Hey Boss, Adapt And Be Profitable…

I met with The Boss today and discussed the challenges businesses are facing with their workforce and what to do about it.  We talked about how the economic conditions of the early 2000’s forced business to reinvent and adapt their business models back then.  We remembered when The Boss had to change the business model again when customers forced businesses to create an on-line presence and sell using the web.  Today, our workforce has challenged businesses to change and adapt the business model. The Boss is realizing the younger workforce of today has different values and expectations verses the older workforce of yesteryear.

Back in the day, when us older folk first got into business, the workforce we managed came to work Monday through Friday and put in the normal 40-hour work week, had a cubical or desk, and if they were senior associates, had the weekends off.  Today The Boss must manage a workforce, which is made up of several generations, each of which has quite different opinions and attitudes about work life balance and what accountability should look like.

The main discussion revolved around, not having enough people to field a workforce team!  Today, The Boss must employ team members who can play multiple positions in a company.  With too few candidates to fill multiple openings, The Boss needs to cross-train employees more now than ever.  In a sense, we need “utility players” on our workforce team.  More than that, we need to outsource the low value-added tasks to free up the employees to have time to do the higher-value tasks.     

This reliance on outsourcing is going to be the “new norm” of today’s business models.  Many of our employees of the last generation are looking to branch out on their own after working only a few years for The Boss.  They learn valuable skills and leave The Boss’s employment to start their own companies that become outsource candidates for The Boss.  In a way, this can help companies fill the vacancies The Boss is experiencing and potentially improve the efficiencies in the production flow.  

The Boss needs to embrace the fact that the old way of doing business with employees working that 9 to 5 workday in a cubical or on the shop floor are fading away and the new norm for business today is to outsource the tasks that make sense.  The Boss understands the supply and demand theory that applies in today’s employment market.  The shortage of employees creates a higher tendency that the competition will try to “buy” top tier employees away from The Bosses company with a promise of a raise and greener grass in their pasture.  On one hand The Boss cannot or will not open Pandora’s Box and get into the bidding war, on another hand if The Boss decides not to replace or fill the vacant positions in the company and tries to force employees do the same amount of work today with less, The Boss will risk losing the good people.  Good people leave because they can, poor workers do not have the confidence to leave so they will stay.  Either way The Boss needs to adapt.

The Boss can continue to train employees for the competition, or The Boss can use the outsourcing model to lower the employee stress level, maintain or even increase productivity, and increase compensation to the top tier employee, fighting off the competition who will not stop trying to lure employees away.  Businesses today must learn to adapt and innovate; this will mean to rethink the core business model to fit the new generation(s) desired lifestyle.  Home offices are replacing cubicles and flex time is becoming more valuable than a higher hourly wage.  Outsourcing is one lever The Boss can pull in today’s market, think what else can be done to innovate and re-image your business model.  Adapt and be profitable.