#CauseTheEffect: Leverage Real-Time Change Challenges as “Pop-Up Learning Labs” and Get Results. #SHRM22

If your company is having a hard time retaining and recruiting top talent, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September 2021, setting off what’s being called The Great Resignation. And guess what? Workers aren’t leaving for higher pay but for greater benefits like increased training opportunities, professional development, work-life balance, meaningful work, and psychological safety.

So what does this mean for your company? How can you as an HR or L&D professional help retain and nurture the talent you already have and recruit the new talent you need? I have two ideas for you!

First you can join me at this year’s SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2022 (SHRM22), on June 12 - 15 to learn how to Cause the Effect you want to see in the workplace! This year’s conference aims to provide you with the resources, research and tools needed to not only keep your current employees, but to keep them happy, healthy, and engaged.

Second, you start to Cause the Effect right now, right where you are, today! Take Amy for example. Amy is the SVP of HR for a large organization that has grown significantly by acquisition in the last decade. She reports directly to the CEO and sits on the Executive Council – a powerful position of influence. So, why is Amy so frustrated?

During a recent Executive Council meeting, many problems, some of which were repeats, were raised by the group:

  • We are having a hard time retaining and recruiting top talent. Many employees are moving to companies with better benefits such as flexible time off and hybrid work options. Even though our pay is competitive, it cannot compete with work-life balance.
  • We are struggling to build a work culture that’s more collaborative across levels and across business units. We know that setting a foundation of trust & psychological safety is essential, but we are having a hard time building trust across our newly acquired businesses.
  • With all of our internal problems, we’re missing the boat on what competitors are doing to connect with customers. We’re losing customers because we’re lagging in adopting the digital technologies we need to serve the new generation of buyers. What’s our plan to stay relevant in the marketplace?

Amy knows there’s no magical answer, no one-size-fits-all solution to the myriad of problems in her organization. Amy also knows that the flipside of every problem is opportunity. What’s underlying each of the problems Amy’s organization is facing? Change!

  • Changing from using competitive pay to lure in top talent to also offering options for work-life balance
  • Changing from an old corporate-driven culture to a new one that embraces diversity and inclusion
  • Changing from outmoded methods to digitally-enhanced ways to connect and serve customers

Each of these problems needs to be tackled with very specific action plans. There is also the opportunity to build an enabling foundation to support solving each problem, and all the others that will inevitably follow. That foundation is learning to change.

Each change problem facing your organization is a gold mine of capacity-building opportunities. Changing the mindset from “problem to be solved” to both “problem to be solved” AND “learning opportunity to be leveraged” opens up the possibility for new leadership behaviors that are the hallmark of genuine individual, team, and organizational agility.

Let’s explore how Amy can spark meaningful dialogue with her Executive Council colleagues:

Problem to be solved Learning Opportunity to be Leveraged
Changing from using competitive pay to lure in top talent to also offering options for work-life balance
  • How can we transform the benefits we offer to our existing team as well as potential new hires?
  • How can we stay on top of the evolving needs of our current team members so that they feel continuously nurtured and valued and don’t view leaving the company as a viable option.
Changing from an old corporate-driven culture to a new one that embraces diversity and inclusion
  • How can we cultivate an environment of trust & psychological safety so that our remote employees feel safe being vulnerable or sharing new/different ideas?
  • How do we communicate our mission and goals clearly so that everyone is on the same page and understands the importance of what we are accomplishing together?
Changing from outmoded methods to digitally-enhanced ways to connect and serve customers
  • How can we bring together our best senior sales and customer service managers with our best and most tech-savvy junior professionals to create a new approach?
  • How can doing so promote a culture of leaders developing leaders, reverse mentoring, and generational awareness?

So much of leadership development remains above the neck, whereas with the constant buzz of change all around us in our organizations we have continual “pop-up learning labs” right in front of us all day, every day. The time has never been better to capitalize on real time changes happening in your organization, to embed new routines and habits to develop leadership capabilities, to accelerate learning and radically upskill leaders at all levels. As more and more organizations retool their approach to performance management, such an approach fits perfectly with the move toward continual real-time coaching conversations between managers and staff.

HR and L&D professionals can help the organizations they serve reap huge dividends that will exponentially increase over time by constantly challenging leaders to ask themselves these questions:

✔ How can we exploit a problem as a learning opportunity for ourselves?

✔ How can we utilize a problem as a way to build the leadership capabilities of our high-potential talent and next generation of leaders?

✔ How can we re-conceptualize a problem into a mechanism for developing change leadership capacity for our organization, fostering an agile culture of continuous learning?

HR and L&D professionals move beyond supporting the business strategy to driving the business strategy, and foster an agile, innovative culture and leaders.

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: