Where Are the Workers?

Several trends are influencing employers’ dilemma and Herman offers some hints on how to deal with them.
For start, fewer people are entering the workforce. generation ago we saw 20 percent drop in the birth rate. Now, as the ‘baby busters’ enter the workforce, we have 20 percent less turning available for work.
The attitudes of young people are different from what employers have come to expect. They are more demanding and they challenge the status quo – even in hiring interviews. Supervisors don’t know how to respond to these more independent and restless employees. frightening proportion of the potential workforce lacks basic qualifications to do jobs available today. Studies show that illiteracy and innumeracy affect third of the US labour pool. Not so high here but bad enough.
Many applicants are limited to performing work that requires no reading, writing, or math skills.
Workers are often not trained to perform work assigned. Even those who shift from similar work for another employer have not been adequately trained to fulfil the standards of their jobs.
America’s expanding economy is absorbing workers. And future-focused workers opt for the more exciting jobs, lured by potential for advancement – skill building, as well as lateral or upward mobility.
The shortages will intensify. Employers will face competition for workers from competitors in their industries and from any company in any industry that wants to attract high-performing employees. Workers know what skills and talents they have, so they can now take their expertise and potential results wherever they want to. No more restrictions.
There are, says Herman, some legitimate answers. But they require change, “change that some companies – or their employees – will be unwilling or unable to make”. He suggests:
1. Change your corporate culture. Is your company the kind of place people want to work? Are they empowered? Accountable? Do workers collaborate to achieve results, or wait for management to make decisions? Do workers have clear sense of mission, of goals, of measurement of accomplishment?
2. Modernise your leadership. Are your managers and supervisors focused on management or leadership? Are they attuned to the needs and expectations of today’s workers? The relationship between employees and their immediate supervisors is most important in building workforce longevity.
3. Become more adaptable, agile, responsive. How quickly can you and your people change to respond to shifting circumstances? Do you offer flexibility to your workers – in hours, in how they approach their work, in where they work? Do you facilitate telecommuting? Are your people well-trained, cross-trained? Personal and professional growth are of paramount importance to today’s workers.
4. Concentrate on building workforce stability. Forget the revolving door of recruiting and hiring any warm body. It doesn’t work and will just create more problems for you. Replacing people who leave will become more challenging.
The future will be significantly different than the past. You can not manage tomorrow like you managed yesterday – or even today. Hang on, it’s going to be wild ride!

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