The Future of Work: Leaders Need to Provide This One Big Factor

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Our SCLA Executive Think Tank group recently began a new discussion series centered around taking care of our hardworking teams in the supply chain as we look to a post-COVID future. Keeping team member morale from sinking remains a top concern among leadership, and we have discovered that top talent is beginning to drift away from our organizations due to burnout.

This is alarming, to say the least.

Being problem-solvers, supply chain leaders naturally want to know what we can do to stop the talent drain. And, luckily, new survey data and input from experts suggest there are several significant ways we can nurture our teams into remaining engaged, productive, and even happy.

Our colleague, Misty Bennett, Assistant Dean of the College of Business at Central Michigan University, happens to be one of those experts. She studies industrial organizational psychology, human resources, and the way of work.

Professor Bennett recently gave us her views on the changing face of the future workforce, and while it's perhaps not surprising news, there is one big thing many workers want and need: Flexibility.

Flexibility is the Name of the Game in the Workplace of the Future

Now more than ever before, employees are coming to expect that their employer will accommodate how they want to work. And, according to new data from SHRM, that "how" is remote—on a permanent basis. Half of workers do not ever want to come back to the office, and of those who want to work from home, 35% said they would accept a salary reduction to be able to do so.

Women are twice as likely as men to say that they will not compromise on this flexibility, and it seems that the recent failures of our government and public schools through the COVID-19 crisis have a lot to do with their feelings. As we know, the majority of caregiving responsibilities in America still disproportionately fall to women—when it comes to both childcare and eldercare.

Something has to give for many women, and it's often going to be an inflexible employer that gets left behind. After all, more and more employers are beginning to understand the value of allowing their employees to work when, where, and how they feel most comfortable and productive.

I wrote before about the challenges faced by remote workers and the fact that working from home doesn't necessarily protect our team members from becoming burned out.

Also, while some of our industry colleagues have safely brought their teams back to work and re-stated their commitment to the collaborative nature of in-person work, many others are rethinking their approach so as to retain top talent.

The Right Amount of Communication is Also Key

As Professor Bennett noted, one risk with remote teams is ensuring that top talent isn't being ignored. Communication needs to strike an elegant balance to ensure that all team members get what they need, and sometimes we forget that mentoring our remote top performers still needs to happen.

After all, these are the people we can lose without realizing it's happening. They're doing great work—and we're taking that for granted—not reaching out to them and giving them the next step up. Just because we've offered them the flexibility they crave, they might still go elsewhere if we're not supporting them.

Many Questions Remain About the Future of Work

It's true that COVID has really reshaped workers' expectations from their jobs, and many—especially women who are dealing with childcare and eldercare—do not want to go back to full-time in-person work. But there are various ways in which we can reshape the workplace of the future to allow some in-person work—and some roles simply need to be done in person.

Share Your Thoughts About the Future of Work

As we continue the post-COVID recovery here in the USA and around the world, SCLA will be continuing the conversation about how we can best support our teams and optimize everyone's contribution—while being healthier and happier!

Have some knowledge to contribute? We'd love to hear from you! Get in touch with me on LinkedIn or connect with SCLA now.

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Tuesday, 16 July 2024

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