We gave a class and here's what we learned from 18-year-old students
Last November, we had the chance to teach a 1h45 minutes class at EDHEC Business School, close to Lille.
We absolutely loved the experience! While it was a first for us, we enjoyed transmitting the knowledge we accumulated by visiting companies that work differently.
How did it happen? What did we say to the students?
How it started
Ludovic is a teacher of several classes at EDHEC, and he was interested in Make It Work participating in his Organizational Behaviour class with first-year BBA students (read, 17-18 year old students who are just out of High School)
What did we say to students who (almost) never experienced the world of work?
We were lucky, Ludovic told us that we could say whatever we wanted!
But most importantly, he told us to share our business school experience and concrete examples regarding the future of work.
So, we decided to:
Be honest about our business school experience, in a no-bullshit way to be able to connect with the students authentically.
Share what shocked us so much in the world of work that we felt we needed to start Make It Work to explore new ways of working.
Talk about the pioneer practices we encountered while visiting Brazil and Europe to find companies that are working radically differently.
With that in mind, we had to find a way to make our intervention interactive and exciting to students that, for the most part, had never worked before. Sure, we might think organizational structures and design are sexy, but it might not be the case for 18-year-old students…
To break the ice, we started the class by asking them about work.
When you think about work - what do you think? We wanted them to throw both positive and negative ideas.
+ Among the positives: autonomy, money, self-fulfillment
- Among the negatives: hierarchy, stress, and bullshit jobs.
It was interesting to see that they had a pretty good idea of what working in companies entails!
Key concepts we shared and what the students thought about them
Having visited 5 countries and talked to a looooot of people and pioneer companies, we had to pick. Which practices are going to stand out the most and spark a debate?
But let us present the topic that sparked the most interest and debate:
compensation schemes and salaries!
Interesting practice 1: Everyone gets paid the same (@Dobra)
What students told us:
Some were completely against it, saying that it does not represent the difference in what employees bring to the company. Their argument was mainly that employees that deliver more and are more invested could find it unfair.
Some thought that it was interesting because the difference in salaries often reflects inequalities rather than competencies and that paying everyone the same could be a way of tackling it.
Interesting practice 2: Radical transparency, everyone knows what everyone makes (@The Rookie Minds)
What students told us:
We did not expect this, but most students were against it, saying it would make them uncomfortable that people knew their salaries. We interpreted this as a reflection of French culture (many of them were French) where people are afraid to talk about money.
However, some students said it would make sense because it could prevent people who know how to sell themselves well to have more money just because…
What do 18-year-olds dream about?
As the class was coming to an end, we asked them “What would your dream company be?”
Surely enough: they told us they wanted flexibility and autonomy.
We wanted to make them think about what they wanted to do later (the job in itself, the sector..) but most importantly we wanted them to think about HOW they wanted to do it.
Their work conditions. Would they be working remotely? Would they have unlimited holidays? Would the way they are managed matter?
As a student, you often think about your future job, but you rarely think about your work conditions. We wanted them to remember that it matters.
We loved teaching this class and it meant a lot for us to be able to give back and share what we are learning with Make It Work.
We would love to do it again, and we might, in 2023 ;)
,Thank you so much for the opportunity Ludovic and thank you to the students for challenging us!