Richard Florida is a provocative thinker around social and economic issues. He first became noticed from his book, The Rise of the Creative Class. In his latest book, The Great Reset, he shares data that the future growth of jobs will be in two areas: (1) knowledge, professional and creative jobs and (2) lower paying, more routine work in the service sector.
Citing progressive companies like Wegman’s, Whole Foods, REI, Zappos, Nordstrom, and The Container Store, his thesis is that work in the services industry in fact offers potential to provide workers a space for innovation, ideas, and some degree of individual entrepreneurship within the job.
He implies that most service jobs can be fulfilling. He asserts that, as a society, we have no choice, “we can’t give up on service jobs,” we have to find a way to manifest the potential for employee engagement and intrinsic job satisfaction in service work. I agree with this.
Now it’s over to you, managers in the service sector! It falls mostly on your shoulders to make this happen. No one is better positioned to reframe service work as being:
- about the person(s) served by the employee and not the work itself
- about the benefits the employee’s efforts provide to others (the “customers,” regardless of whether they are external or internal)
- about “service” in its most honorable sense, helping your fellow man (and woman) even in a very small way.
So, you tell the staff of your fast food outlet that their work is not cranking out Whoppers, fries and a Coke. That’s drudgery. The work is about providing a friendly, positive experience for the people in line, quick access to a meal, a short respite from their hectic day, and for those who dine in, an opportunity for them to connect with their dining partner(s).
I touch on this further in my article, Raze Your Gaze: Staying Energized in the Daily Grind.