Don't Play The Blame Game

Words: Don’t blame the Millennials or “kids these days”. Whether you realize it or not, employee engagement and productivity have steadily been declining since 1965 — for more than 50 years! This isn’t a new phenomenon. It just happens to be taking center stage at the moment because it’s become impossible to ignore. After all, we’re experiencing a perfect storm marked by retirement waves, shifts in education, the diversification of career options, and an urgent search for skilled labor. The demand for change has accelerated while the inability for most organizations to evolve has led to failure of epic proportions. While holding steadfast to former practices, employee turnover skyrocketed, the workforce grew miserable, the economy sputtered and crashed, and political issues continue to be unfixable. For too long, we’ve just assumed there is no better way and it’s impossible to engage talent. But clearly, there is another way. To research her book, Talent Generation: How Visionary Organizations Are Redefining Work and Achieving Greater Success (2017)author Sarah Sladek interviewed, surveyed, and analyzed hundreds of businesses to identify the shared traits among the most successful and engaging companies in existence today. She discovered that really successful companies are doing six things exceptionally well. In brief, here’s what she discovered: Leadership: Leaders collaborate with emerging talent The 21stcentury on-demand workforce has evolved to prioritize collaboration and innovation. It’s fueled by ideas and information, and for the first time in history, hierarchy is irrelevant. Leaders who are humble, working closely alongside people who offer new ideas and perspectives, lead the most successful companies. Acceptance: A culture of inclusion and trust exists throughout the organization Since the late 20th-century, the gap between executive-level and entry-level talent has continued to widen. For example, in the past few decades, CEO pay has skyrocketed, whereas employee pay has remained flat. If workers feel they are treated fairly, accepted, and feel included and valued, they are considerably more engaged and productive. People First: People are the priority Being truly talent-focused means prioritizing your people above all else—even money. It’s important to be aware of your organization’s pay structures and to question whether it’s negatively affecting employee engagement, morale, or motivation. The organizations that put people first are responsive to employee needs, resilient and capable of change, experience less turnover, positively contribute to their communities, and observe greater profitability overall. Future Focus: Time is spent thinking about and planning for what -- and who -- is to come We’ve just experienced the most disruptive decade in history. Economic recession, digital innovation, and political revolution have influenced and changed our societyand shaped the generations coming of age knowing this disruption as the norm. The most successful companies are diligent about setting aside time to contemplate and plan for the future, and build relationships with younger generations. Collaboration: Belonging and purpose are fostered via team-building In a truly collaborative environment, everyone has a voice (always) and contributes (continually). When people understand how their contributions fit into the organization’s strategy, it gives them purpose. Purpose and belief translate into higher levels of employee engagement. Build the Future: Dedicated to long-term growth and success Workplaces with highly engaged employees tend to ‘pay it forward’ by mentoring, fostering partnerships with area schools, or other activities to help build a pipeline of future talent. The fact is, our workforce needs have forever shifted, and every entity everywhere is struggling to adapt, engage, and grow talent.  In order to build a growing business, industry, or economy for generations to come, every organization has a role to play. Want to learn more? Next month, MCAA will release a whitepaper authored by XYZ University featuring interviews, best practices, and strategies for the masonry industry in terms of employee engagement and workforce development. Also, be sure to register for XYZ University’s special training session taking place at the World of Concrete in Las Vegas. Words: Sarah Sladek, CEO XYZ University, LLC
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