Workplaces are changing before our very eyes. Are your leaders able to effectively influence players in today’s – and tomorrow’s – work environment?
Workplaces are changing due to unhappy employees. A startling number of employees – 83 percent – want to leave their jobs, according to a 2018 talent intelligence survey completed by Harris Interactive and eightfold.ai. Fifty-three percent of those employees are looking for a job with a new employer, while 30 percent are looking for a new role in their current companies.
Workplaces are changing because of generational influences. As of 2017, millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, slightly ahead of Generation X. GenZs comprise 5 percent and baby boomers one-quarter of the workforce.
Workplaces are changing because of the gig economy and the impact of technology. An Edelman Intelligence study estimated that 50 percent of the American workforce were freelancers in 2017. Technology like cloud-based applications, streaming video calling and global project management tools enables remote workers to contribute seamlessly no matter where they live. Your organization may well have digital nomads on staff today.
These and other influences are changing the nature of workplace cultures, right now. Old habits and assumptions don’t serve the needs of all team members – and team leaders – today. Cultural norms that rely on face-to-face influencing must evolve. Leaders need training and coaching to champion new ways to engage colleagues and team members and leverage their passions and skills to serve customers well every day.
First, leaders need training to build new skills in relating, communicating and trusting talented, engaged team members. They need to help others leverage their strengths to deliver on promised tasks and goals their way. Leaders must not force players to follow antiquated rules. They need to listen and learn daily to enable their best players to work the best ways possible. Leaders must make performance expectations clear and hold everyone accountable for delivery.
Second, leaders need training in new technology. They must be comfortable running video calls with individual team members as well as groups of team members. They need to learn how the pacing of online meetings differs from that of face-to-face meetings. (For example, when one person speaks at a time, the meeting requires a slower cadence so people won’t talk over one another.) Leaders must learn how to track performance progress with online tools rather than relying on direct, daily observation.
Third, leaders need training to create a workplace of sanity and civility – of trust and respect. Most workplace cultures are not purposeful, positive and productive for all. The pathway to a healthy work culture requires leaders to formally define values – how people are to treat others in the workplace – in observable, tangible, measurable terms. It requires leaders to specify the exact behaviors they want for each value.
For example, if integrity is one of your organization’s values, tell people exactly what you expect of them – how they must act to ensure they are demonstrating integrity. One of your behaviors for integrity might be, “I do what I say I will do.” With that clarity, it’s easy for leaders to model these behaviors, coach these behaviors and hold everyone accountable for these behaviors – every day.
The demands of our changing workplaces requires new thinking, new skills and new commitment to including all players. Don’t leave the quality of your work culture to chance! Train leaders to create, then maintain, a work environment where every team member thrives.