Today’s post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member, John Frehse, senior managing director at Ankura Consulting Group, LLC.
2020 will never be seen as the year when everything worked out. Distress is prevalent in our communities, our country, and our world. However, all is not lost. We can save 2020. At least we can save some of it from a workplace perspective. And to do that, we must empower the workforce like never before. We always say we care about empowering the workforce, but this time we have to act. This means trusting your people, understanding their challenges, clearly communicating the plan, and giving them the tools to get it done.
It means Workforce Agility.
As we move squarely into H2 2020, our clients are asking different questions, requiring different services, and looking to very quickly stabilize what has often become an unstable working environment. To do this, they don’t just want results – they NEED results. And they need them immediately. Their goals haven’t changed – they still want to be agile, save money, and drive performance, but the need to very quickly achieve those goals has. This new urgency for “instant agility” is a product of the pandemic. So, what do we collectively do? Here are three actions that seem obvious but are rarely well-executed by management teams.
- Listen to your workforce and focus on the areas of greatest need: This sounds obvious, but management teams often say that the worst time to survey the workforce is during a crisis. However, that is only true if the desired result is to get the most positive results – which will not be prescriptive to drive improvements. To manage effectively through a crisis, leadership teams need to have accurate information about where things are going well and where they are failing so they can focus on the areas with the greatest need.
- Tell the truth: Employees often know how to solve problems before management. Bad news doesn’t get better with age and problems can’t be solved unless they are addressed openly and honestly. A major key to achieving agility is making sure there is an effective flow of truthful information.
- Remove waste rapidly: We do not have an abundance of time and decisions must be made quickly. Because of this, review decision rights and reinforce these powers inside your organization. Leaders must be reminded of their roles and responsibilities so they feel empowered and can take action as needed.
We learn some of our best lessons through adversity and this time in our history is no different. Taking these three points to heart will help drive enterprise-wide success. To save as much as we can of this year we need to understand the urgency. We can’t do it alone and will need to involve all levels of the organization. Listen to your people. Embrace the bad news. Capture the cost savings. And make the decisions to drive desired results as a team.