Business is in a constant state of change; however, we have never seen the massive upheaval that occurred in 2020 and 2021, plus we are still dealing with change and potential new issues in 2022. Employees are stressed out and burned out, which means 2022 demands a more humane approach. Businesses may need to consider a new leadership strategy — specifically, leaders who can remain optimistic, build agility, and adapt in times of disruption to deliver business strategies that will create workplaces where both people and organizations can flourish and succeed.
Colorado Springs is a tough and entrepreneurial community that has done some incredible things in the last few years. So, what do we need to be aware of as we continue to innovate and improve our community? Here are some things your business should think about.
1. Hone your leadership skills
We have all been running at top speed for the last three years. It’s time for a quick assessment of where you are as a leader. Assessing your skills and seeing how they have changed or what has changed in your environment is vital if you are to lead in a crisis and beyond.
Take a quick leadership self-assessment to identify ways that you can improve on skills and assess if you have learned new ones. Do the same with your leadership team. Create an action plan for future growth and perhaps organize some team training opportunities.
2. Collect feedback from your team
Leaders can’t lead without accurate information. In order to drive performance of a successful team, they need to make sure they are on the same page as their team. In these constantly changing times, it is essential to check in regularly with your employees and see how the organization is shifting.
Survey your staff on a monthly or quarterly basis. They will help find blind spots, point out incentives that they would like to see, and give you a great idea of company morale. You can’t complete your goals if your team is not behind you. The workplace is changing at a rapid pace. Be sure to survey your team to get their feedback and suggestions on how to make the business better.
3. Invest in the leaders of tomorrow
Leadership development has always been key to business; now it’s more important than ever. Younger employees want to learn and feel valued. The more you invest in them, the longer they will stay. In addition, with the massive change in the workforce, you may be training someone that can replace an employee you didn’t expect to lose.
According to Sounding Board Inc.’s 2021 Leadership Coaching Report, it is estimated that global investment in leadership development exceeds $3.5 billion. This is due to the global pandemic and the “Great Resignation.” Organizations are investing in leadership coaching for individuals to build necessary skills for navigating an uncertain business landscape, and the resulting bench strength will help fill future critical job roles.
4. Build a healthy culture
The recent mass exodus of talent has created a lot of issues for businesses. It is harder than ever to find talent and keep it. The “Great Resignation” and the “turnover tsunami” are just a few of the names that have been given to employees who are tired, burned out or just plain fed up. One thing to be aware of is that people are not as interested in perks and fringe benefits (like treadmill desks and on-site massages) as much as workplace culture. Employees want to work for a company that takes care of them but also for leaders who support them — leaders who are innovative in the way that work gets done and are committed to staff wellbeing and company culture, as well as the day-to-day experiences of employees.
According to 2021 Gallup research, polls indicate that cultures with effective work-life integration and growth opportunities are better positioned to retain talent. Leaders also need to ensure a level playing field and equity for all employees alongside these benefits.
5. Mental health matters
Everyone is tired. Employees and employers alike have been stretched thin, have pivoted and adapted numerous times, and many people are burned out. Having strong mental health as a leader is important and many leaders are doing good things to take care of their employees, but often neglect themselves. Make sure you take time to recharge, spend time with family, assess your mental health and ask for help if you need it.
Also, be sure to assess the mental health of your team — and if you do not offer Employee Assistance Program services, then this is something you should consider adding as a benefit. Be aware of the many great mental health services available in Colorado Springs in case you need to offer them to your staff.
Likewise, to survive, thrive and profit, organizations must move from disruption to reinvention; must evolve to retain and grow their people to ensure a successful talent pipeline. The most vital organizations will additionally thrive by giving more than they take from the world.
Jonathan A. Liebert is CEO of BBB of Southern Colorado, and CEO and cofounder of the National Institute for Social Impact — NI4SI.org.