Today’s workforce is more dynamic than ever before. With technology rapidly evolving and social distancing forcing us to change the way we work, leaders have their work cut out for them simply keeping up with these changes and managing this modern and mobile workforce.
The Way We Work is Changing
Not too long ago, nine to five was the gold standard for office work hours. In fact, it’s still ingrained in our vocabulary today, even as the reality becomes more about 24/7 accessibility. We used to have siloed departments, which has given way to more collaborative teams. And before, while there were only a couple generations in the workforce at a given time, there are now up to five unique generations represented. Outside of that, today’s environment is one of rapid growth and change amidst an uncertain economic climate. And one of the greatest shifts we’ve seen is a change in focus from the customer to the employee. And all of these changes were at play before a pandemic forced some drastic shifts in how we carry out business.
Human Services Organizations are Uniquely Complex
At DATIS, the organizations we serve – those in the Health and Human Services industry – are uniquely complex. Human services agencies often have employees working across different departments, locations, funding sources, and more. This leads to dynamic labor cost allocations that can be incredibly challenging to stay on top of, especially if handled manually. Human services organizations also often deal with long recruiting cycles, talent shortages, and high turnover due to the demands of the job.
Managing a Mobile-First Workforce
With adjustments for COVID-19 on top of all other workforce management complexities, it’s important to put some strategies in place to help your organization move forward. As a starting point, a three-pronged approach can help:
With a dispersed workforce, communication is more important than ever. It’s important to have frequent check-ins, provide as much transparency as possible, and allow for open discussion. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the current economic climate, so communicating as much as possible across the entire organization is essential. To supplement these efforts, managers can incorporate one-on-one check-ins with their direct reports to ensure each employee is receiving the support they need.
Encouraging and providing recognition is also essential, especially when we lack the ability to have in-person interactions. This recognition can help bring back a level of visibility for the workforce – not just for management, but for employees at all levels. This can be accomplished by encouraging peer-to-peer recognition and making it visible to the entire organization.
The third step in this strategy is to remove obstacles. Employees are able to perform at their best when they are empowered with the tools and resources they need. With all of the sudden changes and adjustments organizations have had to make, new obstacles may be popping up. Parents working from home are juggling the responsibilities of taking care of children while also getting their work done, while those used to collaborating in person are learning to use completely new technology to be able to communicate.
Identifying obstacles and accommodating for them as much as possible will go a long way in helping each individual contribute at their best. And when everyone is putting their best foot forward, the organization as a whole is able to forge a successful path forward.