If you can customize your M&M’s, why not your career? This was the premise behind Deloitte and Touche’s answer to the changing corporate workforce.

One of the primary issues facing companies today is the ability to attract and retain talent. More people are leaving the workforce each year than entering it. Family structures have changed significantly with only 17% of families who fit the traditional one earner model. Women now make up 48% of the workers and increasingly men are less likely to sacrifice family and personal time for work. Add to this the expectations of GenXers and GenYers who want a better work/life balance and are willing to be paid less in exchange along with the proliferation of technology which gives us new ways for how, where and when work gets done.

All of these trends combine to make the traditional corporate ladder which gives you a single path for career success obsolete. It’s time for a new model which provides multiple paths upward and allows for adjustments as worker’s needs change over time.

Deloitte’s answer is Mass Career Customization which has been piloted for 2 years and is now in the process of being rolled out across their entire US workforce. The model contains four dimensions: Pace, Workload, Location & Schedule and Role. Each of these dimensions sits along a continuum. For example, Role moves from Individual Contributor to Leader. This model recognizes that careers ebb and flow over time and avoids the trap of Flexible Work Arrangements which have been viewed as exceptions or accommodations to the traditional work model. The results so far at Deloitte indicate that employees have increased satisfaction in their jobs and are more likely to recommend Deloitte as a good place to work.

To find out more, visit the Mass Career Customization web site where you can also do an interactive exercise to reveal your own career journey.