Many leading figures predicted that September 11 would trigger a permanent change in the relationship between employers and staff. One year on, Nic Paton looks at five key areas and asks how much has changed?
Workers and political and business leaders will pause this week to remember the estimated 3,000 people who died as a result of September 11. For employees around the world, the shock of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon struck deeply. Whether it was flinching every time a plane flew low overhead or taking a deep breath as the lift whisked them up to their high-rise offices, the memories of that day were never far from the surface.
The view of many during the immediate aftermath of September 11 was that the world would never be the same again. There was also a belief that its events would permanently change the world of work.
Employees would re-assess their work-life priorities, what they wanted out of work and their relationships with their managers, while on a practical level, people would no longer be so willing to fly on business and organisations would become far more security conscious.
But, a year on, has any of this actually happened? At least one senior HR executive of an organisation that lost hundreds of employees in the Twin Towers believes not. "There was a change in people's attitudes for about three or four months, but now it is pretty much the same as before," he says.
"There will be a memorial service for staff that were lost, but I do not think September 11 fundamentally changed the company at all."
The intense grief and reluctance to travel have dissipated, explains Max Reid, senior vice-president of HR at US video and data broadcasting business PanAmSat.
"People's values and priorities are influenced by these horrific experiences, but do not deter their will to accept, adapt and move on. The workplace is much the same today as a year ago," he says.
But others are more optimistic that the attacks have led to changes that have either already become embedded in workplace culture, or will be in the future. Personnel Today examines five key elements of the working environment to see if the significant changes predicted last year have come true.
In the aftermath of September 11, organisations were told they would need to rethink how they motivated their em