It would be understandable if business leaders were prepared to take a breather from the turmoil and challenges of leading organisations over the past few years; first with the countless headaches caused by Brexit, then with the COVID-19 hit, and now we are facing Disruption of global supply chains and the threat of new wars across Europe. Many executives can look back on the tumultuous years of the past few years and take pride in what they have accomplished in this challenging environment. They are scrambling to adopt and integrate new technologies, digitize workflows, redesign operating models and transform front and back office operations, all while supporting their employees by forcing a shift to remote work and back to the office again. Many knowledge-based businesses reported revenue and profitability growth in 2020 and 2021, a testament to their organizational agility and determination.
However, resting on your laurels is by no means an option. With the Great Resignation, one of the most pressing concerns for today’s leaders is how to attract and retain a diverse workforce with the skills needed for the future, both hard and soft. In some industries, wage wars are raging: a short-term strategy to retain star employees and fill urgent headcount and/or skills gaps. But this approach rarely pays off in the long run, nor does it build employee loyalty. Compensation may convince people to come in, but every CEO knows that it’s their day-to-day work experience that keeps them or leaves. The real battleground is between those organizations that are truly striving to create positive, productive, inclusive cultures through forward-looking work practices and those that don’t.
The pandemic has made many workers reflect on how much they love their jobs — or how long they can stand it. For many, it’s a matter of stamina: the UK has the longest working hours in Europe; overtime is common, with more than 5 million UK workers putting in a combined 2 billion hours of unpaid work in 2018, an average of 7.5 per worker per week Hour. Although – or more likely, because of this – the UK lags behind other countries in productivity; research shows that working more than 45 hours a week can lead to a dramatic drop in one’s productivity levels. The incidence of stress, mental illness and burnout is soaring; these currently cost our healthcare more than £22 billion a year and employers over £42 billion a year in sick leave, turnover and lost productivity.A sort of McKinsey & Company Research The report, published in early March, said unsustainable workloads and an unsupportive work culture were the top factors in people’s decision to leave their employer, while MIT Sloan Research The report, released in January, confirmed that “corporate culture is a more reliable predictor of industry-adjusted attrition than the way employees assess compensation”.
People have long struggled with oversized workloads, never-ending short deadlines, distracting virtual and physical work environments, and an ingrained cult of busyness that places more emphasis on urgency and task completion, while Not reflective and interpersonal curiosity. People have gained some freedom to work from home, but they also report less happiness at work, more isolation and loneliness, and worrying levels of cognitive exhaustion. They are seeking greater fulfillment and richer connections with colleagues from their work.
As new hybrid work arrangements are being trialled, much debate revolves around when and where people work.But also need to pay attention how Working time is spent and valued. A Vice-President with an outstanding track record in equality, inclusion and people management commented: “Time is an invisible boundary that all organisations wishing to thrive and build sustainably for a better future for all must embrace and put at their heart” .Businesses that successfully create environments, work practices and cultures Actively Encouraging people to focus, strengthening social bonds and sustainable work will be the areas that will benefit the most from improved retention and more effective collaboration, creativity, innovation and customer relationships and the financial performance that goes with it.
To achieve this, leaders need to think strategically about how long people work and how to invest this limited asset; in short, managing collective operating hours. As the chairman of the FTSE 100 questioned, “There are many ways we talk about time, we think about it, we worry about it. But how many people, as leaders, actually spend the necessary time managing it?
To manage collective work time well, leaders need to take a holistic view of their organization and:
Decide how they invest their combined work time today and in the long term;
Focus on the few priorities that will help their business succeed;
Simplify their organizational structure, workflow and technology to reduce distraction, complexity and wasted time;
In the long run, rethink how they recruit, manage, develop and reward employees;
Create healthier, more productive work habits and environments where everyone can work better
This is not a one-off, tick-off exercise, nor is it a time-for-time solution. It’s about how you set yourself up to achieve your business and organizational goals; it’s an ongoing strategy that requires persistence, dialogue, transparency and trust. It requires “time-intelligent” leadership where leaders are open to how they spend their time and realize the impact this has on others. They guide others by not asking “How fast can you do this?” But “How can I help you make the most of/free up your time?”, they value social interaction, time off, time for reflection, inquiry, empathy, and listening, in short, all that promotes health, inclusion, people Behaviour – A work-focused culture.
Strategies that allow individual employees to thrive in the face of adversity are clearly not going to work. Will your organization be the one to meet this latest challenge, or one that falls behind and pays the price? Be complacent at your own risk, because time is running out to take action for your employees and your business.
Written by Helen Beedham. #Why flexibility is a key component of a hybrid work environment, by Jason Palmer. # Increase women’s economic participation with Tracy Garley’s new crowdsourcing model. #Kevin Leahy Transforming industries through innovation. # Traditional leadership is outdated. Three ways Christina DiArcangelo can become a more service-focused leader. #Why offsite retreats are more important now than before the pandemic, Sasha Hoffman.
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