The world has changed.
The current work systems are not valid anymore. The pandemic has exposed the weak points of organizations, many of which are struggling to retain skilled workers. Now, more than ever, companies must meet employee needs.
In this article, we introduce you to Dr. Wade Larson, Chief Human Resources Officer at “Wagstaff Incorporated” and owner of “Optimal Talent Dynamics”.
He shares insights into the destructive aftereffects of the pandemic and advises companies on how to adapt to this new environment.
“We have to redefine work consistently because we’re not going to be able to find what we have found in the past. That is the future of work.” – Dr. Wade Larson
Fear. Uncertainty. Insecurity.
We all went through these feelings at the beginning of the COVID lockdown when employees switched to remote work seemingly overnight, and businesses everywhere felt the shock of losing a hard-carved routine.
Dr. Larson was among the optimists when it came to remote work. He acted as a champion for the change, reminding his colleagues of their existing assets, “You have the technology, you have a good infrastructure, you have whatever you need, you can do this.” he encouraged them.
That positive attitude propelled 25% of their workforce into remote workers overnight.
“We shifted from ‘I can’t’ to ‘you are.”
That transition caused a fresh wave of varied reactions. With a mix of white and blue-collar workers, the option of going remote wasn’t possible for everyone.
“We couldn’t send production home because you can’t exactly send this giant CNC machine home in the back of a truck.”
Responses ranged from grateful to frustrated among white and blue-collared workers, but in the end, that challenge made them stronger. “It’s amazing what a catalyst can do to facilitate change.”, Dr. Larson says.
The pandemic wasn’t only the catalyst for remote work. COVID accelerated cultural shifts, altered employee demands, and was a final push into strange waters for an already tumultuous economy.
“We stopped having babies in the 90s. We shut off the borders five years ago. We don’t have enough bodies, talent or skill to fill our needs.” – Dr. Wade Larson
What do you think of when you hear “hybrid workspace“?
That phrase can have multiple meanings in today’s working world. The most common meaning is a mixture of in-person and remote work throughout the work week.
The flexibility of that arrangement depends entirely on the company, and flexibility is what workers are mainly looking for when exploring new opportunities.
The lack of a flexible work schedule is a significant contribution to the talent shortage we’re experiencing.
Dr. Larson looks at the great resignation with a 10, 20, 50, 20 rule:
Adapting to workers’ expectations and bridging the generational gaps across the workforce goes a long way to embracing the future of hybrid workspaces.
One way “Wagstaff” has addressed the changing needs of its employees is by implementing mentorship programs for key management roles.
Each company that recognizes the core reasons behind the talent shortage comes one step closer to bridging those gaps.
The one question all companies should ask themselves is “Why should anyone come to work for us?” and if they don’t have clear answers, they need to redefine their strategies. Just like “Kelley Kronenberg” did.
“Through mentoring you get unbiased feedback and the opportunity to ask dumb questions to someone who’s not connected and close to you.” – Dr. Wade Larson
Truth is, individuals are looking for human connection. The spark of personal touch is what makes us bond together as a collective.
It’s easy to get caught up in the mundanities of the working world, constantly dealing with obstacles, and miss the most important thing we all naturally crave – connection.
“The great resignation is not about going hybrid, benefits, or paychecks.”, Dr. Larson points out, “The great resignation is all tied to the human factor.”
Bringing flexibility into the workplace means understanding employee needs, and valuing their humanity.
From family needs to professional growth, establishing that genuine connection provides the competitive edge required to stand out from the pack.
“That’s what they’re missing.”, Dr. Larson continues. “And until that connection is present and we understand the value and the human factor in economic development, we won’t be able to move forward efficiently.”
Company benefits go beyond snack bars and ping-pong tables in the office. People want to be recognized as individuals and feel valuable.
Connection, humanity, transparency, authenticity, flexibility, proper mentorship, and growth – that’s what keep an employee at a workplace for the long haul. That’s what drives a culture worth investing in.
In a post-pandemic world, a hybrid workplace management software is a must if you want to ensure smooth operations within your company. Click here to see OfficeRnD Hybrid in action, completely free!
This post is based on a podcast with Dr. Wade Larson, Chief Human Resources Officer at “Wagstaff Incorporated” and owner of “Optimal Talent Dynamics”. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to “FlexWorld: The Workplace Revolution On Spotify.
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