What is most interesting is the approaches taken to try and deal with this.
Many are going for the immediate gratification approach – money, incentives, and title changes. Others are focused on the post-Covid challenge of the hybrid-working model, and retaining that semblance of balance we have all become accustomed to.
Often in times of crisis – and for many, this talent deficit is a crisis – we need to remember the basics.
Pilots are taught in an emergency to, above all else, fly the plane. Knowing where you are on a map as you spiral towards the ground isn’t overly helpful.
A key fundamental is to have a team fully engaged in the business they are part of with surety about what their work is contributing towards. The value in knowing that they are working towards something more significant, and can see the progress and impact they are having cannot be underestimated. Short and long-term, this has been proven to beat incentives every single time.
But as simple as that sounds, it isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
When Scott Keller & Mary Meaney researched motivation through the McKinsey & Company archives for their book Leading Organisations, they found that when there is alignment in the direction, and employees understand their contribution, performance improves by 16%. However, commitment improves by 32%.
Every team needs confidence in the overall direction. When they know the strategic plan (and ideally have helped to shape it), and when they are clear about how what they do impacts what needs to be done – and what the future could look like, there is a stickiness that bonds a team even in the most challenging times.
The last two years have eroded not just the confidence in the direction but also the actual direction itself. Many leaders are not clear themselves on where their business is next headed, let alone able to inspire a team to go there with them. We must shake off the tactical, survival behaviour and get back to leading with strategy, inspiring teams with a stretching possibility.
Is it time for a reset to rebuild confidence and more crucially, increase that much-needed commitment?