by Jack Wolfe
[Today’s Tuesday Reading is by Jack Wolfe, MOR Associates Executive Coach and Senior Consultant. Jack may be reached at email@example.com.]
Today’s employees can leave their job with you and be reemployed in a heartbeat – there has been a major shift in the employer/employee power structure in the last year, and it’s NOT to the employer’s advantage. A few notes, primarily from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
So what do we do? Laura Patterson recently wrote on Purposeful Leadership and Brian McDonald on solutions to Losing Talent – I recommend both to you. Let’s expand on their thoughts.
Erin Cech of the University of Michigan led a 2021 study of 1,628 well distributed college-educated workers who were terminated during the pandemic, people whom we would think might place a very high value on financial security and stability – surprisingly, not so. 46% of the respondents rated “passion” as their top priority, while 20% rated salary as their top concern, and only 13% noted job security as their top concern – passion counts! Cech goes on to note that “the Great Resignation may be perpetuated in part by workers seeking a different relationship to paid work – one that provides greater meaning and fulfilment to their lives.”
One of my favorite authors on the issue of “why do we really work” is Daniel Pink of Harvard. In his book, “Drive”, he writes about three issues that lead us to “working productively and in a satisfying fashion”; they are, in my order:
So, what do you do to further these highly motivating parameters in your team or teams:
You also need to ensure that the basics of equity, pay and benefits, are in place, and you need to help lead the charge for such equity. Tracy Schroeder, VP, IS&T and CDO at Boston University, writing in Inside Higher Ed said: “We are actively doing equity and market adjustments – I’ve done one round already aimed at retention……And we are looking at doing more this spring to try to keep our high performers, especially, and our early-career talent”. We all need to be champions for our people!
And you know I could not leave this article without mentioning the value of STRATEGY – one can never make up in tactics that which they lack in strategy. The most common plea I hear in coaching is this: “Far too many projects, far too few resources (mostly people)”. How does one deal with that? One deals with it strategically!
When workloads exceed capacity, one needs to make strategic choices about which projects to do and which not to do. If there is a clear set of strategic priorities present, it will tell you that the projects supporting e.g., “Data Science” are the most critical, and therefore those go in the top bucket to get done, and ditto for the next priority, until capacity is exhausted. Thus, a clear strategy tells you what to say Yes to, and, even more important, what to say No to.
To summarize, the nature of today’s labor market gives “power (and choice) to the people” – if we are going to keep our teams intact, we need to help them fulfill their passions through developing the mastery they seek, providing the autonomy they need, and connecting them to the bigger and broader purpose of all we do, all while ensuring we treat them equitably. And, as we choose the work we do as a team, we need to do so strategically, focusing on our top STRATEGIC priorities first, those most impacting our purpose. Best of success!
This Week’s Survey
How widespread is the Great Resignation among our readers? What percentage of your team has left in the past year?
|From Last Week
The punchline? We spend an inordinate amount of time and energy with people at work doing what we often think of as the most important thing in our lives. Yet, when we step back out of the soup and get a look at the pot, we often see a different picture. Developing deep relationships and friendships is the foundation of happiness and well being. That takes time, energy and focus. Consider “deal friends” vs. “real friends” in this 2-minute video.