Page 10 - BusinessWest December 12, 2022
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FAnother Year of Challenge, Learning
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 lashing back almost three years ago to those early and very Many restaurants, for example, have been forced to reduce the difficult days of the pandemic — yes, it seems like forever number of days they are open due to shortages of help. In many ago now — we were writing about how everyone was look- cases, they’ve learned that this helps with retention of existing
ing forward to the day when things would return to the way they were, meaning late 2019.
It was probably by the end of that year, and certainly by the middle of 2021, that everyone in business realized that we would not be returning to the way things were. In many cases, it’s because that simply wasn’t possible. But in most cases, it’s because we sim- ply didn’t want to.
Indeed, we had learned new, different, and, in many ways, bet- ter and more efficient ways of doing things. This applies to every- thing from Zoom meetings with clients instead of seeing them in person to having homebuyers fill out mortgage applications online, to having many employees — the ones without direct contact with customers — working remotely.
It’s been a learning process, and it has continued even as the pandemic has waned in many respects, and other challenges have emerged, such as supply-chain issues and the workforce crisis. These issues have prompted companies to become smarter with everything from what and how much to order to what kinds of cli- ents and projects to take on, to how and when to staff an office.
The learning continued in 2022, another very challenging
year for businesses, who are due for one that isn’t. This past year brought us sky-high inflation, more shortages of needed products, ‘quiet quitting,’ more retirements among Baby Boomers, more ghosting when it came to job interviews and people showing up for the first day of work, and more frustration when it came to just fill- ing open positions.
All this has led to adjustments and, as we noted earlier, con- scious decisions not to go back to the way things were in 2019.
employees, improves morale, lessens burnout ... and all without sharp, if any, overall drops in revenue and profits.
Meanwhile, many banquet halls and meeting venues have learned that less can sometimes mean more. Some are closing for the slow months of the year, and all of them are becoming more selective when it comes to which events they take on, choosing those with better margins and more profitability and foregoing those that are less so.
The result is that, while overall revenues are down in some cases, profitability is up. Hotels, plagued by staffing shortages, were simply not able to clean rooms as often during the months after they were allowed to reopen. Now, such policies have, in some establishments, become the new norm, enabling facilities to improve profits even while serving fewer guests.
Meanwhile, businesses across virtually all sectors have found benefits to not having everyone working on-site. Some have been able to reduce their overall space requirements, while nearly every business with remote-work or hybrid-work policies have found it easier to hire and retain employees and increase the talent pool by extending opportunities to those living outside the 413, or even the East Coast.
Yes, 2022 has been another ultra-challenging year for business- es of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy. But it’s also been another year to learn, adapt, and, in many cases, do things better and more profitably.
We haven’t gone ‘back to the way things were.’ And in many respects, that’s a good thing. u
  Build Your Employees’ Motivation
IBy Allison Ebner
get it. There is a lot on the plates
of HR professionals and leaders in
today’s organizations. From manag- ing the continual COVID issues and absences to creating a sustainable com- pensation program to managing basic civility and respect in our organizations — the challenges just keep coming. But what if there was a culture and retention trick or ‘hack’ that we can use to help us build employee engagement, manage expectations, and help us build a high- performance team? Let’s take a cue from the neuroscientists that study human behavior for a living.
More specifically, they research moti- vation and what drives people to think and behave in a certain way. This research allows us to ‘peek under the hood’ of the human brain and help us understand how to pull the right levers that influence the behavior of our employees. Imagine the things we can accomplish if we could get everyone behaving the way we want them to!
So, what’s the key to unlocking the mystery? It turns out that why we work
determines how well we work. Let that sink in for a minute. In the 1980s, profes- sors Edward Deci and Richard Ryan from the University of Rochester concluded that there are six main reasons why people work.
Lindsay McGreggor and Neel Doshi adapted that thought process for the mod- ern workplace in their book Primed to Per- form: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Motivation. In fact, they break the six reasons into the following: play, purpose, potential, emo- tions, economics, and inertia or apathy. The first three of these motives tend to increase and enhance performance, while the other three motives hurt performance. They even have a name for all of this: ToMo, which stands for total motivation.
Their theory talks about adaptive per- formance as an extension of tactical per- formance. Tactical performance is about whether you can build the widget, write the code, or do the transactional thing. Adap- tive performance is about asking people to transcend their knowledge and skills and adapt to a changing situation to achieve an
And here’s why this is important: the
tools we’ve been using to motivate people don’t work anymore. You’re all seeing this in your own organizations, right? Aggressive and bottom-line-only-focused managers and leaders are actually driving people out of organizations in huge numbers. If we want to change performance outcomes, we’ll need to find a way to optimize the purpose, play, and potential ToMo in our employees.
What are some of the ways you can opti- mize the right ToMo in your organization? Here are just a few: well-designed roles and job descriptions, offering individual career ladders and paths, creating a sense of com- munity and transparency, developing lead- ers who balance accountability and empa- thy, and redesigning your feedback and performance-management processes. v
Allison Ebner is director of Membership & Partnerships at the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast. This article first appeared on the EANE blog;
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