People don’t want to work anymore, right? Wrong!

Having problems recruiting and retaining employees? Change your thinking. There is not a shortage of good job candidates and people do want to work. Bill and Ralph discuss the benefits of shifting your perspective and being open to redesigning “work” to attract quality talent and keep them engaged.

Bill Berthel: Welcome to the Get Emergent podcast where we discuss contemporary topics of leadership teams and organizational effectiveness. I’m Bill Bertell and I’m

Ralph Simone: Ralph Simone.

Bill Berthel: Hey Ralph. So today we want to talk a little bit about, what we’re hearing from a lot of leaders. A lot of our clients, this difficulty in finding people that either want to work or there aren’t people out there.

Ralph Simone: Well, you know, it’s interesting when I had lot energy. Now let’s at least say. As a record number of people have quit their jobs. Many sectors of the economy are struggling to fill vacancies. That is true. Yes, but we feel that the reason they’re having trouble is because they’re not changing the way they’re looking to fill those positions and they are not changing the positions that they are filling.

Bill Berthel: So you’re suggesting that there is a way to find these people, that there are people out there that wanna work. We just need. Switch it up a little bit.

Ralph Simone: Absolutely. I mean, I think it’s, you know, when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. Yeah. And I think the first we’ve gotta stop talking ourselves out of the fact, you know, that nobody wants to work.

They may wanna work differently and the way in which we find them and not just find them retain them will require us as leaders. To think and act differently. I think this is an opportunity to think again, because this projection becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and then we convince ourselves that we can’t get it done.

Bill Berthel: I love that. You know, it, it reminds me so, uh, past career, as an HR director, I had recruitment reporting to me. And you know, this was the time when newspaper ads and ads in the classifieds weren’t catching people’s attention anymore. They were all of a sudden this new thing called social media. Right? And we, and we wanted to resist going to that new space cause we didn’t know much about it.

And so we’d throw classified ads out in the paper and gosh, less and less people were answering those ads. We had to change it up. We had to do something different

Ralph Simone: and we have done that. Organizations over time have made the shift. This is just another time to make another shift. And, you know, we both kind of enjoyed, one of the recent Harvard business review articles, which talks about designing work that people love.

And it’s time to design and redesign the work that people love so that we can attract and retain people. I, I. I have two clients that are hardware space and logistic space. Okay. They have no trouble filling spots. Mm-hmm and it was interesting to me. I said, where do you get your, some of your best people, you know, waiters and bartenders.

And, and, and I say, so what do you do? They go, we, we go out to eat a lot. We go down, we go out to drink a fair amount. And when we are engaged by somebody who shows a lot of energy, And a lot of quick wittedness and a lot of passion, we line ’em up for an interview. So, I mean, i, I was like, you’re not gonna get those people in a classified ad.

And I, I’m just fascinated by that these are two organizations that have no trouble filling spots.

Bill Berthel: So it’s really looking at the workforce differently, really looking at, uh, you know, how do we find people differently? How do we make. Introductions to our organization, ourselves and the work. And how do we make sure that the work is so compelling that people are falling in love?

We can use that word here. Right? Love. Falling in love with the work

Ralph Simone: well, so if we don’t make those changes, we’re gonna erode. Trust and engagement. And what we know about a lot of the most recent surveys is that trust and engagement are at all time lows. And so why would people, if we are still trying to get people the way we always got them, why would they be trusting us or why would they be any more engaged? So it’s really incumbent upon the leadership to change the systems, the processes, the ways in which we recruit and retain people.

Bill Berthel: Yeah. And it’s not just trust and engagement, but people are less and less resilient as well. And, and when you love your work, it creates an energy that creates more resiliency.

You know, the numbers keep hovering around the 80 20 rule, right. It’s something like 18%. Workers are not engaged. It’s close to that. It’s something like 15, 17% are not resilient. Now 14% of the workforce says that they trust their senior leadership and teams. 14% say they trust. That’s an awfully low number.

Ralph Simone: Yeah. So let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing. And so I think, well, the three questions and, and I, there was three questions in this article, but I think there are the three questions that I ask myself often, you know, was I excited to work every day? Last week? You know, when you start to ask people, I love to go into these companies that are rated as the top 100, you know, best places to work.

I start asking people. What do you really like about this? And if they’re stumped and I say, okay, I gotta get a couple more data points. Maybe that’s just marketing, you know, a stem, but was I excited to work every day? Did I have, and I think this next one is really important. Did I have a chance to use my strengths each and every day?

And, you know, one of the things I think we love about our work is we do have that opportunity. And at work, do I get a chance to do what I’m good at and something I love? So that’s the third question. And you know, I’m a baby boomer, I’m an old guy, you know, I mean this discussion I wouldn’t have been having. 10 20, 30 years ago. Who cares if you love it, just do it right. The end of the day. I’m happy if we’ve made money. Well, it’s more than that for the new workforce. And we must redesign for love for the content of the work itself. So if I’m doing too much of the, uh, you know, administrative stuff, when that’s not what I love to do. I may, uh, be less engaged. I may be less engaged.

Bill Berthel: Yeah. But this is starting to sound just like a warm and fuzzy love Fest. That’s not the purpose. This is about performance in organizations. This is about finding and retaining people that are going to drive performance in your organization.

Ralph Simone: Yeah. And in order to do that, I think something that we believe, but is supported by this HBR article is there’s three principles.

The people are the point yeah. The people are the point. We know this based on our work and leadership agility, one size fits one. One size fits one and, and trust we grow. And how can I trust anybody that’s no longer relevant? See, I think this is the biggest challenge. This is the question my kids challenge me about cuz they think I’m, you know, they refer to me as the AARP guy and, and that, you know, dad, how are you gonna remain relevant?

I’m gonna be remain relevant because I’m gonna keep changing. I’m gonna keep challenging my thought process. And I’m gonna keep challenging the way in which we. Recruit and retain people for our practice.

Bill Berthel: I love it. So what would we tell leaders today? What they could try to change, what they could experiment to change it up, do something different to attract those folks that are out there.

Ralph Simone: well, I think the first thing we gotta be recruiting human beings, not workers. Yes. And we’ve gotta be in touch with the changing needs and we really gotta understand what they love and you know, how they wanna work. Think that’s one thing. Yeah, here’s the other thing. And I I’ve been part of this in many large organizations I work with.

You gotta discard the rituals that ode trust. You know, and so the, the way in which we treat some groups versus other groups, even though we need to meet people where they’re at, but we’ve got to put those to an end and we have to pay attention. I think we teach people how to be present. If you’re paying attention.

If you’re asking the right questions, if you’re learning. You’re going to evolve your thinking and subsequently the systems and the processes that you use to attract the talent that’s aligned with your values and mission.

Bill Berthel: And one of the pieces that stuck out in that same HBR article to me was this commitment to lifelong learning, right?

To, uh, one way of staying relevant as you share is continue to change what’s about growing and developing and. They call it a love plus work organization invests in that ongoing education of every single employee. A lot of overlap there from the first break, all the rules book that Gallup did several years ago, where that investment in the individual for retention is so important, continued learning and education.

Ralph Simone: I think, you know, just speaking for us, I think the one thing that’s key to our organization, and I think we look for this is if someone is not a lifelong learner, they’re probably not gonna be a good fit, but I would argue that , if you’re not a lifelong learner, you might not be a good fit in any organization.

And I think what we’re really doing is we’re holding the mirror up to leaders that are saying they can’t find people and saying, all right, what are you learning about this experience? And if you are committed to lifelong learning, you are open to thinking again, you are open to experimenting with different ways in failing and learning fast, but we can’t talk ourselves into, there are no people, people don’t wanna work anymore.

That just becomes a way of describing insanity. Let’s do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. We’re not gonna get ’em. And I think this is a fun time to be an employer. If you are willing to really turn things on its ear.

Bill Berthel: I was talking to a leader just yesterday. One of our larger clients who I think really gets it and the way he shared it with me, it really kind turned light bulb on for me.

He said, individualism is present whether we like it or not, and it may be an effect of the pandemic. Folks are really focusing on what they love to do, what they enjoy, what they want and need, you know, work and family. I think this comes out, he suggested we need to speak to every individual while we’re recruiting.

It’s no longer speaking to a, a, a pool of possible candidates. It’s we need to speak to each individual and I love the way he framed that.

Ralph Simone: Very powerful. I actually think many of the clients we work with do get it are adjusting, are experimenting with different ways. I think some of them have to pick up the pace because right.

One size fits one and it’s this nimbleness, it’s this ability, it’s this, you know, and we really need to avoid, you know, this is a polarity to be managed, right? If we’re in a larger organization, there’s an autonomy that we need. If we’re gonna attract the future worker to work they love. And there is some standardization and integration, but we’ve gotta look at not going too far, one way or the other.

And I, and I think, you know, we’ve got to begin to avoid using too many tools that standardize in that treat. The one as the many, because we missed the opportunity to help connect them with something they really love doing.

Bill Berthel: Yeah. I love it. And you know, the focus on teams, right? A great way to avoid standardization in our organizations while we’ll absolutely celebrate the individual.

Uh, most people really do want to do something bigger than themselves and that just screams team doesn’t it. Right. So we can focus on teams. Setting those clear goals, people do wanna be attached to a, a mission that they can also love. But not losing that individual in those teams.

Ralph Simone: Yeah. One thing I’d like to challenge us to do, and, and the people that we work with and for is to do something radically different in the next two to four weeks around how you actually either recruit or retain people.

Radically different and pay attention to what impact it has. Use some of these tips that we’ve talked about, but this is clearly an opportunity to think again, because what worked in the past will no longer continue, you know, was the book. What got you here? Won’t get you there. Uh, you know, we’ve got, we’re constantly evolving and we know this, we know this, but let’s not be late to the game.

Cuz I think many employers are already late to the game when they say there are no workers out there.

Bill Berthel: I love that call to action. What are you gonna try? Different? What are you gonna experiment with out there? And I might add to it. Why don’t you let us know? Why don’t you reach out to us here at Emergent. We wanna learn from you.

We wanna hear about your new experiments and your new successes. Reach out to us and let us know what you’re doing.

Ralph Simone: I I’m laughing, cuz I think I’m gonna look for our next partner in a bar or a restaurant. I think that’s what I’m gonna. And I’m gonna pay attention to the interactions and this young man or young lady would be a great fit in our business.

So that’s my commitment, Bill.

Bill Berthel: Make sure to check in for upcoming podcasts right here at Get Emergent every other week.

Note: The preceding text is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors

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