Whenever we talk to business leaders these days, we keep hearing a common theme: they simply can’t hire and retain enough workers to operate at optimal capacity. A recent report from Deloitte, for example, noted that nearly half of manufacturing leaders have had to turn down new business opportunities because they simply didn’t have enough labor capacity to fulfill those orders.
That’s not sustainable. Unfortunately, though, the problem is unlikely to get better any time soon. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that growth in the US labor force will be negligible in the coming years, at less than 0.2% annually through 2031.
Thought leaders in the business world have focused considerable attention on this crisis over the past two years, offering their perspectives on how best to attract and retain workers. Deloitte advises business leaders to foster a “good jobs” environment where employees feel a sense of purpose, where working conditions are favorable, and where learning and collaboration take place routinely. Here is some specific advice from some of the leading minds in the business world:
#1: Build a Culture of Innovation
Deloitte’s experts note that “Organizations who place employees at the heart of their digital transformation today will be the market leaders of tomorrow.”
Not surprisingly, technology is a key factor in developing a “good jobs” environment. That stems in part from an understanding that innovative workplaces offer upskilling opportunities, – a chance for employees to learn and grow in their careers.
It’s also about a positive work environment and an overall culture of excellence, though. We’ve written extensively on the Intellect blog about the importance of organizational culture. We’re passionate about developing and maintaining a culture of excellence in our own workplace, and we’ve seen what a difference it makes in fostering a positive work environment for everyone in our company.
A culture of innovation is about continuous improvement, always striving for better results. It’s also about being purpose-driven. If you can achieve that, your employees will genuinely enjoy coming in to work every day. Very likely, you’ll develop a reputation as a great place to work.
#2: Empower Front-line Workers
Innovation is closely aligned with overall effectiveness, leading us to a second key strategy for attracting and retaining employees: help your workers to be more effective in their jobs.
Anytime a company can empower front-line workers to operate more effectively and efficiently, there is a dual payoff. Increased productivity is an obvious benefit, – but so too is the improvement in job satisfaction.
A key employee at one of Intellect’s customers was spending the majority of her time on manual document management processes. She was a key member of the team and brought some very valuable skills to the table. Unfortunately, much of her time was being wasted on tedious tasks that simply did not add any value. By digitizing and automating document management, the company was able to use her talents far more effectively, keeping her engaged as a long-term employee.
#3: Add Flexibility
In response to the “great resignation,” many companies now offer flex time and remote work options as a means of attracting and retaining employees. Cloud-based software and online meeting platforms have grown considerably over the past decade, – but the COVID crisis led to a dramatic increase in adoption.
Although some jobs require employees to be on-site, – most can offer at least some element of flex-time or remote access. By providing employees with mechanisms that enable anytime/anywhere access to work opportunities, you’ll get higher productivity along with increased job satisfaction.
#4: Live Your Values
Deloitte offers some sage advice for companies striving to adapt to changing worker-employer dynamics: “Differentiate your relationship with workers by establishing sustainable, core ideals that serve the specific workers you’re seeking to attract.” Once again, we see a strong connection here between job satisfaction and organizational culture.
That means demonstrating that you have strong ethical standards, that you care about people, and that you’re committed to environmental sustainability. EHSQ software checks all three of those boxes. The “E” stands for environment, the “HS” for health & safety, and the “Q” for quality. Together, these communicate a commitment to the things that matter most, – employees, customers, and surrounding communities, including the natural world that we all share.
#5: Safeguard Your Most Valuable Assets
Finally, workers need to know that their employer is attentive to their health and safety concerns. We are currently seeing a demographic shift in which a large number of experienced workers are retiring. Those employees are being replaced by younger, less experienced people. Unfortunately, that can have some negative implications with respect to health and safety.
By implementing rigorous safety training, EHS protocols, and consistent monitoring, – employers communicate loudly and clearly that their workers matter. Organizations that prioritize worker safety reinforce that culture of excellence that contributes so much to the attraction and retention of good employees.
In their bestselling book “The Titanium Economy”, authors Asutosh Padhi, Gaurav Batra, and Nick Santhanam echo the five strategies outlined in this article: “[Thriving industrial technology companies] try to ensure working conditions are comfortable, with well-lit facilities and first-rate technologies— factors that contribute to increasing worker morale, productivity, and, perhaps most importantly, safety.”
The best EHSQ software helps companies achieve that by consolidating, automating, and streamlining processes that contribute to a culture of excellence and worker safety. Smart investments in flexible, configurable QMS and EHS software contribute to higher productivity and worker satisfaction.
The team at Intellect would love to help you advance a culture of excellence in your organization. Contact us today to discuss your project.