I went through an ordeal with my 91-year-old father recently as Irene bore down on the New York metropolitan area. He said he had lived through hurricanes before and this should not be any different. He told me they had plenty of food in the house.
His attitude made me think of some of the members of management in and outside HR that I have crossed path with lately. The corporate world faces a pending storm that in the back of our heads we know is coming. Every survey completed recently have said that as much as 60% of our human capital are preparing to jump ship as the economic picture turns around. Politics aside it will turn around, just not sure how soon.
On August 31 I attended the final day of the HR Florida State Convention and had the pleasure of listening to a friend and a member of my LinkedIn Network, Dan Pink. Dan in his keynote presentation made the exact same point. He suggests that there are two tracks we can go down. The first is the attitude of my Dad, we know the storm is coming but we have lived through this before. There is absolutely no reason to change our way of managing.
On the other side of the coin, are those organizations who have decided that they can lessen the impact by taking proactive steps to change the work environment. Here are just some of the suggestions made by Dan in his presentation:
- When we ask an employee to change the way we do things we need to explain not only the how of the change. We need to also explain why we are making the change. What circumstances in the organization made us introduce this new way to do things.
- Learn to be flexible. Dan made reference to Netflix whose corporate vacation policy is they don't have one. Management have told the employees take as much time as you need as long as the work gets done.
- Realize that you are presenting a mixed message to your employees when you try to do things the way you have always done. Dan posted to the assembled group how many of us had problems with Millenials. Almost every hand went up. Dan pointed out that one of the characteristics of the Gen Y is that they want to constantly be able to determine how they are performing. We then tell them that they can find out the answer to this question once a year in a 45 min session which neither management or the employee like or enjoy.
- There are many examples of research has shown that when we ask our employees to perform rudimentary constructive skills money is not the answer. Just raising the monetary level will not increase the motivation to complete the responsibilities of the positions we have trusted to them.
So on this Labor Day eve are you representative of my father thinking everything will continue as it has and risk massive knowledge drain from your organization? Or are you ready to be proactive and prepare the organization to lessen the impact of the pending Perfect Storm?