Did you see the recent "Saturday Essay" in the Wall Street Journal titled, The Real Meaning 0f Freedom at Work? Ooo, we've had some lively conversations about it at Applegate Talent Strategies' HQ!
In it, Adam Grant argues that the rise of remote work during the pandemic is just one part of a generational shift that is redefining how and why we do our work. As an executive or a business owner, you may be thinking this generational shift doesn't apply to you. As a boss or a supervisor, you may be thinking it's way above your pay grade.
You would be wrong.
As with all generational shifts throughout history, it is wise to adapt. Otherwise, you will find yourself left behind wondering what happened.
Today, workers from up and down the spectrum -- and it doesn't matter which spectrum we are talking about: age, education, title, salary, responsibility, etc. -- workers up and down are saying they have had enough. (Indeed, you may be saying you have had enough.) These people are not bad people. They just don't want to do it this way anymore. They are quitting in search of companies -- of employers -- who are doing it a better way. And if they can't find those companies, they are doing it for themselves. (See: Start-Up Boom in the Pandemic is Growing Stronger from the New York Times.)
This morning, Andrea received an invitation from the manufacturers association to attend a workshop on employee retention. The headline read, "Retention Is a Recruitment Strategy." Yes, that is exactly right!
"Improve employee retention to combat the labor shortage."
It is brutal out there for employers who are trying to find people. For some of our clients, as soon as they find one, another walks out the door.
These exiting workers? It is not because they are bad people. It is because they no longer feel obliged to do it the way it has always been done. The aforementioned WSJ article is full of practical suggestions on different ways to bring flexibility to your workplace -- virtual or IRL. Well worth the read.
If you expect people to work--and to be managed--in the same way they were prior to the pandemic, you would be wrong. How will you know? Because fewer people will want to work for you.
Listen to what your people are telling you. Listen to what they want and what they need. Make every effort to make the job you are asking them to do one they love so much they don't want to quit and one that is worth it so they don't have to.
Andrea J. Applegate is the founder and president of Applegate Talent Strategies, a boutique workforce & talent consulting practice dedicated to helping employers get the best from their employees while ensuring their people have the best experience at work.