We have a shrinking workforce. It has never been a more important time to know who your Change Makers are! Stephen Newman writes…

Just imagine these moments.

  • The government finally declares COVID is under control
  • Fuel prices at the pump fall to lowest levels in X years
  • The NHS announces new records in hospital building, full staffing and new break throughs in medical science while social care now thrives and walks in step as the support partner taking care of all who need further help
  • Greta Thunberg opens the UK’s latest wind farm as the UK becomes 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy

The way things are going, if these happen, we might expect the government to declare a national holiday. Can we dare to dream of a country at peace? Can we expect to see a thriving business community with healthy tax revenues and swollen pension funds?

What Else?

There is one more issue which has been swept under the carpet for too long. It has had very little coverage in the last few years but if it gets ignored for much longer, the outcome could be far worse than any of the challenges we have been facing.  What is it?  We are all growing older!

According to a government paper published way back in 2016, by 2040, nearly one in seven of the population will be over 75.  By 2035 the last of the Baby Boomers will have reached retirement age. This is explored in the SHRM article How to Prepare for Leaders Leaving (shrm.org) This explores the fact that not only do CEOs of SME organisations need an exit strategy for themselves, but they also need one for their top talent ‘boomer’ employees. Boomer  employees have decades of skills and talent which may  be lacking in remaining staff. We have a shrinking workforce!

Navigating the challenges of a candidate-driven marketplace

One symptom of a shrinking workforce is a candidate-driven marketplace. In other words, a job market where the number of people looking for jobs, is smaller than the number of jobs on offer.

With all the artificial intelligence and robotics available more low skilled work will be automated.  There will be many more high skilled jobs. Some have not even been created yet but there could be significant shortages of skilled labour correctly trained to ensure the economy thrives.  If you think with a little political manipulation, we can always open the borders again, it will not be that simple. The same situation exists in most Western countries.  Increase the working population? It will make finding a cure for COVID look easy.

We have a shrinking workforce – So What Can We Do?

Without waiting for political solutions that may or may not work, leaders in industry, commerce and government can act now.

Start “hugging” your employees. No, don’t physically embrace them, but make them feel appreciated. Men, women, those with disabilities, older staff . “Hug” them all! Give them opportunities. Show them you are listening and find ways to help them thrive.

Living costs may be rising. This makes wages a problem. In less turbulent economic times however, job satisfaction, career development opportunities, and recognition usually score more highly and are ranked as more desirable than money alone.

Future battles to sustain business growth are going to depend heavily on employee development and retention. That is a leadership and management challenge and it can’t wait. For too long now, organisations have been conditioned to be lean, agile and flexible. Leaders and managers have been trained to think and work “just in time” but now they have to start thinking and working “just in case”.

Do You Know Your Change Makers ?

There has never been a more important time to know who your Change Makers are and what ideas and skills they bring to your organisation.  If you don’t know what they bring, there are ways to find out.  We can help through our powerful Change Maker Profile.

The Change Maker Profile shows where an individual’s natural strengths, energy and enthusiasm for change lie. Designed specifically to focus on change it enables instant constructive conversations. No other profile can better align people, processes and outcomes.  It shows how everyone can have a role to play, in making change happen. We help our clients to put people in the right roles at the right time, to deliver the real improvements and sustainable changes they need.

So what, you may ask? Even when you have the right mix, how are you going to keep them motivated for the long journey? This is something our clients ask us to work on with them. Astrid Davies explains how we do this  Why our clients don’t ask so what – SHORT – YouTube

We have a shrinking workforce which may need some Maverick Behaviour!

We have a shrinking workforce. This is not going to be easy in business environments where for so long success has been driven by individuals and a culture built on process, systems and performance without empathy and emotional intelligence.  Compared to the relative “safety” of having systems and processes as guides. Leaders may have to adopt some maverick behaviour and start listening more intently to their employees and walk in step with them rather than drive them as they navigate by their “North Star”

It may sound mad right now but if you lose your best people to better roles elsewhere, you might well find it very difficult to replace them later.

Stephen Newman

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