Building a Workplace that Hums

Building a Workplace that Hums

THE CHANGING WORKPLACE

The workplace has altered in the past two years as never experienced in the recent decades. Applying for a job is more impersonal than ever before. For example, applications now follow an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and even many job interviews are conducted remotely using Zoom technology, some with no one there so questions appear but it feels like you are replying in a vacuum with no feedback. Paychecks are automated, and these days, engagement among co-workers has diminished due to technology such as text messaging and email. Moreover, it is difficult to reach anyone for follow up information.  To add to the impersonality of job sites, meetings are often conducted via Zoom, and an applicant must be social-media savvy because organizations search for staff on LinkedIn, Indeed.com and other digital outlets. Result: even computer-literate candidates must keep their profiles and skills updated and accessible.

The demands of employees also are changing.  For example, some workers now have remote opportunities to work from home, keep flexible hours, and delegate some of the workload to younger or part-time staff. Once they secure those demands, they tend to stay when they are chosen for special company projects, are able to mentor younger workers, curate relationships with customers, contribute new strategies, help plan special programs, consult with retiring staff, and support staff members with high potential.

Moreover, most people now want to work at a place where they aren’t pigeonholed, where they are treated with respect and dignity, and where they experience diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and a genuine sense of belonging. Younger workers, in addition, want to work around experts, get training for professional development, grow, be part of a team, have their voice heard, and experience variety in an upbeat environment.

Speaking of younger workers—the cohort of 20 to 40 year olds—many are quitting their jobs in a phenomenon known as The Great Resignation. These workers are rebelling against the impersonality of the workplace, the negative relationship or lack of relationship between manager and staff. If you are one of these justified malcontents, you can find a broader community of like-minded job networkers through public gatherings such as local job search networks, career/job fairs (check your library, chamber of commerce, outplacement firms, local Dept. of Labor, for starters).  Search online for Ted Talks, get familiar with LinkedIn to expand your networks, and learn through articles, websites, word of mouth and related books.

ATTRACTING GOOD STAFF

Today, the work world can be characterized as changing at lightning speed.  Companies are challenged to find suitable candidates almost entirely through automation, which has replaced the personal touch of yore.

How do companies look at hiring today? They all must keep the future constantly in mind–not only the future of the organization, but the ever-changing speed of technology, needed skill sets, and hard to find personal traits that mesh with internal culture such as positive attitude, comfort with flexibility, desire to learn and customer focus.  Hiring authorities must be more inclusive of the demands and desires of their staff (we not me).  They must cultivate camaraderie and an inclusive, participatory ethos. There’s a new power dynamic at work.  Managers must wake up to the needs of their staff who are not reluctant to resign.  They must also listen to younger workers who desire a strong sense of team, working as a community, who insist on an organization’s active role to enhance well-being both internally and in the broader community.

This new work energy consists of strong leadership where all voices are respected, work and personal values align, morale is high,  Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)  are respected, while attention also embraces greater social good in the community.  When these facets work together, all involved feel that they are working for a purpose greater than themselves.  When that environment is achieved, great results abound and a high performing team is born.