Times are changing. Fast.
Faced with uncertain lockdowns, unstable market conditions and lack of international talent due to covid travel restrictions employers are working hard to retain the talent they have. For some industries, this is the best time in their history to be employed. For others it is devastating.
Will we see the post Christmas move in the workforce or are employers working hard now to protect against the Great Resignation.
“Today, employees don’t want to be seen as workers. They want to be seen as complex human beings with rich, full lives,” writes Gartner’s Aaron McEwan – in a recent ABC headline article ‘Here Comes The Great Resignation – Why Millions of Employees Could Quit Their Jobs Post Pandemic’
“They’re not just interested in the experience they can have at work, they’re interested in what an employer does to enrich their life experience”.
So companies want motivated, passionate employees at the top of their game, to drive sustainable business growth but a culture of 24 x 7 working hours, lockdown stress and increased responsibilities such as home schooling can end up creating burnout and despondency.
Today people, more than ever, seek company cultures that are complimentary. Shared core values that echo their lifestyle, family, location preferences, pet and worklife vision.
The challenge for CEO’s then becomes how to go about creating this culture – and then to suit everyone?
The answer is of course investing as much in the lives of your talent as your talent is investing for you. Your employees drive your growth as a business and more and more in the Australian business landscape, we see companies recognise that if they don’t invest the resources to support the personal growth of their employees, their growth as a company will stagnate.
Key aspects that you can get on top of in defining this undergoing revolution modern Australian workplace are:
Flexibility in working hours – employees personal lives and those of their loved ones don’t switch off at 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday except public holidays, weekends or as part of a 20 day annualised leave scheme. As an alternative, trust in your employees to manage their time effectively (you hired them after all) and focus on outcomes, not timestamps – you’ll find their productivity and personal sense of fulfillment and enthusiasm boosted as a result.
Providing them the option of working from home – if Covid has taught us nothing else it’s that 95% of the tasks that were traditionally done at an office in professional business attire can just as easily be done sitting feet-up on the couch. You’ll save your employees the burden of early starts and peak hour traffic woes, leaving them more time to set aside for family, breakfast, exercise, smashed avo, unashamedly pretentious coffee brewing methodologies and the list goes on. In return they’ll turn up every day better rested and in a much better frame of mind to succeed – for both themselves and your company.
Let them negotiate responsibilities – this might sound drastic, we know, but think of the alternative – your star software salesman quits his job because every afternoon at your company its part of his responsibilities to manually input client sales data into the companies ERP database in the absence of anyone else to do it. He has complained to HR but an adjustment is just not on the books of the company’s HR policy. He goes to a competing firm, effectively taking half his clients and business contacts with him. Sounds bad right? We aren’t saying to freely let employees only do the easy jobs, but including this negotiation feature as part of your company’s culture can open the door to a conversation; a means of empowering employees with a sense of agency over what it is that they do. Show employees how you can help them to be leaders of their own lives.
“We work to live we don’t live to work” writes Taurus CEO Sharon Williams. We offer 4 day working weeks, paid Christmas shopping leave, flexible working arrangements, flexible summer working hours and a world-class, premium-furnished office space in the heart of Barangaroo. “We have a standard of excellence that is so far above the other agencies, the biggest compliment I get is that people want to poach Taurus team members” she writes with confidence.
The message Australia’s workforce has been sending us is clear; a shifting dynamic, mentality and focus in the Australian corporate culture is afoot, and CEO’s lagging behind this trend will find their HR exposed and insecure, with top talent vulnerable to poaching in favour of competitors more empowering and supportive of employee growth and self-actualisation. For many employees it really is a case of the grass now being greener on the other side, and it’s left to us, as leaders, to decide what side of the fence they stand on.