I’ll be talking about the virtues of corporate culture in a series of posts through the end of September. In the first post I talked about the role that your core leadership plays in establishing culture. I also gave out some quick tips and ideas for improving your corporate environment.
Earlier this week I also started a conversation within my circles to help get some important questions answered. How do you see #TheWar4Talent shaking out? I’m still looking for stories from the field so if you have an interesting scenario, reach out to me in email or social media!
What Created The Current Environment?
Understanding the reasons that we have a war for talent in the Electrical Construction industry is critical if you’re going to stand a fighting chance. Getting the top candidates or landing the best position for yourself requires you to confront some harsh realities about the current workforce. There are a number of things that have factored into shifts in our industry but I think these 3 are the most compelling:
- Baby Boomers – The baby boomer generation is in the process of retiring or slowing down their level of work and that is having a dramatic impact on the demographics of U.S. workers. It takes a life time to accrue the works skills they’ve got and that is not easily replaced. With a significant segment of the U.S. population set to come out of the work force over the next 15 years, this problem will only continue to grow.
- Lack of New Blood – For the past 2 generations, educators and parents have encouraged their children go to a 4 year college in pursuit of a better career. With money coming out of traditional vocational programs and transitioning to other forms of higher education instead, the trades are confronted with a growing talent gap due to simple attrition. Similar gaps are showing up in other industries as well. For example, Nursing, Culinary Arts, Auditing, Dental Hygiene, and several other vocations, now command higher salaries as a result of increased demand.
- White Collar Influence: Our reliance on technology and our need for immediate gratification has led to a change in the youth of our nation. Young American’s no longer seek to work with their hands and they exhibit little patience for traditional apprenticeship programs. With that said, young American’s excel at using technology to solve problems. That has a positive impact our economy, so it’s not all doom and gloom!
Relaxed Is Good – Collaborative Is Better
A friend of mine in software development turned me on to the Agile, Lean, and SCRUM movements recently and I saw immediate applications for these philosophies in the Electrical Construction industry. Here are a few things in particular that will help you create, not only a relaxed work environment, but a collaborative one.
- Get your team together for 10 minutes every day for a status report. If your immediate team is larger than 5 individuals, you may want to extend the meeting by a few minutes, or break your team down into smaller groups.
- One by one, have each person tell the group what he or she has been working on since the last status report. Ask them to inform the team of any problems they’ve run into – whether they’re resolved yet or not. Then ask them what they plan to work on next.
- Repeat this every day to help foster an environment of transparency and collaboration. As problems are voiced from various individuals, your team members will self align to help get them solved. Not only will this help your culture, it keeps your organization from getting bogged down by systemic issues.
Also, when a team member stands out in terms of effort, creative problem solving, or initiative, be sure to take a moment to recognize them in front of the team. Recognition in front of peers is one of the easiest ways to make an employee’s day!
In my next post for this series I’m going to lay out how the modern employee looks a little bit different than employees in previous generations. If you’re trying to court millennials to replace the baby boomers that are leaving your organization, this should be a great resource.