A message from Kendra Prospero, CTLF Board of Advisor and Founder & CEO of Turning the Corner:

I have always wanted everyone to love their job. Ever since I was a little girl, I get itchy when I hear someone say that they don’t like their job. We give up the best years of our lives and the best hours of our days for our work, and I believe we should feel fulfilled by the work we do. However, according to the latest polls, 80% of the country’s workers self-report that they hate their job and are on a job hunt. I can’t figure out who benefits by having people hate their job. Unhappy workers are expensive. They don’t take care of customers, they are a drain on the rest of the team, and they’re difficult to manage. They could care less about revenue or reducing costs, and worst of all, they’re likely to leave, causing even more headaches. Everyone, including the bottom line, wins when people are content with the work they do.

I’ve connected with thousands of individuals over the years. Back in 2015, I saw that a significant shift was on the horizon—a time when people would no longer accept mediocre employers. I confidently predicted the emergence of what I called the People Revolution, a transformative movement that would reshape the way we view work and where people would demand better treatment from companies. COVID accelerated this prediction with trends like the Great Resignation, the Quiet Quit, and Rage Applying. Just like with any revolution, if we don’t adapt the way we think and lead, our businesses will not survive. We must elevate the way we think about our roles, cultures, and leaders.

The “Command and Control” way of leading will no longer work. We need to think of our organizations as an ecosystem where we create the conditions for people to thrive. This starts with being real about the behaviors we expect from our employees and then using those as a guard rail for hiring, firing, managing, training, compensating, and promoting. If we’re not 100% authentic with our real expectations, our staff will call BS and not give it their all.

Once we have a team aligned around the right behaviors, we need to evaluate and improve our programs. Career paths, meaningful work, purpose, fair compensation, well-trained leaders, dignified feedback, recruiting strategies, onboarding, diversity and inclusion, realistic goals, sustainable work environments, reasonable policies, and coaching—all of these aspects should be designed to support and empower our teams. Generally, these tasks are delegated to “Human Resources” which has been relegated to a hateful role in most businesses. HR should be thought of as your “heart rate”- the lifeblood that keeps things pumping in your organization, not a super-charged traffic cop who’s favorite word is “no”.

Lastly, we must flexibilize to thrive. We need to question everything and deeply examine if our beliefs, programs and policies are the only way to do it. Ask “why” about everything and question everything. For example, if you believe you must have everyone onsite for 40 hours a week, I would challenge you to examine why you think that. Even companies that make money by being in person have found unique ways to create flexibility in scheduling so that their staff feels like they have some control over their schedule. If you believe that you have to do drug testing, I would challenge you to think differently. Is a policy of “don’t be drunk or stoned on the job” enough? Do you really care what people do on the weekends or evenings as long as they don’t do it at work? Question everything.

While all of this may seem too employee-centric for your tastes, please understand that this is what employees are going to expect and seek out. If you want to remain fully staffed and profitable, you need to think about all of this. Work is no longer about a simple exchange of hours for a paycheck – it’s a symbiotic relationship that requires a lot more involvement and investment from the leaders, and it will greatly improve the bottom line.

Please join me on July 13th for a lively discussion around this. I know most of the leaders in CTLF are the kind of people who are already doing a lot of this, but let’s challenge each other to think even bigger and bolder so that we all survive this people revolution!