalism." We have loose organizational affiliations but very strong bonds to our work. And the more portable we are, the more successful we feel. You can look at the rise of nomadic professionalism as an adaptation to ever more insecure workplaces. Or you can see it as an opportunity to participate in a more flexible labor market. Whether you take a more pessimistic or a more optimistic lens depends on whether you have opportunities to make yourself portable. Show me someone who sees mobility as opportunity, and I'll show you someone who is talented, privileged or both in the workplace. Most people are uncertain. But it takes resources for that uncertainty to become something that frees you up, rather than something that simply freaks you out.

How can organizations harness portability to their advantage?

By making – and keeping – the promise of developing people. The companies that really make people more portable allow people to forge identities and connections that make them feel committed but not captive, that make them feel they are leaders. And once I feel that the organization has made me more of a leader, more of who I wanted to become, I am going to remain loyal whether I stay there or not. I'm going to refer talent and business to them. [The organization's] influence grows, as well as [its] ability to sustain a pipeline of new talent, ideas and business.

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Portrait of Think:Act Magazine
Think:Act Magazine
ワルシャワオフィス, Central Europe