According to Brian Kropp and Emily Rose McRae in their article “11 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2022 and Beyond”, one fact became clear by the close of 2021. The disruption of the status quo due to the pandemic and the far-reaching shifts in the global workforce would be a lasting one. This is the digital now.
Employees themselves have been the trigger for these changes. From the overall enthusiasm with which they have approached working remotely, to the increased importance of mental health and its affect on work performance. This, however, brings about new questions:
- What specific forces have prompted these changes in employee attitudes about employment in general?
- How can business leaders in this new environment adapt to better serve their employees without sacrificing their company’s bottom line?
Kropp & McRae (2022) go on to suggest in their article there is no end in sight to the societal changes that have occurred during the past three years, many severe enough to cause enduring trauma for individuals and groups. Multiple Covid-19 quarantines and the shift to exclusively remote work for those able to maintain employment during the height of the global crisis have overturned the old employee mindset that has persisted for decades. For the first time, individuals were forced to reorient themselves in their own lives and take stock of what they found important. And edit the extraneous as they saw fit.
The leadership response
Taking this into account, how can leaders respond to the digital now? How can they move this evolution in the workforce into the future? Firstly, leaders can no longer manage from afar with a sense of detachment from the teams they lead. A remote work environment has required the automation of many managerial tasks that were previously hands-on. Thus freeing leaders to change their focus to new priorities.
A human-centered workforce requires human-centered management. In a remote environment, leaders have become the main point of contact between the employee and the company. They now have to build real relationships with those they lead in order to effectively manage. They must become coaches of a team instead of unfeeling members of a bureaucracy. It may be useful for the senior leader who has found themselves unable to easily adapt to find a personal coach for themselves. This will help them learn the true value of such an approach.
For management to be most effective in a coaching capacity, he or she must understand the drives and motivations of the individuals who make up their team. Now that the world has changed so drastically, how also have their priorities at work? For many, life post-2020 presented the first significant opportunity to consider wants and needs in their professional lives. Leaders can use the answers to these questions to ensure the personal drives of the individuals in their teams line up with that of their organisations.
Once leaders have a clear understanding of who their teams are and have aligned their collective purposes, it is imperative that these newly formed relationships aren’t left to wither and die. Once plans to face the challenges of the organisation have been identified, it’s time for those closest to the work – the employees – to have a seat at the table in terms of company decision-making.
Attract and retain top-tier talent
This turns the traditional leadership style completely on its head. In this new era of the global workforce, it is a fresh perspective that is absolutely necessary to attract the best talent in the marketplace. The following things promise to provide the edge companies need to attract top-tier talent:
- Maintaining a vested interest in the wellbeing of your team
- Communicating and showing that management cares about the same things they do
- Ensuring that the company mission is intertwined with theirs
So that’s the digital now. What’s next?
Forward-thinking team management. With such stiff competition for great talent, it is necessary for companies to stay agile enough in their recruiting strategies to snag the right prospective employees . Those looking for an employer who will consider them as a whole person instead of a cog in the corporate machine. The company willing to make these adjustments has a huge opportunity to get out ahead of the market gap.
Finally, if you enjoyed this article, you might like to read about the 10 benefits of a people first culture.