April - 2014 - issue > In My Opinion

Work is What You Do, Not Where You Are

Ken Kannappan
President & CEO-Plantronics
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Ken Kannappan
Plantronics (NYSE: PLT) is a leading electronics company developing audio communications devices for enterprises and consumers. The firm, based in Santa Cruz, CA has a market cap of $1.9 billion.

I remember a time when the unemployment rate in Tijuana, Mexico, where Plantronics has its largest facility, was only 0.2 percent. We had fifty job openings, and overnight we had 2,000 people applying for positions just through word of mouth. There is a fundamental truth that people need jobs to make a living, but they want careers and an opportunity to contribute something meaningful.

Yet several surveys in the U.S. and globally indicate that many people are not finding those meaningful careers and that in fact, fully 70 percent of workers are either not engaged or worse, are actively disengaged, from their employers. We are hiring knowledge workers to bring us forward and as leaders if we are not getting their maximum contribution, we are failing.

How did we get here? I submit that outdated managerial practices tied to an unyielding view of where work must be done have contributed to the spiritual malaise of many employees.

Traditionally, people's responsibilities have influenced where they work, and the workplace has evolved accordingly. People who farm for a living work on farms, people who manufacture things work in factories. This makes sense - that's where their work is. But when it comes to today's knowledge workers, many are working in office environments that are not very different than those of the clerical workers who predominated the workforce 60 or 70 years ago. For the well-being and vitality of our economy, our companies and our people, it is time for leaders to evolve the workplace to meet the needs of today's employers and employees.

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Reader's comments(1)
1:In the changing times,as we see today,the global workforce needs to appreciate the flexibility to bring about the best practices on board and continuously strive to add value to the work they do and the way they approach the job.Superb article.
Posted by: Subhadeep Bandyopadhyay - 12th Jul 2014
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