There have been a number of lessons from COVID, but the number one lesson we need to remember is that your team members are essential to your organization. Essential workers during COVID came to mean those who were caring for others and providing services we could not live without.
What many organizations and leaders are learning in an even greater way, is how valuable their team members are to them. Across our country we are hearing how difficult it is to find employees. Restaurants are not fully opening due many times to lack of workers. Without team members you may have assets, but you do not have a business.
Many have wondered why it is so difficult to find workers. Some have speculated that people just do not want to work anymore. That they would rather sit home and collect unemployment. However, there are other factors to consider. We have fewer people entering the workforce than retiring. We have many parents who have left the workplace to help care for and educate their children who could not attend school. Immigration was basically halted for four years and so we were not able to bring workers in from other countries. And still others are fearful of being exposed to COVID if they return to work. It is the perfect storm.
So how can a leader attract and retain their team? Take an honest look at your organization. What is your culture like? Are you respectful and inclusive? Team members want to know that they are important, what they do matters, and that you care about their development.
Beyond just the financial money you pay them, consider their mental, emotional, and physical needs. Are you scheduling them for extremely long shifts or calling them after hours to get work done? They need time to spend with family and friends for physical and mental renewal. Remote work is another avenue to providing work/life balance.
Are you providing opportunities for them to learn and grow? They want to stretch and continue to contribute in new ways. This mental stimulation provides energy and engagement to your team members.
Finally, are you providing recognition and support? Team members need feedback on how they are doing both recognizing accomplishments and redirecting efforts when necessary.
Join other leaders in learning a lesson from COVID and avoid losing your most valuable resource to the competition!