The shortage of skilled workers

The capital of a company is not its product, but the employees who create it. If jobs remain vacant too often and for too long, the success of the company is endangered. The balance of power in the labor market has changed, and this painful fact must pave the way for new visions.

The labor market is changing more than some would like

According to a survey by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, more than half of companies are already affected by staff shortages. At first glance, the reason seems obvious: the baby boomer generation, which has a high birth rate and is industrious, is beginning to retire. The following generations, with low birth rates, for whom their private life is more important than their work, are not able to compensate for this. However, if you look a little closer, you will notice that later generations are well educated, see work and family as equals and want to make a difference. Probably for the first time in history, workers are empowered to make demands, however uncomfortable and painful that fact may be for companies. As is well known, complaining is not a business model, rather the focus should be on improving all those internal structures that make a company so attractive to workers that it remains successful and sustainable.

Companies as applicants

Companies that have relied until now on the attractiveness of their brands or their innovative strength to attract and retain talent must rethink this attitude as soon as possible. Employees are both a company’s most important and most volatile asset. Personal priorities change for employees at all levels. Their personality, competence and motivation drive the company’s success; their departure puts her in danger. In the meantime, companies are courting employees. How companies achieve this will be described below.

The composition of the workforce is changing

To overcome the shortage of skilled labour, it is necessary to include people who previously had little chance of a career. Often, these people are below their potential despite good training because their situation makes them dependent on flexible and digital work opportunities. Companies should not miss the opportunity to unearth this treasure.

Leadership as a task rather than an end in itself

In this context, good leadership becomes increasingly important. Managers must lead. This essential task of personal leadership is often thwarted by corporate structures. Some managers don’t know how to lead. They became managers because they were the best at performing the technical tasks or because it was time for a promotion, without having been prepared for it or because their personality lent itself to it. Others are not allowed to lead because they are prevented from doing so by a heavy workload with daily professional activities. Still others get lost in micromanaging their team, which not only wastes a lot of their time, but also demotivates teams with exceptional professional skills. Leaders of highly hierarchical organizations, in which a high value is placed on status symbols, are particularly at risk.

Recognition in professional work

Some of the leadership deficits described above can be prevented by rewarding professional successes not only with hierarchical promotions, but more importantly with appraisals. Appreciation is not an empty word if professional and disciplinary skills are also valued by the company in terms of recognition and remuneration. Managers and specialists then work in their respective fields with full power, unhindered, accountable and fairly compensated. Incidentally, this idea of ​​self-responsibility and equality also underpins modern, highly successful project methods and promotes a positive error culture.

And what does this mean in everyday life?

Companies must take a critical look at themselves and their beliefs. Do we find status symbols, hierarchies and work in attendance important or can we put the costs of previous status structures and symbols into our digital equipment so that processes become more efficient and people can work for us without moving or making long journeys? Can we become so attractive with flexible working hours and contract models similar to freelancers that specialists from all over the world will want to work for us? Do we trust the creativity, knowledge and motivation of our employees and pave the way for them to fully exploit this potential for us? Do we carry on as before, do we endure the associated pain, or do we break down conventional structures with vision? The answer is simple. Or not?

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