Workforce operations as a whole has seen a great number of changes over the past couple of years. With many factors in play, reaching that new normal to accommodate is still a work in progress. The Center of Workforce Innovations (CWI) held a virtual seminar on Wednesday, October 5, to help with this transition, and focused on how to help Region businesses improve employee retention in these ever-changing times.
The event featured speaker Eric Termuende, business performance expert and author of the best-selling book “Rethink Work.” With a strong background in business leadership across multiple countries, Termuende shared his knowledge on some of the best ways to both structure and rebuild teams moving forward.
“Eric has consulted with and worked with hundreds of different businesses across different industries, and he knows what’s working in terms of creating a workplace that people are attracted to,” said Lisa Daugherty, president and CEO of the Center of Workforce Innovations.
Termuende mentioned a lot of these changes in the workforce can be seen through what’s deemed as “The Great Resignation.” This is a recent trend where the amount of people changing jobs or finding themselves unemployed is happening at a higher frequency than ever before.
“A lot of us like to think that COVID is the reason for this Great Resignation, but it turns out there’s a lot that’s happening right now that I think we’re not talking about,” Termuende said. “Not many of us are really talking about why.”
While the pandemic may be a catalyst for much of these changes, Termuende noted there are other underlying causes that have an even greater impact on this resignation trend. Birth rates are nowhere what they used to be when compared to past generations. A major spike has also been seen in the amount of people retiring, as well as a decrease in the amount of people moving to find work.
The biggest factor, however, is the Internet, according to Termuende. With many people finding themselves out of work but still needing to pay the bills, they’re turning to their computers to find online or freelance work in order to make ends meet. Termuende used a story he recently heard as an example: a young, single mother of two who found success moving her work as a freelance bookkeeper online when she was laid off at the start of the pandemic. After making that transition, her salary skyrocketed while being able to work from home, making traditional jobs for her a thing of the past.
“This new world of work is completely changing the landscape. It’s impacting the world of work as we know it,” Termuende said. “Really what I think we’re not talking enough about, with respect to the Great Resignation and the talent shortage, is technology.”
Termuende has devoted much of his working hours to find the best ways to work around these hindrances, and to find out what makes great companies and great leaders stand out and separate themselves from the pack.
What he’s discovered can be boiled down to a single statement - it’s all about creating an enjoyable place to work that people can say they're happy to be a part of.
“What I’ve learned in all the work that I’ve done is that truly the best attraction strategy is a good retention strategy,” Termuende said.
At its core, it’s the relationships employees have with their bosses, managers, colleagues, and coworkers that defines the workplace experience. Strengthening those connections is ideal for any workplace environment to thrive, and something Termuende wants to be the main focus of everyone’s attention.
“I’m really talking about removing friction, creating a culture of experimentation, and truly locking in with the people we spend so much of our days with,” Termuende said.
Creating such an environment involves breaking down those barriers to allow for more opportunities for trust and vulnerability within the office walls. Termuende said that the absence of trust is one of the main causes of a dysfunctional team. Without trust, employees don’t have anyone to turn to in times of conflict or stress, and little by little can lead to employees disengaging with their team, thus the phenomenon “quiet quitting.”
“I suggest that we stop checking on our people and start checking in with our people,” Termuende said.
This event was the fourth installment of CWI’s Workplace Innovation Series, where business professionals, such as Termuende, share their expertise on relevant and important topics in the workforce world. For more information on this series and the Center of Workforce Innovations, visit cwicorp.com.