Seven workers for every ten jobs – now what?
EGM On A Mission: Let’s Build Better Companies
Gartner recently published research on the global job markets:
‘Employees seek personal value and purpose at work. Be prepared to deliver.’
More than 4.9 million American workers left their jobs in November. Gartner predicts all advanced economies will soon be impacted by similar trends – if they’re not seeing them already. (1)
‘The Economist ‘reports that, at this rate, the US will have ‘seven workers for every ten jobs’ by the end of the year. (2)
For Australia, 600,000 workers expect to be in new roles by the end of 2022. (3)
We think the Great Resignation in Australia has started (see later).
The CEO sits alone at his desk at the end of the day.
He’s exhausted and downhearted. It’s been a bad day.
The CEO knows his company is struggling – not financially (at least for now) - but in many other ways.
The CEO hates to see his company in this state.
He can sense the atmosphere of indifference as he walks through the cubicles and desks. It was never like this before.
‘I just keep my head down – and do my job,’ he overheard a team leaser say - as he entered a meeting room.
The pandemic had taken its toll.
The CEO had protected the company and jobs – endless calls with investors, the banks and creditors. At least now he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. He’d be totally focussed on the financial goals – neglecting all but the most important other issues.
Staff morale is bad.
Customer service is poor and getting worse.
Product quality is deteriorating fast.
Only an hours ago the CEO put down the phone after speaking to his top customer – who was complaining about the unhelpful attitude of the support team.
The CEO looks down at his copy of the local newspaper.
‘The Adelaide Advertiser,’ 18 January 2022
‘Great resignation hits Adelaide
Pandemic weary workers are throwing in the towel in droves to chase new opportunities. Now the trend is hitting Adelaide.’
No surprise at all to the CEO.
Attrition running at record levels. In the last few days, there’d been 3 more resignations from key staff.
His managers hardly help – stuck in the past – endless meetings – discussing nothing of real importance. Blaming each other – and protecting their backs. Unable to motivate or energise their teams.
The CEO was running out of ideas.
On a recent trip to Melbourne, the CEO had read a business book – the first one he’d read for years.
‘Why should anyone work here?’ (4)
‘A good question’ he thought – as he inspected the book at the stall at Adelaide airport. He opened the book:
Reason number one – ‘Let people be themselves.
The authentic organisation of the future will need to fully engage staff – treating them as individuals, playing to their strengths – encouraging differences in thought process, frames of reference and ways of approaching problems,’
‘Fine words,’ thought the CEO.
An email arrives from the Head of HR.
As you know we need to brief the agency given the number of open job vacancies we have.
We thought we’d ask them to put the following in any adverts.
What do you think? –
‘We don’t have a description for who you are. Bring your skills and your authentic,
diverse self to this great company.’
The CEO replies:
I think it’s great we have ideas like this - but unfortunately, I struggle with this one because I don’t think the statement reflects the reality.
Diversity will happen – simply by the make up of the society we live in. Millennials are the most diverse generation ever – and in the not-too-distant future they’ll make up 75 per cent of the workforce.
Inclusion has to be worked on – and to be honest, I don’t think we’re very good at it.
We end up making everybody essentially the same.
I don’t believe the staff on the Monday Team call are being ‘authentic.’
Why would they be?
The first thing we do on induction is show new starters a video on the employee value proposition – it might as well be called ‘this is how we behave so we all fit in.’
We use standard job descriptions (this is how we all do our jobs), aligned objectives (this is what we all aim for) and competency frameworks (this is how we all develop).
No doubt we would happily say ‘we have a ‘uniform company culture.’
These things hardly help get the best out of diversity and inclusion – and enable staff to be authentic – and ‘be themselves.’
If a company has a group of people who all act the same, it is easier to manage them – otherwise you need strong operational/ people managers – you have to deal with the different personalities and views. We only have a small number of strong operational/ people managers, so we take the easier option.
To be honest I find it sad – we can both think of cases where new staff have struggled to be their authentic selves and feel comfortable working here.
They then have one of two choices.
They change and fit in, or they don’t change and leave.
We have had examples of both.
Sadly, neither option is optimal.
We need a fresh start – we need to do things differently.’
EGM recently posted the following on LinkedIn:
‘What do you reckon about Australia’s Great Resignation?
Still think Australia has avoided it?
Personally, I think this started a few months back.
As a recruiter in Adelaide, it feels like resignations are at an all-time high.
Every day we’re seeing new job vacancies.
The most competitive war for talent ever.
A massive wake up call for Australian employers.’ (5)
This isn’t about pay. (6)
‘We need a fresh start – we need to do things differently.’
Employees seek personal value and purpose at work. Be prepared to deliver, Gartner, January 2022
Staffing shortages in America are a glimpse into its future, The Economist, 22 January 2022
The great resignation is coming to Australia, The Spectator Australia, 17 January 2022
Why should anyone work here? Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones
See, Mark Johnson, LinkedIn
See, Toxic cultures are driving the great resignation, MIIT Sloan Management Review, 11 January 2022