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505 – State of the Workforce: Now and Later | Santiago Jaramillo and Seth Morales

Jun 12, 2020 | 00:00

00:00 00:00

Episode Description

Recruitment feels like a weird word right now. Some companies can’t find enough employees while others have had to go through a reduction in force. No matter which camp you’re in, focusing on the employees you have now by taking good care of their needs and building a strong employer brand will position your company for long term success.

To anchor our conversation, I want to also remind us of what employee engagement means. Santigo Jarrimillo, Emplify’s CEO, defines it as an employee's intellectual connection, the head, the emotional connection, the heart, and how those two things come together to affect daily work, and then hands, the actual work. In this episode, you’ll hear from Santiago and Seth Morales, President of Morales Group as they share key employee engagement insights as you lead your people.

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Episode Transcription

[00:00:03] Welcome back to Insights and Emplify Original. I'm Nicole Maclean, bringing you insights to empower executives. H.R. professionals, managers and leaders of all kinds with the best in class information to help your employees unlock their true potential recruitment. Feels like a bit of a weird word right now. Some companies can't find enough employees, while others have had to go through a reduction in force. But no matter which camp that you're in. Focusing on the employees you have now. By taking good care of their needs and building a strong employer brand, we'll position your company for long term success to anchor our conversation. I also want to remind us of what employee engagement means, because getting to that position for success can't happen if your employees are disengaged. And right now, there are many reasons as to why employees may feel disconnected from the organization. So to remind us, employee engagement is not employee morale, employee satisfaction or employee happiness, rather employee engagement. Is this sort of lean in posture? And you could remember it based on three words head, heart and hands. Santiago Jarrimillo Emplify's CEO who you'll hear from later today, defines it as an employee's intellectual connection. The head, the emotional connection, the heart, and how those two things come together to affect daily work or the hands with that is our backbone. Please join myself, Santiago and Seth Morales, the president of Morales Group.

[00:01:35] One of the most important drivers of engagement is a sense of meaning, meaning somebody understands the why behind the company, the why behind the work.

[00:01:45] And in that meaning is an awesome predictor of that. And it's not just the sentence on your wall with something that you live every day. And those rituals that you talked about are the things that create that top of mind awareness so that when somebody is making a decision to go left or right, they think about, well, which way should I go? Is it for a short term benefit or of myself or profit or is it how do I live my purpose and the mission of this organization?

[00:02:12] As I'm curious, what are the things that make someone say, I want to go to a company A or company B? And is it a person benefit or is it more of the engagement is more subtle engagement, but very important drivers in my experience in the fifteen years I've been in the staff and recruiting business.

[00:02:31] It's always the companies that have more the holistic altruistic engagement approach versus, hey, I've got these other kind of person, tactical satisfaction or happiness things that they're trying to achieve. I think the employers who have empathy towards these potential kind of front liners that they care and they want to develop and customize these pathways for them to go from any job to a better job to a career. I think those employers are the ones that set themselves apart from the other employers. And so we've got say we have 400 clients on a weekly basis. There's a lot of opportunity to go to one warehouse to another where you're making a dollar or two difference. But I think it's those cultures that listen and really kind of hone in on some of that engagement customization of, hey, I want to I want to scale you up. I want to take advantage of where you're at right now and help you. That's where I think there's some real opportunity.

[00:03:30] But I think those things you mentioned are the things that you can keep doing in an economic downturn where maybe you can't give the extra bonuses, but you can still be an apathetically. And you can selling into your mission and you can sell treat people like him.

[00:03:45] And too often you see a site leader or manager or CEO. They don't tell it like it is. And there's not a better time than now to shoot people straight and and be real about the current state of where we're at. And how are navigating this kind of uncharted territory of just the virus and, you know, recession and how you kind of get through that? And I think our team, I think, are plotline essential teammates out in the field. They just they they weren't real. They want clarity. They want consistent communication. And a lot of leaders and I don't think are taking advantage of that. That's something that's been, I think, really helpful to see a kind of a stickiness factor where you see less turnover, less issue at a customer site when you have leaders like that stepping off and kind of taking that chance.

[00:04:36] A great transition. Chris Phonte, as a leader, why should you focus on engagement right now?

[00:04:41] Yeah. So to build on such a point that I don't know if each of you listening and thinking about a time in your life for something in your life really changed massively and how well and crisply you remember that phase. Those days, those weeks that kind of changed your life forever. Right. Where there was a burst of a child or or something meaningful in your personal life.

[00:05:05] The way our brains work, as we remember so much more in times of change and then sort of the day to day, we just that brain kind of races, you know, in a way. And these are those times of high change. I believe that our leadership today. It's really hard for it to be neutral. It can either be really, really positive where it can be pretty negative in these times. I believe we'll be remembered for years to come how we show up as leaders. So I think it is this wonderful opportunity, but also this costly risk for leaders to not really step up to the challenge of what is being sort of thrown our way. And we're either going to strike out and lose the game or we're gonna hit a home run and there's not a kind of sort of singles and doubles in these extreme times. And so I think I heard this quote, that panic is contagious, but so is leadership. And Richard Branson, I think, said it best when so many leaders and executives and owners think about results and shareholder value. But the reality is that shareholder value is creating is created primarily by delivering amazing customer experiences.

[00:06:14] And customer experiences are primarily delivered by people who really care about their work. And so if we can focus upstream versus downstream, we can focus upstream and say if we treat our people right, they will go above and beyond and create an amazing product or deliver an amazing service.

[00:06:32] And we know that over time is. Treats outside, returns on the shareholder value to the same thing. Still gets taken care of at the end of the day. But we're doing so much more upstream and we're doing so in a way that we can be proud. As leaders of the legacy that we leave, because not because we we won despite our people leadership challenges, but we won because of that. So that those are some thoughts I had set on what you said, because I very much agree with it. So, Nicolle, you asked, why should employers care about employee engagement right before covered? We had the tightest labor market ever. People were leaving their jobs super fast. And so employers were like, we've got to focus on employee engagement because we've got to retain these folks and we got to create a great culture that's a magnet for great people to work. And then all of a sudden that changes overnight. And I believe that leaders are thinking, the leaders that I talk about, the great leaders that are there, really taking amazing opportunity to lead well and grow their organization and their teams. They're thinking about three things right now that I believe each of them correlate to employee engagement. Number one, they're thinking, how do we adapt our business and our strategy in this new market context? A lot changed. Our previous playbooks are probably not cutting it. And so how do we change the playbooks and where we're headed? Because are the ocean currents just totally changed on us right now and in the same map? Is it going to get us there? So how do we adapt and change? How do we innovate basically? And how many times change our business model number one. Number two, a lot of folks are doing more with less. And so how do we do more with less or at least do the same with less. Right. Less staff, less time, less focus. Right. Whatever that is. And number three, how do we keep the team healthy while they're doing more? And while a bunch of things are changing, right. That's kind of like how do we change our business model? How do we do more with less? And then how do we keep our team healthy as they're doing more with less? And so what we're talking about is, number one, innovation. Number two, productivity. And number three, avoiding burnout and employee engagement is the antecedence is the thing that creates more innovation. Think about this. If you're satisfied and you see a problem that needs innovation, but you're just there for the paycheck and doing the bare minimum, you're not going to solve that problem and innovate. You're going to just kind of brush it under the rug and turn it to the next person and the assembly line and hope you don't get fired for that. And who cares what the customer ends up receiving, right. So innovation only happens when we deeply care about the problem and the customer and we go above and beyond and we work these parts of our brain that we normally don't engage in. Boom, eureka. Right. Innovation happen. So I think we have to be first engage in the research shows. This fellow is not just my opinion research so that if you're more engaged, you have you deliver more innovation to the organization. Number two, where he talks about productivity, doing more with less somebody who's engaged is 40 percent more productive than somebody who's satisfied. So that one is a clear tie to employee engagement. Get more productivity with more employee engagement. The number three employee engagement. If you have a deep sense of meaning, we're less likely to get burned out if we know the why behind it. Victor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor. He's amazing, amazing person. He wrote the man's search for meaning and he talked about a person with a Y can bear with almost how. So we know why we're doing what we're doing. We can have an amazing amount of resilience in the obstacles that stand in our way between us and achieving that objective. But if we don't, it's like you ever heard that exercise where you sort of dig a hole. Inmates are asked to dig a hole and then they're asked to fill it back up again. And it's just to keep them busy. Right. Burnout. It's going to happen pretty quickly, but there's no reason for why this work is being done. And so I think that employee engagement super important because it helps the team adapt and innovate in an environment full of change and uncertainty that requires innovation and adaptability from us doing more with less and then making sure that those folks stay healthy and don't burn out because burnout is serious. Burnout leads to depression. Burnout leads to less productivity. Burnout leads the people leaving, questioning why they even joined the company in the first place. Why do I even do this? Is this even worth it? In a lot of people right now, or working from home and having this moment in their life when they're reflecting on their life? And I could do I want to be in and what do I want to do? And if folks are getting burnt out there in this sort of place of transition where they can make decisions to to not come back after this craziness is over. So I think that's why employee engagement is even more important than ever.

[00:11:16] Thank you. I have some other practical things that you can be doing to set your workforce apart or set your player brand apart in the market.

[00:11:24] The other thing that's going to be really important is just flexibility. I think that's an employer thing. Flexibility, whether interpolations or. He makes that with their eyes midway through, they were saying, I just think the game has completely changed. And I think this willingness to be open to flexibility and different situations are going to be really important as leaders, because a lot of leaders that will adapt and survive this kind of change and being open to having people with whom they have to share this shit happens half of them a week. I think. Zanny, the days of you in the office, eight to five and you're locked in your desk. That's just I mean, I know emphasize the minute third thinking, urbanization, that I think a lot of companies out there that aren't happy that the speed they're going to show that to be flexible. And so I think that to me, the key is that whether it's your benefits package, the way you set up these arrangements just gets the ability to be really important.

[00:12:27] I've heard of a CEO who asked the H.R.. It was OK to ask employees to set up cameras in their home offices so that they could be monitored for productivity. And so that there would be none of that practice. And also how good looks good like ask what not to do.

[00:12:47] So I think another piece is leading with mission and leading with purpose. I think it's an amazing opportunity to truly live out the true mission of the organization in more creative ways. One of the things that I was really, really incredibly proud and awed and if the amplified team is that when this hit, they said, how can we be of service to this and not necessarily like capitalize on the profit of it, but just how do we live out our purpose? And the team, you know, took a moment and said, you know, people within the managers are probably really struggling to know what their team needs most right now. How can you prove? And then they literally, literally wiped away three weeks of our product roadmap and our entire engineering and product team started working nights and weekends out of their own volition and choice to create what we call the wellbeing tool, which is a free tool that any manager can use to make a couple of literally five minutes and three days later, they can hear exactly how their team is doing and their number one opportunity to help their team be more successful. And you've had over like a month. We had over 10000 employees be assessed with this over like a thousand companies organizations. When we have more organizations on this tool than we do like on on our core like products and just like a month. And that was that was a we've heard stories of of clients that said, oh, yeah, we bought our team PPE equipment, masks and gloves because they were feeling deeply unsafe in the warehouse. And like that probably has saved Litoral lives, you know, and it's good for us. It is an amazing opportunity. Think about how do we lead with with our purpose and our mission. And I know other organizations are saying forget our business model for like a second. Like your way we can be a service to the situation. I think that these are the right thing to do. But I think that also gets remembered.

[00:14:41] But one other thought, just on things you can do to kind of help with your workforce. I've heard a lot of individual contributors that are taking the time to try and improve their skill skillset so that they could be more hirable if they choose to leave after this. And so I think as leaders, there are so many free tools, so many universities, so many, you know, various educational institutions that are making their classes free for folks. And so even if you can't spend money, I think you can lean into letting your people know you care about their professional development and that you want them to grow while they have some time or just that point, you know, trying to mix the day up, encouraging them to take a class, asking a team to take a class together and talk about that with any organization could be a way to kind of build that rapport with your with your folks. One last question here. We've talked a little bit about, like how to prepare for the future. What did we learn from this that maybe can you just kind of summate? That is like what are your best predictions? How are you think the lessons learned from this situation to make your business stronger? And what can other leaders do in that time to just really start preparing for whatever that end is? How how to embrace that as much as possible?

[00:15:54] I think what team the other day I can like we whether some of the storm and now getting off the ship and burning the ship at the shore and there's no retreat and it's kind of like we're all in there going forward and we've got this kind of new state of focus and that the new focus is through us. We would it in person. So there are temporary, you know, certain companies and the lifeblood of the organization is recruiting face to face. And we had that pivot overnight and recruit virtually from my standpoint, there's no turning back. I think the game of innovating and going digital and leveraging. Biology has been accentuated and it has helped kind of catapult our business under this new virtual occluding area. So I think making if you're hiring staff, if you're making it frictionless, making it virtual. Thinking about the ways to innovate, I think that's really important going forward. I think valuing a central front line mates, even if they make ten, twelve, fifteen dollars an hour. That's kind of way that serve and lift them up. I think workers well-being and just kind of mental health has really become a really important topic for us as we go forward. I think that it's heightened right now at San Bernardino and you just realize how that is. And then I talked about flexibility earlier. So the game or the future of resources really change and it's changing right in front of us right now. And I think those that are a little bit more flexible and adapted to us, I think they to come out learning. And those who continue to kind of push back and go back to the old ways, I think they have some challenges.

[00:17:34] So that's what I see when I think there's there's a lot of different things coming along. But it's it's a winning time right now.

[00:17:41] It's great. Sanjay, some final thoughts to wrap this up.

[00:17:45] I think it's hard to make predictions about the future because it's very uncertain. But I think that I forget which Greek philosophers said the change thing was Heraclitus. He said change is the only constant. Like, it just change just is just going to keep happening. And I think we have been in decades of accelerating change in technology with society and culture that scientists today say that flu season and COGAT season might return again right in the fall unless we get really lucky with a vaccine. And so whether it's that or the impact of climate change or different things happening at work or being in continued technological change, the future is uncertain and our brains are literally neurologically wired to remove uncertainty. So we as humans struggle with uncertainty because it taps into that sort of amygdala part of our brain, that old brain that we have. And it's like a fight or flight response that we have with uncertainty.

[00:18:42] And so what do we do when there's a future filled with uncertainty, which means it's a future filled with difficulty. But we need to figure out a way how to thrive as people and as businesses during this time. What do we do? I think what we do is we build resilience as an organizational capability. Resilience is this out, kimmey, crazy move that we can do as humans to take in difficulty and challenge. That's the input. And then we can output growth and insights by ourselves that help us become better humans and better professionals. What do you what a crazy skill to have right now when there is more difficulty and challenge coming at us than ever. And it requires us to step into parching who we are that we've been needing to step into for some time. But now we have an opportunity to do that. So how do we as an organization create the ability to help our teammates and ourselves be more resilient?

[00:19:40] And I think that the how resilient we can make our businesses and our teams and our people and ourselves will directly determine our success as people and as organizations when more uncertainty discern the.

[00:19:58] Thank you for joining us for this week's insights. Don't forget to subscribe so that you never miss an episode. And in the meantime, if you have questions or topics that you'd like to see us cover, please go to amplify dot com slash questions.

[00:20:11] That's and let us know what's on your mind.

[00:20:17] Stay safe. Stay sane and we'll see you next week.