Although the definition offered by the United States Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) is much more complicated, most economists agree that full employment is defined by an unemployment rate of 4.0 to 4.5 percent. That means, although the labor participation rate continues to be relatively low, in general, employers are having a difficult time recruiting the people they want and need.
The truth about what’s happening
Recent statistics are even more disheartening. A couple of weeks ago, Monster.com repotted that a record-breaking 96 percent of their users surveyed are looking for a change in 2023. (To put this number in perspective for you, in the past, Monster’s surveys picked up that 36, 37, or 43 percent of registrants were in that category.
What your employees are looking for from you
Employees today, especially the younger generations, are looking for the flexibility that will give them the Life-Work Balance they are looking for, the career pathing that will give them the opportunity to make more money and learn new things, and the training they need to help them succeed in their new roles.
It’s all about the experiences
Beyond those three elements lies a very important area and one which is not as well-defined. Talent, particularly top talent, want to be able to continue working remotely. Or at the very least, they want a hybrid environment where they may work from home for much of the time. They want leaders who exhibit a high degree of empathy and really care about their people. (In the book How to Become an Employer of Choice, they are defined as “Enlightened Leaders.”) And good people are looking for a culture in which they may thrive and one that highly values their contributions. This “culture of caring” is described in the new breakthrough book, Experience Rules: How Positive Experiences Will Drive Profit Into The Future. This culture of caring actually values the support of all of the stakeholder groups.
All stakeholders are important
Most business executives already value the contributions of their clients or customers and their employee or associates. However, the Big Picture is much larger with significant support being provided by the other stakeholders, including the suppliers and vendors the families of employees and customers, the community, and more. During and post pandemic, most executives found out the hard way the value of partnership with their suppliers and vendors when supply chain issues forced the producers to make difficult decisions about who would receive the scarce supply they had. At the top of the list were those companies that had valued partnership and appreciated their producers for what they brought to the trading table. When negotiating with suppliers and vendors, be sure you include a partnership that involves their help with delivering not only the new technology but also strategies for getting buy-in from the users.
Change is often difficult
Most of us resist change. Why? Because it just isn’t comfortable. It’s not what we are used to. It was Nelson Mandela who said that people change either because they “see the light or feel the heat.” If you are looking at bringing in new technology, be very sure that your organization is prepared for the change. The most overlooked aspect of implementing new technology is to make very certain that the culture is prepared to accept it. If the experience is not a good one for the new users, trying to apply the new technology will be a set up for failure. Put together a team of folks and ask them to help you with the implementation; the people you want on this committee are not the most tech-savvy, but rather, those who are the most people-savvy.
What you can and must do
First and foremost, you must ensure that you have a stable workforce. The way to accomplish this difficult task is to conduct Stay Interviews. Find out what is going on in the hearts and minds of your people, what do they like about their job—and what they do not like about them? What would they change if they could? What are their suggestion for making things better? Second, review your compensation and benefits versus the competition—especially the benefits—including flexibility. You may be surprised at what you find. Finally, ask your vendor who has successfully implemented the new technology and even call the person who serves in your capacity at the other company, ask him or her what they did and how they did it. Under no circumstances should you try to institute new technology without first winning buy-in and preparing the culture.
What your leaders need to do and how to convince them to do it
Your top leaders can help, especially if they sincerely believe in the product. Have them explain why and how this new technology will make a difference for the organization.It is imperative your leaders support the work of your implementation committee.
What the Future Holds
As technology evolves, Artificial Intelligence will evolve to help humans to adapt, however eventually—perhaps as early as 20 years from now, we will not need the humans to do the jobs that they do today. All one has to do is to play with the new AI ChatGPT for a few minutes to understand how far we have already come. In the meantime, experience rules! If you take away nothing else from this article, understand that if your people are not happy with the new technology, it will not save the time and money intended.
Joyce Gioia is an author, consultant, and futurist. Her new breakthrough book Experience Rules: How Positive Experiences Will Drive Profit Into The Future is a roadmap for hospitality leaders who want to be successful in the future. Her new television show, “It’s Your Future with Joyce Gioia” appears on the Futures Television Channel on AppleTV+ and Roku.tv. She is also a member of IMC’s Consulting Hall of Fame.