Many of our clients are experiencing a change in their business environment that is new to their experience base. An unreliability in the workforce. For a very long time, the US work force has been very stable. People came into the workforce and worked for most of their career at a single or perhaps two or even three companies and then retired. And in the meantime, they were reliable, stable, healthy and due to their long track record with the business, they retained much of the institutional knowledge required for stable, orderly transition from one work force generation to the next.
However, fundamental changes have occurred in the workforce since the beginning of the new millennium:
The incoming, low experienced workforce is less qualified to begin work;
The most experienced 20% of the workforce, the Baby Boomer generation is retiring and reducing their working hours;
Automation has been reducing the number of people we need to run the business;
Health issues are more prevalent, and absenteeism is higher than ever; and
The least experienced 20% of the workforce is suffering from attention management and distraction challenges.
The implications of these factors affecting business from the outside are far reaching:
More training and oversight of new employees is required. And the experienced employees we used to rely on are not there because they are retiring and we’ve already automated them away.
As the most experienced 20% leaves, much of our institution knowledge (all of it in fact that wasn’t captured and recorded) is walking out the door or simply dying with them.
While on the one hand, automation has enabled us to grow businesses without adding (as many) people, it also has created an unexpected vulnerability. Each team member is now more valuable and more impactful than they were in the past. This has resulted in each one becoming more difficult to replace productively.
Opioid use, diabetes and obesity as well as other modern ailments are more prevalent and cost us more downtime.
The distractibility and loss of focus of the newest segments of the workforce, and frankly the entire workforce, are reducing the productivity of the time that is actually worked.
As if the list wasn’t long enough, when these factors play off one-another and an experienced team member retires leaving a less productive younger team with no memory of how things are supposed to work, it’s no wonder nothing gets done!
This is why many of our clients, who haven’t done any process documentation or process improvement work in years are suddenly finding they need process documentation and work aids. The old hands cannot be relied upon to train the new ones and the new ones may not be around long enough to get proficient leaning by experience. Process documentation and training can bridge the gaps cause by demographic changes in the modern workforce we all have to work with.
We would be glad to sit down with you and talk about how our clients are ensuring that their business system support their team members rather than relying on their team members to support the business system.