The workforce continues to be challenged, in large part due to the ongoing labor crisis, supply chain problems and rising inflation. These issues transcend sectors and affect workers at all levels and experiences.
In these times, it is critical for leaders, founders and entrepreneurs to hire a workforce of the future, and we can learn a lot from social behavior to increase engagement at work. Here are five ways they can do that:
“Whether you’re a CEO or working on a production line, people want to take pride in their work and have a sense of accomplishment,” said Richard Tester, CEO of red zone, a technology solution for connected workers. “One of our fundamental pillars is ‘Working with Purpose’ and we take that very seriously and incorporate it into everything we do.” Richard told me that the job of leaders is to listen to their staff, recognize and celebrate their successes, or coach their failures and use them as a learning opportunity. “Constantly check on how your team is doing, if anything needs to be changed or if anything needs to be escalated,” says Tester.
In today’s remote working landscape, there is no such thing as overcommunication. With teams working in cities, states, and even countries, it’s never been more important to make sure your teams are aligned with your thought process and have a clear understanding of their expectations. Communicate continuously and encourage your employees to do the same.
A good leader must think about what employees are dealing with, both in the workplace and beyond. The past two years have taught us that people need flexibility, and if they don’t find it in their current role, they look for it elsewhere. Businesses that are people-oriented will not only survive, but also prosper. Stay focused, but show compassion for those who work for your company. If you are authentic, they will be too.
Take on the challenges
It is important to recognize the current workforce challenges and have an action plan. “The companies that are going to win in the next decade are the ones that can best reinvent their employee experience,” Tester told me. “We have to constantly think about what their needs are and how we can best support that.”
The pandemic has shown us that the workplace is evolving and that the jobs we have today are different than a generation ago. Normally in a labor market, when one generation leaves, it is filled again by the next generation. But fueled by the Great Resignation, there is real concern that jobs perceived as “less desirable” in certain sectors could face persistent labor shortages unless leaders make some image changes.
Take, for example, the less sexy manufacturing industry. “We need to deliver the great things that manufacturing organizations bring, while focusing on camaraderie, team spirit, skill development and pride in individual roles,” said Tester, a 20-year industry veteran.
Ultimately, as leaders, we must listen to the needs of our employees and ensure that we are constantly thinking about how they are most satisfied with their careers and do their best work. This is how we can continue to grow our businesses while keeping pace with the constant evolution of the workplace.