In December of last year, we were quoting McKinsey research:
This unique exit means organizations fail to provide meaningful attractions for their employees. Time is ticking, and action needs to be implemented now before the problem worsens over the next few months. What are you doing to ensure your employees are satisfied?”
This year, we’re a little farther down the pandemic road and into the next business cycle. Here’s where we stand today based on a presentation by economic forecasting firm ITR at our quarterly Advance Leadership Workshop.
Some quick stats: Unemployment is currently 3.3%. ITR economist Lauren Saidel-Baker wasn’t concerned “about the 3.3% of people who can’t find jobs, but the jobs that can’t find people. There are multiple job openings per job seeker right now.” Looking at the construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and transportation sectors, there are 2 million job openings without 2 million people to fill those roles. And this doesn’t even include hospitality or retail! So this challenge could be a constraint to your business in terms of supply chain/capacity and filling jobs.
The great resignation was not the older cohort of workers retiring. The labor force rate for the more aging workforce remained constant through the pandemic. We lost workers that are millennials and Gen Xers. Many chose to start their businesses with the extra income from the stimulus, so there was an increase in sole proprietorships started. Others decided it was time to have a one-income family, allowing one spouse to stay home with the kids.
All this information is not to help you worry more. It’s to help you plan better.
So what can you do?
1. Know the condition of your flocks - intentionally
Your culture, why, leadership and management will all affect your ability to keep your key players. This has always been true. Today, the difference is that the supply of job opportunities outweighs the workers to fill them. Keeping your current team is the best way to ride this wave. Turnover is expensive. Turnover in our current climate is astronomically expensive.
2. Operations: Constraints increase creativity
You will need to be more open and creative about doing more work with less. Despite the news cycle and market fluctuations, the economy is in good shape according to ITR metrics. So, you’ll want to look at areas of your business to automate, initiate process improvement, technology enablement, AI, etc. Start now!
Adaptability and flexibility are key. There is a lot of talent on the sidelines, especially those sole proprietorships and spouses staying at home. There is an opportunity to offer flexibility to help you fill gaps in roles. Outsource to individuals and tap into the workforce that’s open to being connected from 9-3.
Keep who you have with intentionality. Focus on being creative and innovating where you are feeling constrained. Recruit with flexibility. Look for alternative markets to find employee bases.
Be sure to know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds. (Proverbs)