by Ethan Paquet
Eddie LeMoine is an expert on employee engagement, changing demographics, diversity, and performance development. He recently spoke about current trends and what we can predict for the future while speaking at the Atlantic Canada Aerospace & Defence Association (ACADA) Sea to Sky Conference in Charlottetown.
“People ask me what the labour market is going to look like after the pandemic, or what work is going to look like. I’ll tell you one thing; it’s never going to go back to the way it was.”
To get an understanding of the state we will find ourselves coming out of the pandemic, Eddie suggests looking at the results of the economic downturn of 2007-2008. “Back then, I went around the industrial park in Halifax, and I took pictures of signage. It was the first time we got a sense of living in a competitive environment when we look for labour.
“Some companies started to look at engagement as a way to attract people to their organization and getting people to stay.”
Eddie defines engagement as aligning the individual strengths of an employee with the goals of the company. He says the reason engagement is so critical is that there is something in it for everyone.
“From an employee perspective, if you are engaged, you have a better home life balance, and you have a clearer idea of your strengths and what your workplace is trying to achieve. From an employer’s perspective, you contain costs, have a safer work setting, and deliver better service.”
Eddie divides the workforce into three groups when it comes to engagement:
- 59 percent are not engaged. “They might put in an honest day’s work, and then go home.”
- 27 percent are engaged. “They are your best people.”
- 14 percent are actively disengaged. “These people quit a long time ago but they still show up for work.”
When it comes to productivity, the engaged group does 60 percent of the work, Eddie estimates. Those not engaged also do 60 percent, but it takes more people to hit that goal.
If the math doesn’t make sense, that’s because the actively disengaged take away 20 percent of the productivity from the company. “They are literally tearing down your organization as the rest of you are trying to build it up,” Eddie says.
The reality is that both the labour shortage and the pandemic make it difficult to find workers to fill vacant positions, let alone replace employees.
“This year, 8,500 Canadians are retiring every week, and that trend is not going to change for a number of years to come. With this pandemic and working virtually, a lot of Baby Boomers have decided to check out early, so we might see even more people exiting the workforce.
“Meanwhile, we need about 450,000 people to enter the workforce every year to offset the aging population and declining birth rate. About 300,000 will come through immigration, and the balance is from younger workers entering the workforce.”
With this shortage, it is important for employers to work with their present staff members and find ways to re-engage the disengaged.
“The good news is that only 15 percent of the engaged group will ever consider leaving you. Of the not engaged group, 85 percent are actively open to leaving your organization.
“Your best defense against losing people is engaging people,” Eddie says. “You don’t need to hire anyone else or buy new equipment or software. Instead, all you need to do is take the team that already walks in the door every day and help them engage.”
Ways to engage staff members
- Show gratitude. “Once they’ve agreed to come work for you, you need to show them a level of gratitude. Get away from the idea that you are doing them a favor by hiring them, because the fact is they are doing you a favor by agreeing to come back tomorrow.”
- Make sure employees are working at tasks they enjoy and are capable at. “The number one reason people leave a job is because they don’t like what they are doing. You can ask your employees do things that aren’t their strengths, but you have to also let them do the things they are good at.”
“If an employee is unhappy or not engaged, ask yourself if you have them doing something they do not want to do. Resilient leaders want to work with their employees. You just need to ask yourself if you are managing people the way you should be in 2021.”
To connect with Eddie LeMoine, call 902-943-4501 or email [email protected]