Feb. 25, 2022
The optimist in our current environment envisions a vibrant workforce eager and engaged in accomplishing goals. Unfortunately, a myriad of factors ranging from rising inflation to global conflict are distracting us from this exciting forecast.
What should you do?
Consider the facts. At the start of the global pandemic in February 2020, 164 million people were in the United States workforce and, 60 days later, millions were gone. Significant stimuli offset financial struggles during those trying times and the months to follow. One example included a pause on student loan payments. On December 22, 2021, the United States Department of Education extended the student loan payment pause through May 1, 2022 (Federal Student Aid, 2022). This continuation extends the 0% interest rate, and collections on defaulted loans were stopped.
Eventually, student loan suspensions will end and many will be seeking employment to help pay off debt. Businesses must examine how they will respond. For example, credit unions are planning for increased overdraft protection and nonsufficient fund fees (Credit Union National Association, 2022). Other entities, including Microsoft, leaned forward with insights to encourage a readiness posture supporting the hybrid workforce (Microsoft, 2022).
What are you doing?
Prep your workplace. Recognize a decrease in the workforce, financial stimuli, and longer-term delays to debt that must eventually be paid. Address these changes by considering people, processes, technology, and data.
- Complete a skills matrix. A skills matrix allows you to map capabilities to needs within your organization. The noticeable gaps spark a conversation among existing personnel to identify hidden talents and technology capable of providing the capabilities. The outcome focuses on retention efforts, including training, teamwork, and incentive programs. The result also facilitates the writing of job descriptions, scopes of work, and measurable performance metrics once a new individual is onboard.
- Review your onboarding program and processes. New individuals will arrive at your workplace with high expectations. They will assume the company has a firm understanding of in-person, hybrid, and remote workplaces. Individuals will believe standard operating procedures are accessible to guide them through their job requirements. If those items do not exist or are overly complex, it is time to adjust. Reinvent your onboarding experience. Rehearse deployment of your processes to ensure they make sense – especially from a new hire’s perspective.
- Understand that the workforce is redeploying. Many folks have never entered the workforce, left, reentered, or are “flexibly” operating. Aaron De Smet and Adria Horn compared these changes to redeployment effects military members can relate to based on experiences (McKinsey & Company, 2022). The recommendations in the article are six mindsets for uncertain times. These insights guide the workforce toward an understanding of managing this dynamic.
In summary, now is the best time to remain an optimist. Embrace the current environment and actively plan for a bright and vibrant future of the workforce! Contact us for more info on preparing your business for tomorrows workforce.