Boost in Management Training. Too many companies cut training and development for leaders years ago and that has come back to haunt them as they’ve promoted and hired people into management positions without giving them the tools to effectively lead today’s new workforce. More companies are putting training back into their budgets to create better bosses and better places where people want to work.
When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.
As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Cara Silletto.
Workforce thought leader and keynote speaker, Cara Silletto, MBA, CSP, works with organizations to reduce unnecessary employee turnover by bridging generational gaps and making managers more effective in their roles. As President and Chief Retention Officer at Magnet Culture, Cara and her team of workforce strategists have cracked the code at shifting “old-school” manager mindsets to better understand and retain today’s new workforce. Workforce Magazine named Cara a “Game Changer,” Recruiter.com listed her in their “Top 10 Company Culture Experts to Watch,” and she’s the author of the book, “Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave and How to Keep Them Longer.”
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.
Sure thing! I’m an uber optimist and I recall several instances in my childhood when my mother ingrained her positivity into our lives, even when things weren’t great. For example, if we were stuck behind traffic caused by a car accident, she would say, “Well, at least we’re not the reason for the traffic!” It taught me to always find the silver lining of every challenging experience and make the most of what was dealt my way.
Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?
In future years, employment will remain a mutually beneficial relationship where employers and employees choose to partner with one another. If either party decides it’s no longer a fit to work together, that bond will be broken and the relationship will end.
Also, in future years, employers will be forced to minimize their reliance on redundant manpower.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
While we likely cannot “future-proof” our organizations due to so many unknowns, we can certainly prepare for various scenarios and build in wiggle room for those variances. The more nimble an organization can be, through cross-training staff, diversifying revenue streams, etc., the more likely they will be to succeed as the tides change.
What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?
All staff want to work for great bosses, but since many organizations have not fully developed their leaders, there’s often a gap in the expectation workers have regarding their leaders. Staff want bosses who communicate well, appreciate a job well done, have time for mentoring, and more. Yet, most leaders we work with tell me they’re not given enough time to manage others, nor are they entirely equipped to handle the needs of today’s very different workforce (versus the workforce of ten or 20 years ago). To overcome this gap, organizations must invest time and dollars into developing their leaders using more relevant training, as well as giving them time to manager others again.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together in recent years called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
Many positions are still what we refer to as “tethered” roles that must be performed at a certain location at a certain time to complete the job. For organization that can untether more roles, that will be a critical shift for successful recruitment, but for those unable to loosen the tether because they provide bedside care, construction work, etc., they will have to find ways to become more creative with their offerings of flexibility regarding start/end times, lengths of shifts, or more part-time options. Employers must realize what sacrifice employees make for any lack of flexibility and be ready and willing to pay a premium for those sacrifices.
We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?
Moving forward, there must be a give and take from all sides. While companies should do more to listen and meet the needs of employees today, not all jobs can be done fully remotely. Not all jobs will pay top ranges in their market. Not all bosses will be the best leaders in the world. And employees must embrace that they cannot “have it all.” If they don’t, they will continue to chase greener grass that’s much duller than expected upon arrival, and they will likely never find their perfect job with a perfect boss and a perfect paycheck. Employers and employees must decide what’s most important to them and focus on that.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
I love people. I believe in people. As we train more managers, I have found we are amazing, incredibly resilient beings who have figured out how to survive this chaos thus far and we will continue to evolve and adjust — some of us more easily than others — as the future of work evolves.
Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?
Organizations cannot deny that managers must have time to get to know their people. We cannot be so busy that there’s no time left to build trust, camaraderie, and stronger bonds on our teams, because it’s costing us talent (and dollars) when we ignore this necessity. While it may not be innovative, I prefer to teach leaders to go back to the fundamentals of good leadership and coaching. Check in with your people regularly. Get to know them as a whole person, not just who you see at work. Offer support and breathing room when staff are stressed or maxed out. Stand up for your team members when the organization is putting too much work on individuals that pushes them beyond their capacity.
It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?
Employees have reached their limits with the “do more with less” approach. They can do no more with no less! Organizations must adjust job descriptions and workloads to be more realistic and sustainable in order to keep the talent they can’t afford to lose.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”
- Boost in Management Training
Too many companies cut training and development for leaders years ago and that has come back to haunt them as they’ve promoted and hired people into management positions without giving them the tools to effectively lead today’s new workforce. More companies are putting training back into their budgets to create better bosses and better places where people want to work.
- Setting More Explicit Expectations
Staff cannot read managers’ minds, and yet we still hear leaders say “that’s just common sense.” Great leaders now communicate their expectations regularly and more clearly than ever before because today’s new workforce was raised with different parenting and didn’t receive the same mentorship more seasoned workers gained. Instead of judging others by thinking “she should know better,” more effective managers share exactly what is and is not appropriate in staff roles.
- Workload Adjustments
While companies have somehow normalized staff working consistently more than 40 hours per week, that’s not normal nor sustainable. You’ll see progressive companies pruning job responsibilities from overloaded workers and managers to recalibrate productivity expectations. If we want staff and leaders to blossom in their roles, we must remove the weight off their shoulders. Otherwise, we’ll continue to watch them wilt.
- Staffing Maintenance
Just like cars and machines need downtime and maintenance, so do humans. For too long now, we’ve been running on fumes without any time to recoup or rejuvenate ourselves. It’s time to reinstate time we’ve lost for less productive, yet valuable cross-training, vacation time, sick time, networking, team building, etc.
5. Proper Onboarding to Keep People On Board
When we’re busy, we shove new hires into the deep end expecting them to figure the work out alone. That “sink or swim” method no longer works as new hires feel set up for failure. Great organizations will invest proper time and attention to the onboarding process building solid checklists for day one, week one, month one, and quarter one to ensure nothing is missed. They will also empower their managers to own the onboarding process for their teams, as onboarding is not just HR’s job, nor is it complete after only a few days or weeks.
I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?
When camping as a child, I was taught to “leave the campsite better than we found it.” That’s been a great life lesson that can be applied in business and at home, and it has instilled a continuous improvement mindset in my life. It’s a great reminder to never stop learning, always help others, and picture what could be instead of just what is.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.
I’ve always admired organizational psychologist Adam Grant who teaches at The Wharton School and is the author of several books including, Think Again. His insights into how we think and work alongside one another brings great clarity to many of today’s workplace challenges and potential solutions.
Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?
Connect with me and Magnet Culture on LinkedIn or visit our website at www.WeReduceTurnover.com to find free webinars and retention resources.
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.