When was the last time you had an RUOK chat with your employees and business partners?
If you ask most people what they do for a living and they might say I’m in ‘such and such an industry’ or maybe they will tell you what their job title is, right?
But usually, while they are telling you this, in their mind they are really just visualising all of the seemingly meaningless tasks they do for 40 plus hours a week, never mind the 10 more hours they spend in the same week traveling to and from work stressing, biting their nails, having hypothetical internal dialogues and quietly losing their minds.
Maybe while you’re reading the word ‘they’, what you’re actually seeing… is *you*.
But how did it get like this? As it turns out… you’re not alone.
Only 1 in 5 employees today see a brighter future for themselves and their family in 5 years time – and this statistic may have even changed to 1 in 10 or worse since the Coronavirus pandemic.
It’s a bit of a wake up call, isn’t it?
Only a small percentage of people at the moment feel confident they’ll actually be better off in the future.
People are only scared of a couple of things, really – but the big one is the change they see coming from miles away as a direct and specific result of automation and globalisation.
They are concerned and uncertain about the impact of the changing economy, of the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and stories of robots taking over their jobs.
Have a look at the big telecom companies, the big banks, manufacturing. All of them and more appear to be on the verge of shedding another big chunk of their workforce. This means that right now most of the people you’ve typically seen around you in the workplace are at work, but they’re not really present.
If the dire statistic is true, there are lots of really great people just floating around everywhere, wondering when their time will be up and what they will do ‘if’ the worst happens. If these are your employees, they are not really being as productive as they could be because of it.
There are still others who are behaving poorly and purely in their own self interest because, ironically, they don’t believe their job is secure anyway unless they are screwing their teammates over. What’s the most recent example of this in your business?
Should this be a wake up call for employers everywhere?
Absolutely – if productivity or retaining really good staff matters to you.
But which tools and levers are employers currently using to try and keep good staff? In short, not enough of them.
A raise in pay is nice for most of us, but it only really does the trick for a little while. A fancy new job title loses its shine quickly too if you get strapped with more work but not much else changes.
So what should employers be delivering then instead?
A sense of purpose.
I hear people screaming ‘Bullshit!’ I only hire people who are self motivated, blah blah blah. Well how has that panned out for you so far?
Right now, employers can earn employees’ trust, productivity and performance by providing more frictionless access to the 3 things they are asking for almost unanimously which is Fair Pay, More Diversity and something else they are crying out for big time: Retraining.
The more you think about it, surely the more sense it makes. What are the things that will make people feel more certain and more celebrated in their workplace?
What to do next – Narrow your vision
If you are an Employer or Business Owner, what should be your immediate priority? If you haven’t got a mission, you need to create one that rolls up into a Marketing Strategy.
If the company is 10 years old, chances are excellent that the purpose has changed a bit which makes it all the more important to not only redefine it but also communicate it and then over communicate it.
Employees, like the team members they want to be, need to see a vision and be given the opportunity to attach themselves emotionally to that vision. If they are well informed of that vision, they will see their purpose within that and if it is ingrained in them, they will defend it.
You might also need to change your mind about who your real stakeholders are. It’s not just you. Now more than ever, it’s your employees.
Communication needs to happen with employees as a first order of business. This means not blabbing your internal sh*t to your customers first, nor the shareholders.
Look at Virgin and every other company that has the happiest, most switched on and loyal employees around. You wouldn’t imagine that these companies employees are ever in the dark about their future, would you? No, there would be clear communication that comes from a place of care from the top.
Demonstrate your brand’s value(s) to the community
Too many business owners miss the opportunity for their brand to really flex their muscle if they are too internally focused. There is the real responsibility of giving back to the community in which you operate and this is especially true for multinationals who would do well to act locally right now so as to directly benefit the people close by and enjoy seeing that everyday – we’re not going to be in lockdown forever, and if you take the opportunity to demonstrate your brand’s value(s) to the community now, the upside can be enormous.
If you are a Boss, why not step up and show actual leadership
There is an unspeakably big opportunity to be captured around CEOs stepping up and being an actual boss outside the workplace. Hello! Is this you? Is this your own personal brand value building opportunity that’s come knocking?
It’s now more than ever that we need our business leaders standing up, speaking up and speaking out. Our politicians are arguably some of the most gutless, dismal and the least trusted of anyone anywhere – and right now, no one will want to listen to them. Businesses and brands actually stand a chance!
While there are such enormous thought and integrity based leadership gaps to fill right now, why wouldn’t business leaders jump at the opportunity to be heard? It’s truly amazing the scope and scale this opportunity brings.
If you are an employee, what can you do right now?
What can you make your immediate priority? What can you do right now to find more purpose in your life if your employer isn’t delivering more than a paycheque?
Well, why not switch things up a bit? Turn the Netflix and the mindless morning radio off for 30 days and pick up some non fiction audio books about the goal or vision you wish you had and make yourself smash through them.
Make deals and bargain with your spouse to allow you to allocate time to it. Kill the other distractions any way you can. Force yourself to do more online networking, get out of your comfort zone and meet some inspiring people. They are out there and they will genuinely be impressed you showed up. Why? Because truly successful people want to share their story and change lives. You’ll be one of the few like them who did something cool instead of doing what everyone else is doing – rotting in front of Netflix.
Surprise yourself by actually make a 30 day effort. Take massive and immediate action and watch the benefits stack up like hotcakes.
Seriously! Get hungry. Take the first step towards being the 1 in 10 or 20 people who is not a cork in someone else’s ocean or the builder of someone else’s dream. You’ll be amazed what ideas you’ll come up with. You’ll be glad to have met new people who have done and are doing some really awesome things you can apply to your job and your life. Wake up and take what’s yours.
Uncommon Frank cares about its clients and their customers so much that we give business owners the power to acquire customers by helping them build stronger offers and get better customers.
Remember – your business is your people and a specific series of effective and irresistible offers. What’s your new, more exciting business model look like?
Let’s have a conversation.
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