“It’s really hard to get the right people”: Ideas to deal with the labour shortage & the 7 mistakes leaders make at annual strategy meetings
26 March 2023 Newsletter
“If you believe that talent is everything, then your hiring process should also be everything” Claire Hughes Johnson
Hope you’re Thriving!
Good afternoon to everyone except those who require wet signatures.
Ok, I’ve written the above statement because I’ve recently been frustrated by an organisation requiring wet signatures. But it’s more than that. Wet signatures could indicate that an organisation might not be customer focused OR isn’t using technology to eliminate waste or improve productivity and systems.
As per my email in last week’s newsletter, I spoke about the economy and the challenges around that and provided five ideas as a call to action.
This week I’m thinking about productivity and the phrase we hear all the time – “It’s really hard to get the right people”.
Here are a few other phrases I’ve heard in my meetings with leaders this week:
“We can’t get the people we need, so we’re investing in machines to automate their tasks.”
“We’re using AI and ChatGPT to improve the productivity of people we have because we can’t find good people.”
“We failed to hire the ten people we needed this year, plus another ten people have left. This is costing us around $500k per month in lost revenue.”
These are the consequences of labour shortages.
This is the first time worldwide that no excess labour exists in any category or geography.
Let’s consider a few unusual ideas to deal with the labour shortage.
Perhaps you feel that discussing remote work is as fashionable as Blackberry phones or planking?
But, if you can’t find people in your geography, perhaps there are people outside your geography. For example, this week, I had an Australian CEO who has daily challenges dealing with suppliers in Africa, and team members needed to work late into the night due to the time difference. This led to burnout of Australian team members and potential attrition issues. So, we found an answer to recruit in India with a better overlap of time zones.
If you can’t find people to do the work you need to be done, then remote work must be a consideration where possible (e.g. a house carpenter can’t work remotely). If you’re a person who believes everyone should come to the office because of ‘culture’ or ‘teamwork’, how much extra would you pay for them to come to the office?
Because that’s how employees view the situation. Would you pay each employee an extra $100 or $1,000 per week to support your belief? Employees can look at your demands to attend and consider fuel, parking, train fares and time – sometimes perhaps 2 hours per day. This might not cost you, but it’s a cost to them.
The world is not what it used to be.
Here are a couple of resources you might gain value from.
Firstly, Pat Lencioni has an episode of his podcast dedicated to virtual work – where they talk about how his model of the Five dysfunctions of a team relates to remote work.
Listen here: The Five Dysfunctions of a Virtual Team
The second is an HBR article about GitLab, one of the world’s largest all-remote companies. They discuss four components and why they matter for their remote work environment.
- Measure output, not input – Rather than tracking hours logged, follow the metrics that matter for each department.
- Cultural alignment – a handbook with 2,000 web pages about values, norms, policies and practices.
- Open everything – The default is to share, including GitLab onboarding
- Good management – Self-management, regular meetings, in-person meetings, and growth plans for team members.
If you can’t find the right people, can you use the remote work concepts?
Read the HBR article here: GitLab’s CEO on Building One of the World’s Largest All-Remote Companies
Working With Me
One of the points made in the GitLab HBR article was a concept about ‘how to work with me’.
From the HBR article above:
“If you drill down into the handbook’s team section and click on my picture and the “read me” link, you’ll find not just my bio but also a list of my flaws (with a directive to tell me when I succumb to them or to point out ones that I haven’t yet noticed), advice from my direct reports on how to work with me, instructions for arranging one-on-one time with me, and a schedule of my regular meetings.”
Here’s another example of working with me from Claire Hughes Johnson:
If you can’t find the right people, can you utilise the working with me concept to improve productivity?
Ryan Tierney is a director at Seating Matters , an Ireland-based seat manufacturer with an excellent and inspirational story about implementing lean into their business to drive productivity.
In this video, Ryan walks us through his factory and explains the how and why of everything. It’s remarkable!
If you can’t find the right people, can you use lean concepts to improve productivity?
Watch the video about lean at Seating Matters here
Building a better and more efficient onboarding process
Last week I appeared on a podcast with Dominic Monkhouse talking about my book Onboarded, and it was heaps of fun.
- The difference between a job scorecard and a role scorecard
- The 90-day onboarding plan
- What is onboarding debt
- Who owns onboarding in a business
- How to build a robust onboarding process
Here’s an excellent article about our conversation Building a Better and More Efficient Onboarding Process with Brad Giles and you can listen to the podcast here:
As Per My Last Email
This week on The Growth Whisperers Podcast
Annual strategy meetings are a necessary part of every organisation. And they can be very expensive, with decisions made affecting the organisation for a year or more.
Ensuring you maximise the value from these meetings and avoid mistakes to set the company up to win next year and into the future.
This week we share seven mistakes we’ve found leaders make at annual strategy meetings, and what you can do to avoid these mistakes.
Listen to The Growth Whisperers
Or watch it on YouTube
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