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Are you really listening?

The difficulties businesses are having in recruiting staff at the moment have been widely publicised and two recent pieces of research may have some clues as to the reasons.

Firstly, the most recent quarterly survey run by Future Forum, a research group backed by the business communication platform Slack has found that management are keener to see staff return to their offices rather than to continue working from home.

While 44% of executives were anxious to get back to what they saw as “business as normal” more than three-quarters (76 percent) of employees said they wanted flexibility in whether they work from home or the office.

The second piece of research, carried out by the online magazine Wired in conjunction with orgvue, which analyses workforce and HR issues, found that attitudes to work and the behaviour of the workforce is rapidly changing, with many employees re-evaluating their careers post-pandemic and choosing to resign from their existing positions in search of more favourable conditions.

One theme that emerges from these pieces of research is that there is a disconnect between executives and their employees as the former’s working conditions, remuneration and freedom of manoeuvre are considerably greater than they are for employees.

Clearly, working from home during pandemic lockdowns has prompted the formerly office-based employees to look more closely at these issues for themselves and the result has been that many want a change, that there will be no return to pre-pandemic normal if they can help it.

Essentially, the message is that there needs to be a change in the attitudes and behaviour of the bosses to demonstrate that they are concerned for their employees’ welfare.

This is not only about money.

People need to feel valued, listened to and that their wider concerns and responsibilities are understood, that their knowledge and skills are important and incorporated into the company’s structure and organisation.

Businesses can expect there to be less certainty going forward and will need to incorporate more flexibility into their operations.

For this they will need to rely even more on the skills and adaptability of their employees.

While there is certainly a need for strong leadership, the best leaders are those who consult and really listen to what their employees, those “on the front line” of their businesses, can tell them.

There is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth.

Are you really listening and are you willing to adapt to changed conditions?If your organisation is struggling to cope with uncertainty and you would like to talk over your ideas with an experienced turnaround adviser please call us.