Leaders Know the World of Work is Changing (Part 2)

There is no shortage of information about how work is changing. Many sources support these two points:

  • Employees have several options about where to work, and a lot aren’t happy where they are working now.
  • Employers know these facts, and they’re worried.

“Insight #2” on Principal’s 2021 Quarter 3 Retirement Security Survey provides the following information:

  • One-fourth of workers plan to change jobs relatively soon.
  • Over half of workers feel undervalued in their current role.
  • One-third of work workers want job advancement.
  • Over half of workers desire pay raise.

Retention strategies need to be a priority for leaders.

From the leadership standpoint, according Principal’s survey:

  • Three-fourths of leaders are struggling to find qualified people.
  • 81% of leaders are concerned about the competition to find qualified people.

So what seems to be working to keep leaders’ fears from hurting their companies?

Here’s what I see when I talk to leaders, read about trends, and witness organizations from the inside:

  • Reasonable flexibility when it comes to scheduling and work location, whether it be remove work or on-location work.
  • Increased communication between the leader and the team. Research on change suggests that in times of turmoil and stress, leaders need to focus on the basics.
  • Work fewer hours–leaders and direct reports. Work smarter, not longer. The last annual Business Record leaders survey showed even top leaders are working an average of 48 hours per week rather than 51 hours per week two years ago. Three hours per week is a small shift but data from non-leaders show that when people work fewer hours during times that work well for them, they tend to be less stressed and more productive.
  • Be more intentional about matching skills to employees. Ask your direct reports, “What skills do you have that are currently underused?” See if you can get people into a situation where 80% of their job is doing what they enjoy, and 20% (or less) is work that feels like work.

What if that doesn’t work?

If the suggestions above are not doable, you might have to raise pay and increase benefits; most sectors include a signing bonus for new hires. Remember, turnover costs can range anywhere from 40% to 200% of an employee salary. So, know the pay rates for your labor market and exceed them.

“Now that [employees] have gotten used to [their current] lifestyle, or dread going back to their previous career, we have seen a change in what employees desire for jobs … We are about to see a major shift from what was, to what could be. People are realizing things don’t have to be the way it was before, and now we may see a shift in what jobs, careers and businesses people truly value. We may see some industries struggle, and new ones be born.”

Steele Harter, Director of Economic Development Research, Ames Chamber of Commerce. 2021 Business Record leaders survey.

In next week’s blog, I will discuss how these trends have affected us at Group Dynamic. We have our strategic planning meeting next week, so we may not be ready to go to press with it right away on Wednesday, but we will share it with you. Great things are coming!

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

For more on this topic, please see “Leaders Know the World of Work is Changing (Part I).”

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