Two years ago, a digital content company dropped the mention of “corporate” in its slogan. The head of the company has been repeatedly stressing that growth of each and every employee of the was most important.
He told his employees that the future of the company is meaningless. “What matters to them are themselves and what the company can do for them. The management may not like it. At the end of the day, however, the value of the company will rise if the individual value goes up,” he said.
He called the company a “training academy.” “I encourage them to work and do their best to raise their value so that their worth will be greater by the time they graduate,” he said. The company gives all possible support if its employees want to learn by attending a seminar or lecture. Team chiefs cannot oppose if employees wish to use work time to study something outside. The unique corporate culture has made the company popular, drawing 130 applications for each spot available.
Individualism matters most. Long gone are the days when a lifetime career is guaranteed based on loyalty. Individual performance and value have become more important to workplaces and society. Some team heads could grumble about a lack of loyalty among young employees to the company. But they should be honest with themselves, as they also have been loyal for their own reasons, either for promotion or financial reward.
The shorter life in one workplace may become a fixture in Korea too. Leaving work for another job has become a choice for the younger people, including those even working for large companies offering comfortable pay and higher job security. One career coordinator at fol:in, an online platform, said that she consulted with more than 70 who wish to change jobs, and they are not only from small and mid-sized companies. “One out of four has been working over 10 years and four out of 10 work in big companies,” she said. They want to look for other jobs and workplaces because they felt like accessories in big companies, she added.
As more people question their individual identity, a corporate leader must examine whether individuals in the company are evolving and growing or whether each individual is treated as the means for their corporate goals. “A company would naturally grow if the employees grow,” said the CEO of the digital content company.
Before complaining about the loyalty of employees leaving, the company must look inward for answers.
The author is head of the fol:in team at the JoongAng Ilbo.