Employees are switching jobs at record numbers. Workforces are also shrinking. Together these events have created an environment in which business and HR leaders are having to play “catch-up”. There is a “war for talent" going on. There are more job openings than available workers.
Most businesses are reacting with the one tool that they can easily access, money. In the past, businesses have used money to entice key employees to stay and to lure employees to their organizations. Unfortunately, the money bucket is not bottomless and not a long-term solution for the problems we are facing today. Businesses need employees but at some point the availability of money as a solution will reach a tipping point. Leaders will need to act for the future in addition to reacting in the present.
The last few years have thrown major challenges in the way we manage people. The Great Resignation has people resigning from their jobs in major numbers. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shared that 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November 2021 alone. Particularly highly skilled tech positions continue to be difficult to attract and more difficult to retain. And as some organizations return to in-person operations, just as many are continuing to navigate hybrid work models, adding to the new challenges of managing employees.
Adding to the complexities of these challenges, consider that for the first time in history the active workforce today spans five generations, each with their own special needs and priorities. Each generation brings radically different perspectives regarding their work/life balance, motivators and what they need and want to feel fulfilled in their careers. More than ever, employers MUST encourage and enable regular and frequent conversations to find out what these expectations are and provide feedback to ensure the employee that they are being heard.
One thing that is common among these employees, regardless of their age, is consistent and regular feedback. This will help to streamline workforce operations. Encouraging frequent feedback from managers can help to maintain clarity, level the playing field and ensure that employees know what is expected of them.
The business benefit of creating a culture of continuous feedback is that employees are more apt to respond to and become actively engaged in their work and the business. It provides empowerment to the employee who may have been struggling to understand their direction. It allows good employees to become stronger and great employees to excel further. RETENTION!
Timely feedback with measurement of actionable outcomes can help an organization identify when a particular role isn’t a good fit for the person. This gives both the organization and the employee the opportunity to re-evaluate their position. Again, conversations should be aimed at concentrating on each individual employee for growth and productivity. RETENTION!
And let’s not forget the benefit of positive morale in the workplace. The dangers of not investing the time in good coaching and regular feedback are infinitely more impactful than the time it takes to give the feedback. When employees are unclear of what is expected of them or whether they are meeting expectations, they are at risk for becoming disengaged, and less interested in their work. Therefore, they make fewer contributions. Employees need to know that they are valued. RETENTION!
The best talent you might need to hire and are losing because of lack of attention to conversations and feedback are sitting right in your office or plant today. But because of the lack of time or knowledge to pay attention to their needs you will lose them. And in this environment, this can cost your company not only valuable time, but productivity as well. The hiring market is different from what we experienced a few years ago, and your employees, like you, have been juggling so many issues in order to get through these challenging times. Invite them to come along with you to the next chapter in your business experience and LISTEN to what they are saying. Make business decisions on what the new world has taught us, and with some time and thought, you and your employees can build a whole world of exciting future experiences TOGETHER.
And as you go through the transition of remote/hybrid workplaces, or whatever comes out of your discussions and conversation with your employees, don’t forget to look at your handbook so that you revise and edit it to be clear of your new expectations, such as policies that deal with hybrid or remote work, dress code, and possible other policies that have changed. And remember to continue to follow the rules of the handbook as you journey to the next business experience.