A couple of weeks ago when we blogged about leadership, we referred to the Deloitte 2018 Millennial survey which showed a significant downturn in the perspectives of Millennials and Generation Z workers about their workplaces and leadership.
In the survey, most of those workers were so unhappy with their current workplaces that they were considering changing jobs and were considering gig employment as short-term contractors or freelancers. They believe gig employment would offer them greater income along with more freedom and flexibility than what they currently see as permanent workers.
It’s not just workers that need to think about leaving. Workplaces need to consider what happens when they have turnover. It can have some enormous negative consequences for them. High turnover can create a huge loss of revenue as long term employees leave which was kind of suggested in the survey as something that could happen to workplaces. Employees usually have the initial, and subsequent, contacts with customers and that may mean a gap in relationship building and customer assistance that can cause customers to leave if their expectations are not met. If a customer has to continuously rebuild relationships and identify needs to new employees, more than likely they will look elsewhere. As a CEO pointed out in Training Magazine, it’s employees, not executives, who interact every day with customers that builds the loyalty. Employees who are made to feel like they truly are an integral part of the workplace will be happier and that helps to establish a strong customer base.
While some may view employee turnover as essential, which it may be, they really need to consider the costs they will incur with high turnover. In addition to the recruitment and training costs of individuals, it’s also important to remember the productivity that’s lost because other employees may have to fill-In for a vacant position or the amount of time that will be needed to help a new employee become more oriented to the new job. Quality of service or product can also be reduced as employees learn a new job which is no fault of their own.
All of that can be avoided if workplaces invest in their employees. In the Deloitte survey, employees were extremely unhappy at the focus of profits instead of addressing other issues. Profits are important as the employees understood but greater profits can also be realized if the issues they addressed such as increased pay, a voice in everyday work concerns, improvements to society and environment are allowed to happen.
This demonstrates the importance for leaders of organizations to really listen to employees. Employees can actually help bring in the revenue. New ideas can be shared that can actually help workplaces to grow and thrive. For example, Millennials and Generation Z employees wanted more flexible work arrangements which may be something that could benefit a workplace. That happened with one organization we worked with when they looked at it. They discovered they could better serve their customers and created better productivity among staff which also made the staff happy they could complete their work in shorter periods of time.
Listening is what good strong leadership is about. When we wrote about the Deloitte survey a couple of weeks ago we also identified strong leadership characteristics and some examples. One of those was one of our favorites, Arthur T. Demoulas, and the employees that stopped work until he could come back as the CEO. The Demoulas Market Basket chain has 70 stores and their annual revenue is almost $600 million. It’s not only a financial success story but a rewarding human story from both the perspectives of employees and management. It shows what can happen when leaders show an interest in their employees.
But going back to the employees who are thinking about leaving their workplace, they need to think about some things, too. Is gig employment better for them? The answer is it depends. Not all workers may do better. If a worker has a special skill they may be okay but it still requires them to think about gig work before they do it. If they want more flexible environments, maybe showing the employer how flexible arrangements can benefit the organization can be a better option than going solo. Workplace freedom may not exist if financial issues become a concern which occurs when most people do gig jobs. Just because someone may have an in-demand skill that provides a job, it doesn’t mean that one job will last forever. Other jobs will have to be found. Another issue with gig work is assistance or support may be needed for a particular job and it may not be available like it was with the traditional job. Most important of all is to think about the unexpected that can come up either personally or on the job and the resources that will be needed. It could be more financial but it could be other resources, too. More hours, too, may be required than in the traditional workplace which can also reduce flexible hours and freedom. Many entrepreneurs often tell about the long hours their demanded until they could hire someone else. Gig work may sound great but it requires some real consideration.
In the end, both employees and employers have a lot to consider in regards to employment and also the relationships they have with each other. Sometimes patience is needed by both. We live in an instantaneous world and it can take some time to build relationships but leaders of an organization need to step up. They’re in charge of the work environment and they need to demonstrate their willingness to change. Doing so will only gain more in revenue and profits. Allowing high turnover or hiring temps to replace those who have quit will only increase costs, reduce quality in product or service because commitment to the operation will be lacking, and, in the end, customer loyalty will diminish. If that’s what you as a manager or CEO want, good luck because you too may be looking for other employment some day.