Rethink Work

The holidays are just around the corner. Everyone is winding down to enjoy family and friends. This is a good time to read and reflect.

Since Covid-19 dominated 2020, it makes sense to read about how its impacted the world of work.

With that in mind here’s a book worth your time.  It’s a quick read. Yet it’s full of valuable insights. It’s a recently published book and written by a young but prescient author. I say that because his advice, given in 2016, pre-dated Covid-19.

Without further ado here’s a brief summary of Rethink Work.

I hope you enjoy the book, should decide to read it.

Book Title:  Rethink Work: Finding and Keeping the Right Talent

Author: Eric Termuende

Publisher: Barlow Book Publishing, Inc., Toronto, ON, Canada

# Pages: 168 pages in the hardcover version; also available in Kindle

Summary: This book is apropos because it addresses some of the challenges businesses faced during Covid-19. As you know, many businesses transitioned to remote work to prevent total shut down.

And as many industry leaders stated, the New Normal implies employees at many businesses won’t return to work at the office. We will likely see a mix. Some employees will work in both the office and remotely. Others will work only at home. Finally, some will only work in the office.

The status quo has given way to a new way of work. How work gets done has changed forever. You and your business included. If you understand that, you’ll want to change your hiring and retention practices.

Addressing how employees do their work, argues Termuende, is a differentiator for companies. At the core of this precept is that all employees want more freedom over how they do their work. That translates into how they do their work… whom they do it with… and why.

In summarizing and reviewing this book, we’ll feature the main points the author makes in the book:

  • The Financial incentive for rethinking how employees do their work
  • Attracting and hiring new employees that won’t jump ship once their hired and trained
  • Workplace culture must be meaningful not vague and ill-defined.

 

Financial incentive. How companies hire and train employees is important. It affects the bottom line costing companies as much as $15,000 for each employee earning $75,000. Again, that’s for one employee. As Termuende states, “That adds up”. Its crystal clear there’s a financial incentive to getting hiring and training right.

When employees are well-matched to their job and company, they perform better. They’re more motivated because they’re invested in the work they’re doing, who they do it with, and why they’re doing it.

When work is meaningful and purposeful at the individual and corporate levels, workers perform at higher levels. That positively affects the bottom line. It also makes for happy employees.

But to enjoy these financial benefits, businesses must attract and hire these highly motivated employees.

 

Attracting and hiring new employees.  The author makes the point that businesses must rethink their employee recruitment processes. Today hiring is a somewhat mechanical, bureaucratic process.

Today, most firms use job announcements to recruit. These job announcements identify mandatory knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) and prescribe necessary experience. Finally, to address these criteria, applicants make generous use of keywords hoping to get an interview.

The problem with this mechanical approach is that it focuses on KSAs and not the individual. It doesn’t shed any light on what it’s like to work at the hiring company. So, getting the fit between prospective employee and company right is elusive.

To attract the right candidates, companies must explain what it’s like to work at their company. They must address what the environment is like. Long hours – are they a frequent thing (or not)? If so, it helps to explain why a company may need or rely on overtime.

Explaining “why”  a company requires excess hours may improve job candidates’ understanding. That will help weed out employees who may have not a passion for working late if doing so isn’t meaningful. And the opposite is true for passionately-minded prospects.

Besides hiring employees in new ways, companies must also update how and when work gets done. We learned some lessons from Covid-19 that reinforce this concept. Instead of the typical 9 -5 work hours, your business must make work fit your new employees’ lives.

During Covid-19, we saw this put into practice. For example, some businesses survived the onset of remote work. Some were better prepared for this, but many were not. Shift work became necessary and flexible hours became popular.

We live in more complex times that our parents. So, businesses must accommodate the complexities of our time. Thanks to technology, we can oblige that. In fact, solutions to alternative work options are available. Technologies like virtual private networks, Zoom, Slack, and email, etc., have enabled job flexibility.

Workers can chat online, hold meetings, and interact with one another on schedule. That promotes productivity giving employees quiet time to do their work uninterrupted. Flexibility facilitates working alone as well as in groups.

Anecdotally, some say remote work is more productive than working at the office. But that’s only part of the solution to retaining new employees.  To round out how we rethink work, we must turn to culture.

 

Workplace culture: Mission, Vision, People.  Termuende states that what pulls everything together is workplace culture. Workplace culture is extremely important today. New employees want to connect with one another. Yet, technology, which has tangible advantages, also has some disadvantages that impede connections.

Employees rely on email and texting to co-workers sitting in the same office. Communicating electronically gives personal interaction short shrift. This is a shortcoming all businesses must address. And culture can mitigate, if not cure, that flaw.

You must strive to achieve balance between the use of technology and human interaction. To achieve that balance, you must address mission, vision, and people or MVP.

Today, new employees must understand their company’s mission. A clear mission statement goes a long way to attracting and keeping top employees. What’s different here is that you must write your mission statement in a way that relates to the individual.

  • A mission statement must convey in a human way how an individual can make a meaningful contribution. That helps in making a connection and in understanding the “why”. Then an individual can see how s/he can contribute to your mission.
  • Similar to mission, your vision must be relatable. The days of vision expressed as an ambiguous concept is over. The vision must relate to people: it must bring vague concepts down to earth, so they’re palpable. Your vision should focus on people.
  • Here your company must humanize its hiring process. You can do this by providing information about a day in of a current employee in, say, accounting, shipping, or compliance. Providing useful information humanizes hiring. Learning how work gets done on a personal level will give candidates a better idea about their future job.

Another way is to have prospective employees spend a day or more on the job to assess the fit. This is a more expensive option, but it will give a candidate a real-world idea of what’s expected.

This approach to hiring allows a candidate to see how MVP works in practice.

At American Global Logistics, we’re on the leading edge when it comes to working in the post-pandemic era. Our employees have been on the front lines. We understand the new world of work. We don’t have to rethink work. We practice the new ways of work every day.

That puts us a step ahead of most 3PLs. And more important, it allows us to help you manage your business through the challenges you face daily – whatever they are.

If you need help in preparing for 2021, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re standing by and are ready to assist you as you rethink work and more.